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No.1 Barty sets up last-4 clash with wildcard Badosa

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Madrid, May 5 (IANS) Top seed Ashleigh Barty underlined her dominance of the Tour with a 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 win over No. 9 seed Petra Kvitova in one hour and 48 minutes to reach her first Madrid Open semi-final on Wednesday.

The Australian will face the only player to have beaten her since February — wildcard Paula Badosa, who became the first Spanish woman to reach the last-four stage in Madrid with a 6-4, 7-5 upset of No.8 seed Belinda Bencic.

With this win, Barty extended her winning streak on red clay to 15, and against top-20 opponents to 10. Her season record is 24-3, and she has won five of her past six meetings with Kvitova to tie their overall head-to-head at 5-5.

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Barty has also now won 11 of the 12 three-setters she has played in 2021.

“It’s just always staying in the fight,” said Barty about her record in deciding sets.

“Always staying in the hunt and never letting it slide away. That certainly doesn’t guarantee results, doesn’t guarantee success. It guarantees you give yourself the best chance to do what you do and to figure it out and to find your way.

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“I think it’s important not to panic, but everyone emotionally has different ways that they play on the court. I have always been quite calm on the court. That’s just always been my demeanour. But for me, it’s more about just trusting myself and knowing that we just keep chipping away and trying to find a way — and then give yourself time to do that,” Barty told wtatennis.com.

Among active players, only Serena Williams has compiled a longer streak on red clay. The American won 32 matches in a row on it between 2013 and 14, as well as 15 in a row in 2002-03.

Wednesday’s result pushes Barty ahead of the 14-match career-best streaks set by Venus Williams in 2004 and Simona Halep in 2018-19.

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–IANS

akm/kh

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