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The Ashleigh Barty party continues at the Australian Open after the tennis star progressed to the semi-finals at her home grand slam for the second time in her career.

The Australian world number powered to a straight sets victory against American 21st seed Jessica Pegula in her quarter final showdown at Melbourne Park.

Despite the 29C heat, Barty got off to a perfect start by claiming a break in the first game before going on to win the first set 6-2 in just 35 minutes.

She then won the second set 6-0 to end the match in less than an hour. 

The Queenslander is still yet to drop a set during this year’s grand slam, sparking comparisons from tennis greats that she’s better than Roger Federer.

Ash Barty salutes the crowd after making the Australian Open semi-finals for the second time in her career

Ash Barty salutes the crowd after making the Australian Open semi-finals for the second time in her career

Ash Barty salutes the crowd after making the Australian Open semi-finals for the second time in her career

‘It’s unquestioned she’s the best player on the planet,’ commentator Jim Courier said.

‘Here comes a break point and again, the slice, just stays so low Ash’s slice technique is arguably the best backhand slice technique in the world, period, men’s (or) women’s tennis.’

‘Roger Federer if you’re back in Switzerland listening, that’s right, I said it bud let’s call it a draw!’ 

Barty will take on world number 51 Madison Keys on Thursday night after the American outsider caused a boilover to defeat fourth seed Barbora Krejcikova in straight sets earlier on Tuesday.

She’s the third consecutive opponent Barty will face whom she previously defeated at the 2019 French Open on her way to a maiden grand slam.

Just two of the top 10 women’s seeds remain in the tournament, Barty and Polish seventh seed Iga Swiatek. 

It’s the fourth time in a row Barty has progressed to the final eight in the women’s draw at her home Grand Slam, a feat that hasn’t been achieved by an Australian woman since Wendy Turnbull in the 1980s.  

Barty has equaled her result at the Australian Open was the semi finals two years ago, where she became the first Australian women in 24 years to reach the final four. 

She believes she has grown as a player and person since her heartbreaking semi-final loss two years ago. 

‘I feel like I’m a more complete tennis player,’ Barty said post-match.

‘I’ve obviously got a couple more years’ experience in my belt in handling different situations and being able to problem solve out on court. I think it’s a credit to my team. They’ve done so much work with me behind the scenes to make the best version of myself.

‘I’m loving playing out here. It’s bringing a smile to my face, regardless of what is happening during the points. Hopefully there’s a little bit more left.’

This year is the first time the women’s semi-finals will be held in the evening.

‘It’s been amazing. The weather this week, this isn’t Melbourne. This is Brisbane weather,’ Barty said.

‘But it’s been great. There’s been plenty of heat throughout the day. Night sessions here at the Australian Open are really special. 

‘To still have a bit of heat in the court is brilliant. I’m able to use that with my game as well. I love playing at the Australian Open, doesn’t matter what time.’ 

Ash Barty is one step closer to a maiden Australian Open title after a straight set demolition

Ash Barty is one step closer to a maiden Australian Open title after a straight set demolition

Ash Barty is one step closer to a maiden Australian Open title after a straight set demolition

Ash Barty (left) was congratulated by opponent Jessica Pegula after the quarter-final match

Ash Barty (left) was congratulated by opponent Jessica Pegula after the quarter-final match

Ash Barty (left) was congratulated by opponent Jessica Pegula after the quarter-final match

Earlier in the afternoon, the Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis show continued into the semi-finals of the men’s doubles after another epic three set thriller. 

The Aussie pair upset sixth seeded pair Tim Puetz and Michael Venus to book their spot in the final four.

They will now take on third seeded duo Horacio Zeballos and Marcel Granollers on Thursday for a spot in the final.

Retiring star Dylan Alcott’s hopes of a eighth consecutive wheelchair quads singles title in Melbourne also remains in tact following his quarter-final win against Andy Lapthorne in straight sets.

He was named 2022 Australian of the Year hours later. 

Former AFL player Chris Judd and wife Rebecca Judd were among the crowd cheering Barty on

Former AFL player Chris Judd and wife Rebecca Judd were among the crowd cheering Barty on

Former AFL player Chris Judd and wife Rebecca Judd were among the crowd cheering Barty on

Source: DailyMail

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