Barty storms into Adelaide WTA final
Ash Barty's run at a maiden Australian Open title is gathering pace, the world No.1 breezing by in-form Iga Swiatek 6-2 6-4 in the Adelaide International semi-final.
The Australian's dominant serve and changes of pace frustrated the defending champion, fellow French Open winner and good friend.
But, dressed head to toe in black, it was all business in an 87-minute procession at Memorial Drive, Barty booking a spot in the final to play world No.14 Elena Rybakina on Sunday, when she'll also contest the women's doubles final.
Her win came as defending Australian Open champion and major threat Naomi Osaka withdrew from her semi-final in a Melbourne WTA warm-up event, citing an abdominal injury.
And it followed a stunning dispatch of 2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin and grinding win over teenage star Coco Gauff, Barty tuning up nicely as she looks to improve on quarter and semi-final appearances at her home slam in the last two years.
"It's just perfection, perfect tennis," Jelena Dokic said on the Nine Network.
"This is the best I've seen Ash Barty play, seen her look, in the lead-up events to an Australian Open and for me, a favourite (to win the major)."
Barty whipped a forehand down the line to set up a 5-2 lead in the first set, serving it out in 32 minutes.
Another sharply-angled forehand was too good for the world No.9, who followed up with a double fault to hand Barty the crucial break in the second set. The Pole was visibly rattled by Barty's changes of pace and spin, the trademark slice backhand used well whenever under pressure on serve.
"It's unreal. It's so much fun and Iga's an exceptional champion, made me play my best tennis," Barty said on court.
"This tournament was exceptionally tough, right the way through ... I love to test myself against the best in the world.
"I feel like every match I've progressively got a little better."
Earlier Rybakina beat Japan's Misaki Doi 6-4 6-3 to put herself a win away from a third career singles title.