A two-time Wimbledon champion and world no. 8 Petra Kvitova is through to the 33rd WTA final following a dominant 6-1, 6-2 win over a qualifier Aliaksandra Sasnovich in an hour and six minutes. The encounter was postponed several times due to rain and it was almost midnight when Petra and Aliaksandra appeared on the court.
The Czech made it the quickest possible affair, though, sealing the deal in just over an hour after a great display on both the serve and return, losing 13 points in eight service games and fending off all three break points she faced to keep the pressure on the other side of the net all the time.
Sasnovich played some impressive tennis to reach the last four but she had to end her journey tonight, losing more than half of the points in her games and giving the serve away four times from nine chances that Kvitova produced.
Petra managed to make the first damage on the return already in game two when she won five straight points, repelling those break points in game five to stay in front and increasing the lead with another break in game six following a beautiful backhand down the line winner.
The Czech secured the opener in just 30 minutes after a service winner in the following game, eager to maintain the same level in set number two and spend the shortest amount of time on the court. After four easy holds on both sides, Petra shifted into a higher gear to impose her shots and rattle off the last five games of the match, breaking Sasnovich with a volley winner in game five and once again in game seven for a 5-2 advantage.
The Czech crossed the finish line with a service winner in game eight to book the final clash against Ashleigh Barty, mighty relieved she didn't have to play two matches on Saturday just two days before the start of the Australian Open.
The home hero will compete in her seventh WTA final after a hard-fought 6-7, 6-4, 7-5 triumph against the 7th seed Kiki Bertens in two hours and 18 minutes. The young Aussie won their both previous matches but she really had to dig deep to emerge as a winning today, collecting just four points more than her rival and saving four out of five break points to limit the damage in her games.
Bertens blasted 15 aces but despite a great effort she had to end on the losing side, getting broken three times from four chances she offered to Barty, concluding his run in the semi-final and heading to Melbourne where he eyes another strong result.
The battle was raging on right from the start, trading breaks in games five and six and with the Dutch who saved a set point with a forehand winner in game 12 to set up a tie break. From 4-1 down, Kiki won six straight points for a great comeback, wrapping up the first part of the match with an ace that pushed her closer to the finish line.
Ashleigh was ready to fight for every point and she opened the gap with a break in game five in set number two following a cross court forehand winner, dismissing two break points at 4-3 and taking the set after a forehand error from Bertens in game 10 that introduced the deciding set.
There, both players defended the service games with ease and it was Barty who fired a forehand down the line winner in game eight to erase a break point before she scored a crucial break in game 11 thanks to another forehand mistake from Kiki.
Serving for the win a few minutes later, Barty held at love to grab the spot in the final where she will try to celebrate in front of the home crowd. Semi-final results:
Ashleigh Barty (AUS) vs Kiki Bertens (NED) 6-7(4) 6-4 7-5
[5/WC]Petra Kvitova (CZE) vs [Q]Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR) 6-1 6-2