Ash Barty has become the first local woman to reach an Australian Open singles final in 42 years and described the feeling as “unreal” and “incredible”.
The sublime tournament of the world No.1 continued in a 6-1 6-3 victory over American Madison Keys at Rod Laver Arena, ensuring she’d become the first Australian woman to feature in a home grand slam singles final since Wendy Turnbull in 1980.
Barty took 62 minutes to eliminate Keys and kept the world No.51 to love in five service games, while she also registered five aces and hit 20 winners.
The two-time singles major champion then spoke to just how special it was to break the 42-year drought, ahead of a clash with American seed 27 Danielle Collins.
“It’s unreal. Honestly, it’s just incredible. I love this tournament, I love coming out here and playing in Australia,” Barty said in her on-court interview.
“As Aussies we’re exceptionally spoilt that we’re a grand slam nation, we get to play at home, we get to play in our backyard. I’m just happy that I get to play my best tennis here.
“I enjoy it, I’ve done it all before and now I get the chance to play for a title.
Barty will play in her first Australian Open singles final on Saturday night.
The Queenslander has progressed to two quarter-finals and one semi-final at the Melbourne Park major.
Australian tennis great Jelena Dokic witnessed Barty’s demolition of Keys from a courtside position and gave a glittering assessment of her performance.
“It was clinical,” Dokic said on Nine’s Wide World of Sports.
“It was impressive to watch courtside.
“Just the ability to absorb the pace that Madison Keys has (was impressive). We know she’s one of the biggest hitters in the world.
“The serving, as well … Brings it out when she really needs it.
“The slice was absolutely beautiful.
“You can see how much she understands the geometry of the court.
“Impressive, just absolutely impressive.”