'Another level': Ash Barty domination leaves Aus Open fans in awe

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·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
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Ash Barty thundered through her quarter final matchup against Jessica Pegula in straight sets on Tuesday evening. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)
Ash Barty thundered through her quarter final matchup against Jessica Pegula in straight sets on Tuesday evening. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

Ash Barty has steamrolled American challenger Jessica Pegula to storm into the Australian Open semi-finals in resounding fashion.

The world No.1 put on a truly clinical display in front of her home fans on Rod Laver Arena, outclassing Pegula 6-2, 6-0 in barely over an hour.

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Pegula had no answer for Barty's imposing ground game, struggling to wrestle control from the home favourite who had an answer for everything Pegula threw at her.

Barty was aided by a wayward game from Pegula, who had only seven winners compared to 26 unforced errors.

Another American awaits Barty in the semi-final, Madison Keys, who earned an impressive upset win over world No.4 Barbora Krejcikova on Monday.

Speaking after the match, Barty said she was satisfied with her performance.

“That was solid tonight. I was able to serve and find a lot of forehands in the center of the court," she said.

"I was happy to take the game on. Be aggressive off my forehand, not worry that I miss a couple, so long as I’m doing the right things."

Fans flocked to social media after the latest impressive display from Barty, as the hype behind her run to final of her home grand slam continued unabated.

Keys had snapped Paula Badosa's unbeaten start to the year in the fourth round and will next face Australia's top-seeded title favourite Ash Barty or US compatriot Jessica Pegula on Thursday for a place in the final.

Keys, a one-time world No.7, slumped to 81st in the rankings after a forgettable 2021 season dogged by injury and self-doubt.

But the 26-year-old is now riding a 10-match winning streak after launching her revival with a drought-breaking sixth career title at this month's Adelaide International 2.

Ash Barty tees up semi-final clash with Madison Keys

She stands within two wins of an elusive grand slam crown which many tipped the precocious talent would win years ago.

"I think I'm going to cry. It means a lot," Keys said.

"Last year was really hard and I did really everything I could with my team in the off-season to re-set.

"Really to start on zero and be fresh and not worry about last season and, wow, it's gone well so far.

"I'm really proud of myself."

Keys first made the Open semi-finals as a teenager in 2015.

Two years later she lost to great friend and fellow American Sloane Stephens in the US Open title match.

Whether it's Barty or Pegula next, the more mature 26-year-old said she feels much better placed entering her second chance to reach an Australian Open final.

"It mostly feels different because I'm seven years older and it's not my first semi-final of a slam," Keys said.

Madison Keys will face Ash Barty in the Australian Open semi-final, aftr she scored an impressive upset win over Barbora Krejcikova. (Photo by Recep Sakar/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Madison Keys will face Ash Barty in the Australian Open semi-final, aftr she scored an impressive upset win over Barbora Krejcikova. (Photo by Recep Sakar/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

"I'm a little bit more prepared this time around than I was all those years ago.

"You take the experience out of it. I know I'm going to feel nervous. I know I'm going to be excited. I know all of those feelings are going to be there.

"But it's also a completely different situation, time and person, all of that.

"Take the experience that you have from those moments and you try to apply it, but you also know that it's going to be a completely different challenge."

With AAP

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