January 7, 2022
(Reuters) – World number one Ash Barty delighted the Memorial Drive crowd by breezing through to the Adelaide International semi-finals with a comfortable 6-3 6-4 victory over Sofia Kenin on Friday.
Barty, the 2020 Adelaide champion, dominated from the start and showed no signs of the rust on display in her win over Coco Gauff in the previous round of the Australian Open warm-up event.
In their first meeting since Kenin upset Barty in the 2020 Australian Open semi-final, the American struggled with her serve while her top ranked opponent was nearly flawless, producing 17 aces and winning 31 of 32 first serve points.
Barty notched the crucial break midway through the opening set and carried that momentum through to the second, wrapping up the win in just over an hour without facing a single break point.
“I felt pretty good today. I was able to look after my service games pretty well and it was a lot of fun playing out here and getting more court time,” Barty said.
“It’s nice to come out here and be tested from the start and know that you need to bring your very best level. Looking at these last two matches, there’s still work to do.”
Earlier on Friday, seventh seed Elena Rybakina fought back from a set down to prevail 3-6 6-3 6-2 in her quarter-final against American Shelby Rogers.
Rogers, who knocked out sixth seed Maria Sakkari in the previous round of the WTA 500 event, raced 4-1 ahead before closing out a strong opening set but Rybakina got the only break in the second and carried that lead to force a decider.
Rybakina won 90% of her first serve points in the final set and sent down five aces en route to closing out the win in just over two hours. She will face either Japan’s Misaki Doi or Slovenian Kaja Juvan for a place in the final.
Defending champion Iga Swiatek takes on two-times Grand Slam winner Victoria Azarenka later on Friday.
In the men’s Adelaide ATP 250 event, top seed Gael Monfils of France beat American Tommy Paul 6-4 6-1 to advance to the semi-finals after third seed Marin Cilic rolled past Serbia’s Laslo Djere 6-3 6-2.
Second seed Karen Khachanov faces Belarusian qualifier Egor Gerasimov while local hope Thanasi Kokkinakis takes on Mikael Ymer of Sweden.
(Reporting by Hritika Sharma in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)