Melbourne, Australia, 27 January 2022 | Leigh Rogers

Major rewards are on offer for the Aussie players in action on day 11 at Australian Open 2022.

Ash Barty faces American Madison Keys in the women’s singles semifinals at Rod Laver Arena tonight and is aiming to become the first Australian to reach an Australian Open women’s singles final in 42 years.

“(It’s) incredibly exciting,” Barty said. “It’s always nice to be at the business end of a Grand Slam and to give yourself the opportunity to play for some of the biggest titles.”

The retiring Dylan Alcott is hoping to end his incredible professional career on the ultimate high, by winning an eight consecutive Australian Open quad wheelchair singles title.

The world No.1, who was named Australian of the Year earlier this week, faces Dutch rival Sam Schroder in the final at Rod Laver Arena this afternoon.

“I love winning obviously, but it’s not everything to me,” Alcott said.

“Obviously I’ll be emotional and nervous and stuff … It’s not just another match, it’s a celebration.”

Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis are adopting a similar mentality, thrilled their progression to the men’s doubles semifinals is generating so much excitement among fans.

“This Aus Open, honestly, I think for us it’s more about the people, playing for them is more important than our doubles success,” Kyrgios said.

“I just want to play and give the people of Australia and the Australian Open a show and genuinely try and grow the sport of tennis. That’s why I’m playing. I know Thanasi is just enjoying it. This is the most fun we’ve ever had on the court.”

With Matt Ebden and Max Purcell also advancing to the men’s doubles semifinals, it marks the first time since 1985 that two all-Australian teams have reached this stage.

Aussies in action:

[1] Ash Barty (AUS) v Madison Keys (USA)
Women’s singles, semifinal, Rod Laver Arena, night session, first match (from 7.30pm AEDT)
Barty is on a nine-match winning streak and is yet to drop a set this tournament. Her semifinal opponent, a 26-year-old American ranked No.51, is riding the momentum of a 10-match winning streak and is enjoying her best Grand Slam run since the 2018 US Open. “Madi is an exceptional athlete, she has a great serve, great first strike off the return and off her first ball after her serve,” Barty noted. “A lot of the time it’s about trying to put her in an uncomfortable position, try and get her off-balance, because if she controls the centre of the court the match is on her racquet.”
Head-to-head: Barty leads 2-1
Last meeting: Barty won 6-3 7-5 (Roland Garros, 2019)

[WC] Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS)/Nick Kyrgios (AUS) v [3] Marcel Granollers (ESP)/Horacio Zeballos (ARG)
Men’s doubles, semifinal, Rod Laver Arena, day session, second match (not before 2.30pm AEDT)
Aussie wildcards Kokkinakis and Kyrgios have sensationally eliminated three seeded teams to reach the semifinals. Now they face world No.6 Zeballos, a 36-year-old from Argentina, and world No.7 Granollers, a 35-year-old Spaniard. The No.3 seeds are aiming to progress to their third Grand Slam final as a team. “Obviously the guys are experienced veterans, but we’re going to keep playing how we play, enjoy it, and have fun, and use the crowd,” Kokkinakis said. “We just concentrate on what we need to do,” Kyrgios added. “We know what we do well, and it’s world class, so that’s what we’ll do again.”

> READ: Kokkinakis and Kyrgios dedicating AO 2022 run to their fans

[1] Dylan Alcott (AUS) v [2] Sam Schroder (NED)
Quad wheelchair singles, final, Rod Laver Arena, day session, third match (not before 3.30pm AEDT)
Alcott plays his final professional match against world No.2 Schroder, a 22-year-old from the Netherlands. They have faced off in five of the past six Grand Slam finals and Schroder was the only player to record a win against world No.1 Alcott last season. Alcott, who has won seven of their past eight encounters, is excited for the challenge. “What a way to go out. All I want it to be is a great match, a great showcase, and enjoy it,” said Alcott, who is aiming to win his 16th career Grand Slam singles title. “I think we’ll put on a show.”
Head-to-head: Alcott leads 10-2
Last meeting: Alcott won 6-1 6-4 (Melbourne, 2022)

Matt Ebden (AUS)/Max Purcell (AUS) v [2] Rajeev Ram (USA)/Joe Salisbury (GBR)
Men’s doubles, semifinal, Margaret Court Arena, third match
Ebden is enjoying a career-best run in a Grand Slam men’s doubles draw, while this is a second major semifinal for Purcell. The Aussie pair, who have eliminated three seeded teams to reach this stage, now face world No.3 Salisbury and world No.4 Ram. The second seeds are aiming to progress to a third consecutive AO final. They have played once before, at last year’s US Open when the Aussies held four match points in a quarterfinal loss to the eventual champions.  “We know what to expect,” said world No.34 Purcell. “We’re in the semifinals, so anything can happen. Plus we’ve got the home crowd.”

Charlotte Kempenaers-Pocz (AUS) v Carolina Kuhl (GER)
Girls’ singles, quarterfinals, Court 6, second match
Kempenaers-Pocz is the last remaining Australian in the junior singles competition. The 17-year-old South Australian has been enjoying an impressive run, showing incredible fight to triumph in multiple three-set battles against higher-ranked opponents. The world No.220-ranked junior now faces Kuhl, a 16-year-old German ranked No.47 and contesting her first junior Grand Slam tournament.

[WC] Charlotte Kempenaers-Pocz (AUS)/Taylah Preston (AUS) v [1] Clervie Ngounoue (USA)/Diana Shnaider (RUS)
Girls’ doubles, semifinals, Court 6, fourth match
Aussie wildcards Kempenaers-Pocz, a 17-year-old South Australian, and Preston, a 16-year-old from Western Australia, have progressed to their first Grand Slam semifinal. The duo now have their sights set on taking out the No.1 seeds. Ngounoue is a 15-year-old American ranked No.12, while Shnaider is a 17-year-old Russian ranked No.3 and is the reigning Wimbledon girls’ doubles champion.

> VIEW: Full Australian Open 2022 day 11 schedule

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