Australian Open: Ashleigh Barty sets up semi-final with Madison Keys after emphatic win
Ashleigh Barty hopes of becoming the first Australian woman to win since 1978 continues as she surges through to the semi-finals in Melbourne where she will meet Madison Keys who makes it through to her first semi-final in Australia for seven years
Last Updated: 25/01/22 3:38pm
Ashleigh Barty continued her relentless march towards the Australian Open title as she dismissed Jessica Pegula to reach the semi-finals.
Barty matched her best run at Melbourne Park with a 6-2 6-0 victory over Pegula on Rod Laver Arena.
The world No 1 has not yet come close to dropping a set and was far too strong in all areas for American Pegula, wrapping up victory in just 63 minutes.
Barty, who next faces Madison Keys, said: "That was solid tonight. I had a lot of fun out here, I was able to serve and find a lot of forehands in the centre of the court and I was happy to take the game on."
The Australian previously reached the last four two years ago, losing to eventual champion Sofia Kenin, and is hopeful of going further this time.
"I've grown as a person, I've grown as a player," said Barty. "I feel like I'm a more complete tennis player. I'm absolutely loving playing out here. It's been a lot of fun so far and hopefully there's a little bit more left."
Keys booked her first Grand Slam semi-finals in four years with a 6-3 6-2 upset of Barbora Krejcikova.
Keys found herself outside the top 80 in the rankings earlier this month after a poor season last year but won a WTA Tour event in Adelaide before arriving in Melbourne and has maintained her momentum.
The American has blasted her way through the draw and hit 27 winners against French Open champion Krejcikova.
It is Keys' first Grand Slam semi-final since the US Open in 2018, with her best run seeing her reach the final in New York the previous year, losing to Sloane Stephens.
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The 26-year-old said: "I think I'm going to cry. It means a lot. Last year was really hard. I did everything I could with my team to really reset this off-season. I'm really proud of myself and so thankful to my team and my friends and my family for helping me through what was a really tough year."