Kenin looks forward to first slam semi

John Salvado
American Sofia Kenin has booked a spot in the Australian Open sem-finals

Patriotic Sofia Kenin is embracing her status as the last American woman standing at Melbourne Park ahead of her Australian Open semi-final against Ashleigh Barty.

The 21-year-old Kenin continued her career-best run at a major by ending the giant-killing run of Tunisian Ons Jabeur 6-4 6-4 in the opening quarter-final on Tuesday.

The reward for the No.14 seed is to be cast in the unwitting role of villain on Thursday when Barty will aim to become the first local female in 40 years to reach an Australian Open decider.

Moscow-born Kenin moved to the US with her family as a toddler and was first touted as a tennis prodigy at the tender age of five.

After a steady rise up the ranks, she enjoyed a breakthrough season in 2019, winning three titles including the Hobart International.

At last year's French Open, Kenin became the first American in six years to beat Serena Williams in a major, dumping her idol out in the third round before losing to eventual champion Barty.

Now she must prepare for the even more formidable task of tackling the Australian on her home deck before a packed house at Rod Laver Arena.

"It's going to be a good match," said Kenin.

"I'm excited.

"Of course, she's playing at her home, so it's a little bit different, but I've made a lot of new fans.

"Hopefully I'll get some support and have a good match."

The openly-patriotic Kenin is trying not to get too caught up by the prospect of becoming the first American man or woman since Sloane Stephens at the 2017 US Open to lift a grand slam singles title.

"It would be amazing but I'm just going to take it one match at a time," she said.

"We'll just see how it goes.

"But if you say it like that, if that happens, okay, I'm all in for that.

"I'll take it."

The American took control of her quarter-final clash with Jabeur after holding serve in a marathon sixth game of the second set to level at 3-3 before breaking the Tunisian in the following game.

Jabeur was the first Arab woman to reach a grand slam quarter-final.

Her victims this year at Melbourne Park included 12th-seeded Brit Johanna Konta, former world No.1 and 2018 Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki and Williams' conqueror Wang Qiang from China.

"I think I proved that I can be in the quarter-finals in a grand slam, even if I have a lot of things to improve physically and mentally," said the 25-year-old Jabeur, whose career has been on something of a slow burn since winning the French Open girls title back in 2011.

"But I'm happy that I pushed through a lot of things. I proved to myself that I could do a lot of great things.

"I'm happy that I played this way.

"I know sometimes I'm hard on myself, but I think I could do better, especially with the moments where it's kind of tough and stressful.

"With more experience, I will be able to handle the pressure better."