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

Ashleigh Barty was dominant from start to finish, winning 76.3 per cent of her first-serve points. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

(REUTERS) - Australian world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty breezed past holder Iga Swiatek 6-2, 6-4 in their Adelaide International semi-final on Saturday (Jan 8) 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 per cent 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, French top seed Gael Monfils will meet second-seeded Russian Karen Khachanov in Sunday's title match.

Former world No. 6 Monfils beat local hope Thanasi Kokkinakis, who was on Friday handed a wildcard for the Australian Open men's singles draw, 7-5, 6-0 to reach his 33rd ATP Tour final.

Khachanov earlier defeated Croatia's third-seeded Marin Cilic 7-6 (7/3), 6-3 to seal his spot in the showpiece clash.

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