Tennis: Kvitova thumps Sasnovich to set up Sydney final with Barty

Petra Kvitova reacts after her semifinal match against Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus.
Petra Kvitova reacts after her semifinal match against Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

SYDNEY (REUTERS) - Fifth seed Petra Kvitova raced past Belarusian Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-1 6-2 in a rain-delayed encounter at the Sydney International on Friday (Jan 11) to set up a title showdown with home favourite Ashleigh Barty.

Two-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova had suffered a shock opening round defeat by Sasnovich at the All England Club six months ago.

But the Czech was at her ruthless best in preventing a repeat, striking 22 winners to ensure her progress to a second Sydney final after winning the title in 2015.

"It was worth the wait, definitely. I'm really glad that we were able to get back on the court and play," said Kvitova after heavy rain had prevented the match from starting until almost midnight local time.

Kvitova, who is yet to drop a set this week, will take on last year's runner-up Barty in the final on Saturday.

"I don't think (the crowd will be) on my side but it's fine," Kvitova added.

"I think she's really in good form, she's playing so well here in the tournament as well. I can just play aggressive, and that's what I'm playing."

Barty, who stunned world number one Simona Halep in the opening round this week, gave the local crowd plenty to cheer as she rallied from a set down to beat Kiki Bertens 6-7(4) 6-4 7-5.

The 22-year-old led the tiebreak 4-1 only for her Dutch opponent to reel off six straight points to claim the opening set.

But she responded impressively, converting three of the four break point opportunities to seal victory.

Kvitova has won both her previous meetings with Barty, the most recent being a three set triumph in the final at Birmingham in 2017.