'That is sinister': Ash Barty's 'evil' act leaves commentators stunned

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·Sports Editor
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Ash Barty, pictured here in action against Madison Keys at the Australian Open.
Ash Barty's slice forehand had commentators in awe at the Australian Open. Image: Channel Nine/Getty

Ash Barty completely dismantled Madison Keys in their semi-final clash at the Australian Open on Thursday night, and one 'sinister' shot had commentators in awe.

Barty used her much-improved serve and array of sliced forehand and backhands to keep Keys off balance on Rod Laver Arena, marching into the final with a 6-1 6-3 demolition job.

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Barty inflicted the biggest blow on Keys when she broke her serve to go ahead 4-2 in the second set after the American seemed to be turning things around.

Barty was on another level to Keys in the first set, however the American was making a fight of it in the second.

But with Keys serving at 2-3, 40-40 and trying to stay alive, Barty left her opponent demoralised in the space of two brutal points.

The World No.1 played an unreal sliced forehand low across court off a Keys serve, making her opponent scramble to retrieve it.

Keys managed to get the ball back but watched in vain as Barty hit an easy forehand winner past her.

"That is sinister," Jim Courier said in commentary for Channel Nine about Barty's return.

"That is incredible. Evil intentions."

Sam Smith added: "That is the ruthlessness of the world's best player.

"She is moving the pieces around the board beautifully tonight."

One point later, Barty clinched the crucial break with another forehand passing shot, taking a 4-2 lead and not looking back.

Ash Barty and Danielle Collins in Australian Open final

Barty became the first Aussie player to reach the Australian Open women's singles final in 42 years and will be looking to finish the job on Saturday night.

The first Australian to make the women's title match since Wendy Turnbull in 1980, Barty delivered another serving masterclass on Rod Laver Arena to see off Keys in just 62 minutes.

The 25-year-old's last hurdle in her quest to become the first local Open singles champion since Chris O'Neil in 1978 will be resurgent American World No.30 Danielle Collins.

"It's unreal. Honestly, it is just incredible," Barty said.

Ash Barty, pictured here celebrating after sealing her place in the Australian Open final.
Ash Barty celebrates after sealing her place in the Australian Open final. (Photo by Andy Cheung/Getty Images)

"To be in the finals weekend of your home grand slam is what a lot of Aussie players dream of.

"I love this tournament, love coming out here and playing in Australia and, as an Aussie, we are exceptionally spoiled that we are a grand slam nation (and) we get to play in our backyard and I am just happy that I get to play my best tennis here.

"I enjoy it, I've done well before and now we have a chance to play for a title. It's unreal."

Collins powered her way into the decider with a demolition job of her own, taking down World No.9 Iga Swiatek 6-4 6-1.

"Every time we've played we've battled, and they've been some really fun matches," Collins said about Barty.

"Even the matches I've lost have been some of my most memorable moments on court because of the way we were battling and going back and forth.

"Something I really admire about Ash's game is her variety, and playing the different game styles than pretty much all of the players on tour.

"There's not too many that use the sliced backhand the way she does, and have the big serve the way she does."

with AAP

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