Australian Open: Ashleigh Barty beats Madison Keys to reach Melbourne final

Ashleigh Barty and Madison Keys
Barty (left) has won all 10 singles matches she has played in 2022
Dates: 17-30 January Venue: Melbourne Park
Coverage: Daily radio commentaries on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, BBC Sport website and app, with selected live text commentaries online; TV highlights from middle Saturday.

Ashleigh Barty became the first home player to reach the Australian Open women’s singles final in 42 years as she beat Madison Keys in straight sets on a jubilant Rod Laver Arena.

Wimbledon champion Barty, 25, won 6-1 6-3 against the unseeded American.

Now she is one win away from becoming the first Australian – man or woman – to win the singles since Christine O’Neil won the title in 1978.

Top seed Barty will face Iga Swiatek or Danielle Collins in Saturday’s final.

Polish seventh seed Swiatek, who won the 2020 French Open as a 19-year-old, is aiming to reach her second Grand Slam final.

American 27th seed Collins is bidding for her first major final, less than a year after she had surgery for endometriosis.

Whoever wins later on Thursday looks set to face a tough task stopping Barty.

The world number one reached the semi-finals at Melbourne Park in 2020, with defeats in the quarter-finals coming either side.

This year, Barty has so far looked unstoppable and unburdened by the weight of Australian expectation.

The 25-year-old Queenslander has been in supreme form in 2022, having now won all 10 of her singles matches this year.

After beating three top-20 players to win the Adelaide International title, she has continued that dominance in Melbourne.

Strong serving has been the bedrock of her success, with her returning game – characterised by a tricky backhand slice – also proving difficult to unpick.

Barty had not dropped a set in her opening six matches, conceding just 21 games on her way to the final.

Key, a former US Open runner-up looking for her a second major final, was nervous from the start and never looked like ending that dominance.

More to follow.

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