World no. 1 Ashleigh Barty is through to the first semi-final of the season, beating Marketa Vondrousova 6-3, 6-3 in an hour and 21 minutes for the fourth victory over the Czech in as many encounters. Playing better in the crucial moments, Ashleigh fended off six out of seven break chances, delivering four breaks after taking more than half of the return points that carried her over the top.
Playing for the first time since that nasty wrist injury, Vondrousova scored two dominant wins before Barty clash, unable to find the same level against the world's leading player and finishing her journey in the last eight.
A left-hander got broken at love in the fourth game following a volley error, falling 3-1 behind and allowing Ashleigh to close the opener after fending off a break chance in the ninth game. They traded breaks in games three and four in set number two before Barty delivered another break at 15 in game seven to move closer to the finish line.
Serving in the next game, the Aussie defended four break opportunities and walked over the top with another break in game nine when Marketa netted an approaching slice. Barty will face an in-form American Danielle Collins in the battle for the place in the final, with Collins toppling the 4th seed Belinda Bencic 6-3, 6-1 in an hour and four minutes.
The last year's Australian Open semi-finalist was the dominant figure on the court, serving at only 48% but dropping ten points in eight service games, never facing break points and mounting the pressure on the other side of the net.
Belinda was far from those numbers, giving away half of the points behind the initial shot and suffering four breaks to propel the American into the last four. Settling into a nice rhythm right from the start, Danielle converted the fourth break chance in the sixth game with a return winner, securing the opener with an ace in the ninth game after just 38 minutes.
Unable to impose her shots, Bencic fell 3-0 down in set number two after a forehand winner from Collins who sealed the deal with a break at love in game seven to stay on the title course.