Barty, who won the tournament in 2020, was dominant from start to finish, winning 76% of her first serve points; Canada into ATP Cup final as Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime win decisive doubles rubber against Russia
Last Updated: 08/01/22 11:17am
Australian world No 1 Ash Barty breezed past holder Iga Swiatek 6-2 6-4 in their Adelaide International semi-final on Saturday 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% 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, second seed Karen Khachanov beat Croatia’s third-seeded Marin Cilic 7-6(3) 6-3 to seal his spot in the final.
Russian Khachanov will take on the winner of the second semi-final, which sees local hope Thanasi Kokkinakis take on French top seed Gael Monfils
Canada edge Russia to reach ATP Cup final
Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime rallied to victory in the deciding doubles rubber against defending champions Russia to fire Canada into their first ATP Cup final on Saturday.
The Canadians beat the Russian pair of Daniil Medvedev and Roman Safiullin 4-6 7-5 10-7 in a final set super tiebreaker to seal the tie 2-1 and set up a Sunday final in the $10m (£7.4m) team event against Spain.
After Shapovalov and Medvedev won their respective singles matches, all four players were back at the Ken Rosewall Arena for the doubles.
The Russians appeared to have the upper hand before Canada levelled the match with a late break of serve in the second set and then carried the momentum in the super tiebreaker, which is played to 10 points instead of seven.
“Felix played unbelievable in the game to break and then in the tie-break as well, just making them play so much. It was awesome,” Shapovalov said. “We kept fighting. We have great team chemistry, team spirit, so it helped us a lot.”
Earlier, world number two Medvedev strolled past Auger-Aliassime 6-4 6-0 to keep alive Russia’s hopes of defending their ATP Cup title, sending the semi-final tie into the deciding doubles.
Denis Shapovalov had put Canada within one win of reaching the final with a battling 6-4 5-7 6-4 victory over Roman Safiullin in the first singles, putting Medvedev in a must-win situation in the second rubber.
“Denis helped me and the team to push myself. We had a tough start in the doubles, so to be able to come back in this way, it’s really a team effort,” Auger-Aliassime said.
“That’s what the ATP Cup is about. You can still win after being one-all and losing a tough singles. It’s really about the team effort and we’re happy to be through. We’re really thrilled for the whole team.”