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Barty dominates Pegula to be within touching distance of Australian Open trophy

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Expert
25th January, 2022
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Ash Barty dominated her opponent yet again at the Australian Open on Tuesday night with another clinical display. It’s almost becoming too predictable – Australian tennis fans are nervous. They haven’t had someone so in control to cheer for such a long time.

Barty is through to the semi-finals after needing only 63 minutes to eliminate American young gun Jessica Pegula on Rod Laver Arena.

It was supposed to be a tricky clash at the quarter-final stage but Barty took any doubt out of the equation from the get-go. The 25-year-old Queenslander has now won five straight matches at Melbourne Park without dropping a set.

Barty has advanced to a semi-final showdown on Thursday night with another American on the rise, Madison Keys.

“I’ve grown as a person, I’ve grown as a player, I feel like I’m a more complete tennis player,” she said.

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

“I’m absolutely loving playing here and it’s bringing a smile to my face regardless of what’s happening during the points.

“It’s been a lot of fun so far so hopefully there’s a little bit more left.”

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Any concern that Barty might have any dramas with Pegula eased early in the contest when the Australian world No.1 broke the 21st seed early in the first set.

Barty doubled the dose soon after to progress to a 6-2 scoreline for the first set.

The final result didn’t reflect Pegula’s effort. She tried valiantly to hold serve in the first game of the second set and after a lengthy struggle, Barty finally got the breakthrough.

Pegula tried to keep her head above water but such is Barty’s stranglehold over her peers, she held serve easily each time and her opponent seemed to feel the pressure even more each time she had to serve.

The result was a 6-0 whitewash in the second set to end the American’s chances of a maiden grand slam title and send Barty into her home semis for just the second time, the first since 2020.

Barty beat Keys in the quarters when she won her first major at the 2019 French Open and is relishing the chance to go up against someone who is clearly a good friend on the tour, someone she respects on and off the court.

Coincidentally, she also beat Pegula in her memorable run to the trophy at Roland Garros three years ago.

Barty is favourite to win her third grand slam, which would make her the first home-grown Australian Open champion since Chris O’Neil emerged victorious at the old Kooyong courts way back in 1978.

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