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Tennis-Barty storms past Swiatek to set up Adelaide final against Rybakina

Randy Mancini 11 Jan 8
WTA 500 - Ostrava Open
FILE PHOTO: Tennis - WTA 500 - Ostrava Open - CEZ Arena, Ostrava, Czech Republic - September 24, 2021 Kazakhstan's Elena Rybakina in action during her quarter final match against Poland's Iga Swiatek REUTERS/David W Cerny

January 8, 2022

(Reuters) -Australian world number one Ash Barty breezed past holder Iga Swiatek 6-2 6-4 in their Adelaide International semi-final on Saturday to set up a showdown with Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina.

Barty, who won the tournament in 2020, was dominant from start to finish, winning 76.3% of her first serve points.

The 25-year-old took a 3-2 lead after getting the first break of the opening set and followed up with another break and a couple of love holds to take the first set.

The Australian carried her winning momentum into the second set, breaking early to take a 2-1 lead, and then successfully defending a break point to hold serve at 4-2.

Despite her best efforts, Poland’s fifth-seeded Swiatek could do little to stem Barty’s tide, eventually surrendering the match in one hour 27 minutes.

“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.

“Each match this tournament I feel like I’ve got progressively better, hopefully there’s a little more left in the tank for tomorrow.”

Earlier on Saturday, seventh seed Rybakina put in a solid performance to beat Japan’s Misaki Doi 6-4 6-3.

Rybakina went down a break in the second game of the first set, but immediately broke back. She then sent down five aces to claim the first set 6-4, before breaking Doi’s serve twice in the second to seal victory.

“It was tough. I started really slow, and my focus was up and down. She played so well, I’m just happy to win. My serve really helped me today,” Rybakina said.

In the men’s Adelaide ATP 250 event, second seed Karen Khachanov beat Croatia’s third-seeded Marin Cilic 7-6(3) 6-3 to seal his spot in the final.

Russian Khachanov will take on the winner of the second semi-final, which sees local hope Thanasi Kokkinakis take on French top seed Gael Monfils.

(Reporting by Aadi Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Ken Ferris)