Adelaide, Jan 8 (IANS) Australian world no. 1 Ashleigh Barty dismissed defending champion Iga Swiatek in their Adelaide International semi-final on Saturday to set up a final with Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina.
In a clash between the tournament’s two previous winners, No 1 seed Barty beat No 5 seed Swiatek 6-2, 6-4 in 1 hour and 27 minutes to keep alive her hopes of regaining the title she claimed in 2020.
Barty’s victory moves the Australian into her 20th WTA-level final, and fifth on home soil. It was her second straight-sets defeat of Swiatek in as many encounters, having also defeated the Pole 7-5, 6-4 in the third round of Madrid last year.
The 25-year-old Australian tallied both a higher number of winners than Swiatek (14 to 13) and a lower number of unforced errors (14 to 28).
“This is unreal honestly. It’s so much fun playing out here tonight and Iga is an exceptional champion, she made me play my best tennis. There was not a lot in it,” Barty said after her match.
“Each match this tournament, I feel like I’ve got progressively better. Hopefully, there’s a little more left in the tank for tomorrow,” she added.
Earlier, seventh seed Rybakina took 1 hour and 23 minutes to sweep past the unseeded Misaki Doi 6-4, 6-3 to reach the 8th WTA singles final of her career.
The 22-year-old slammed nine aces during her victory over 30-year-old Doi, bringing her ace total for the week to 31.
Rybakina will now seek to add a third WTA singles title to her other trophies, which came at 2019 Bucharest and 2020 Hobart.
“I’m very happy to be in the final. It’s just the start of the season and I feel more confident, of course,” Rybakina said, in her post-match press conference.
“The key was again the serve, I think. I served really well at the end of the first set and then the second set. She played fast also. I just started a bit slow, maybe like yesterday. I have to improve it today for sure,” she added.