'Just so good': Ash Barty brilliance sets up Australian Open history

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·Sports Reporter
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Ash Barty has powered her way into the Australian Open final, becoming the first Aussie woman to do so in 42 years. (Photo by MARTIN KEEP/AFP via Getty Images)
Ash Barty has powered her way into the Australian Open final, becoming the first Aussie woman to do so in 42 years. (Photo by MARTIN KEEP/AFP via Getty Images)

Ash Barty has become the first Australian player to win through to the final of the Australian Open in 42 years after a one-sided semi-final against Maddison Keys.

The world No.1 once again needed barely over an hour to dispatch the challenge from the resurgent Keys, who charged into the semi-final from outside the top 50 after an extremely challenging 2021 season.

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Her form wasn't enough to slow down Barty though, who claimed a 6-1, 6-3 win in resounding fashion.

Barty looked switched on from the opening point, fending off a break point at 2-1 and never looking back from there.

She again claimed an early break in the second set and from there it was a relatively straightforward affair for the reigning Wimbledon champion.

The 23-year-old awaits the winner of the second semi-final, played later on Thursday evening between Iga Swiatek and Danielle Collins.

Barty is set to become the first Australian to contest the final of their home grand slam since Wendy Turnbull in 1980.

It was a masterful performance that was a far cry from Barty's Australian Open heartbreak back in 2020, when she lost a semi-final to American Sofia Kenin.

Speaking after the match Barty admitted that before the match she had been nervously watching Dylan Alcott's quad wheelchair final, which took place shortly before her own semi-final.

"He's inspired a nation, he's inspired the whole globe," she said.

"We were watching his match today, I was with my physio before I came out and when he was making his speech we were both crying, and I was like I need to get out of here and get my game on.

"For him to be able to share that moment with so many people here, the way he and the Australian Open have worked together to open the opportunity for more disabled people to play tennis and have a go, I couldn't be more proud of him."

Fans were thrilled by the prospect of local hope raising the Australian Open trophy.

Ash Barty dominance propels her to new Australian Open heights

Incredibly, Barty has dropped only one of her past 82 service games since her opening match of the year against Coco Gauff in Adelaide almost four weeks ago.

She is yet to drop a set this tournament tournament and has conceded just 21 games in 12 near-flawless matches.

Barty made a flying start to Thursday's historic first women's night-tinme semi-final, producing a brilliant running forehand pass to break Keys in the opening game.

She typically had no such troubles on her serve, rocketing down an ace on her very first delivery of the match and holding to love for a 2-0 lead.

Ash Barty had plenty of praise for opponent Maddison Keys after her semi-final victory at the Australian Open. (Photo by PAUL CROCK/AFP via Getty Images)
Ash Barty had plenty of praise for opponent Maddison Keys after her semi-final victory at the Australian Open. (Photo by PAUL CROCK/AFP via Getty Images)

The Wimbledon champion broke Keys for a second time in the fifth game, then a third time in the seventh game on the way to wrapping up the first set in 27 minutes.

Contesting her fourth grand slam semi-final, and second in Australia, Keys offered more resistence in the second set.

But there was no denying Barty as the hot title favourite repeated her 2019 French Open quarter-final triumph over Keys en route to her maiden grand slam title.

With AAP

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