'It wasn't for me': Ash Barty conqueror's moment of pure class

Sofia Kenin dashed Australia's hopes of seeing Ash Barty break a 40-year drought at the Australian Open.

The American sealed her place in a first career grand slam singles final after knocking out Australia's World No.1 7-6 (8-6) 7-5 in their semi-final on Thursday.

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Barty was hoping to become the first Aussie woman since 1980 to make the final of her home grand slam tournament.

However, the 23-year-old fell agonisingly short after a heartbreaking straight sets defeat to Kenin in which she squandered two set points on serve, before going down to the American.

The majority of the crowd inside Rod Laver Arena were left stunned as the nation's great hope was bundled out of the tournament by the 14th seed.

Kenin - thrilled to have reached her maiden grand slam final - showed a touch of class after the match by apologising to fans for sending the hometown hero packing.

“She’s such a tough player. Of course, I'd like to first apologise to all of the Australian fans. I know they wanted her to win,” Kenin said.

“It's not easy for them. I beat world No.1. I'm so grateful and so happy. She played such a great match. She's a really great player.

The American was fully aware the majority of the crowd wanted her to lose, but loved the contest on Melbourne Park's centre court regardless.

“I loved playing in this atmosphere. I love Australia. It has a special place in my heart. Of course, I knew they were cheering for Ash.

Sofia Kenin and Ash Barty embrace after their Australian Open semi-final.
Sofia Kenin apologised to Aussie fans after beating Ash Barty in the semi-final.

“There was some interesting cheers. I liked it. But it wasn't for me. I just try to lock it out and focus on each point.

“(The) atmosphere is amazing. It's why I'm playing. I'm working hard to play at this great stage, great atmosphere. I enjoyed every moment of it. Hopefully on Saturday it will be a lot more for me.”

Barty takes positives from ‘hell of a summer’

Barty's attitude was equally as commendable after the loss as she chose to focus on the incredible run to the semi-final rather than the heartbreaking defeat.

"It's been a hell of a summer," Barty said before tweeting a photo enjoying some quiet drinks with her family and tight-knit entourage.

"I mean, if you would have told me three weeks ago that we would have won a tournament in Adelaide, made the semi-finals of the Australian Open, I'd take that absolutely every single day of the week."

The French Open champion carried the hopes of a nation while trying to break Australia's 42-year title curse.

"I've learnt so much over the past month," Barty said.

"I've learnt from all of the experiences that I've kind of been thrown into. I've loved every minute.

"I won't wait a year to put those into practice. I'll put those into practice next week.

"The next time I walk out on court, the next time I kind of wake up in the morning, every experience you need to learn from. I've done that.

"I feel like as a team we've grown. We've enjoyed every single minute.

"I can't wait to get started for kind of the rest of the year.

"I feel like it's going to happen pretty quickly and we're going to be back sitting at this table with an Australian summer next year."

Barty will take a short break to take stock before returning to the court in Dubai, then head to the US for the American hardcourt swing.

"We kind of debrief it, we enjoy it, we celebrate it," she said of her Open campaign.

"You don't get these opportunities every single week. We get to enjoy the experiences that we've learned, the experiences that we've had over the last month.

"Then gear up for the next few tournaments, kind of the start of the US summer."

With AAP