MELBOURNE: Ashleigh Barty became the first Australian woman to reach the semi-finals at her home Grand Slam for 36 years with victory over Petra Kvitova in an absorbing encounter in Melbourne.The top seed made 2019 runner-up Kvitova pay for a host of missed chances in a 7-6 (8-6) 6-2 victory at the Australian Open.French Open champion Barty will face American 14th seed Sofia Kenin next.Kenin reached her first major semi after a 6-4 6-4 win over Ons Jabeur.The last Australian woman to reach the semi-finals in the singles at Melbourne Park was Wendy Turnbull in 1984, who was the most recent finalist from the home nation in 1980.Kenin, 21, broke early on the way to winning the opening set but Jabeur, the first Arab woman to reach a Grand Slam quarter-final, showed plenty of stomach for the fight, saving five set points over two games to keep the 14th seed waiting.Jabeur, ranked 78 in the world, wasted three breakpoint chances in the sixth game of the second set with unforced errors and threw her racket away in disgust before being broken by Kenin in the next game.Kenin converted her first match point when Jabeur, 25, found the net on a service return. Agencies Also Read: ‘My face is everywhere’ – Ashleigh Barty feels the love at Australian OpenAlso Watch: Noted Exponent of Folk Culture Dr Krishna Kanta Handique conferred with ‘Bukul Ban Award 2020’
Has the team been permanently hooked?I think that since the season began we have had ups and downs. A great start, very strong, and then we did not find regularity. Then we had another sequence of important matches until Eibar and then again lost regular results. From Granada we are pressing better, feeling much stronger and knowing what we have to play. When the team identifies the identity of this team, the path becomes more comfortable.Was there fear to think little about this match?The players were very clear that beyond the important victory against Liverpool, the first half of two games, the League is our life. The fan gets up to see how the team is doing in the league. Although the Champions League is also important, the fan wants to be as high as possible in the newspaper in the League. I saw the players very well, looking to get the best way to the game and the second half was one of the best we’ve played.Without intensity the equipment lowers a lot. How was Diego Costa?When the team plays in consequence of its records, important matches appear. Diego trained well yesterday, the doctors will explain what they need to explain later and I understood that he was not in a position to compete, but I hope that next week he will be well.With what remains of the triumph?The revelation before the adverse result and the strength to keep looking from 2-1. I think they were the reference of today’s game. How important is Koke?Talk about Koke I’ve always talked. He is our captain, our reference and the player who has been with us the most. He is very clear about what we want and what we are looking for, he has a tactical condition that does not have many players and beyond looking slow, he has a step that always knows where he is. Koke and Saul can play anywhere.Every time he leads the team the Monkey has great effectiveness.Germán has known him for 25 years, we know each other too much and we know what we want. Every time he has had to lead he has won and he is a winning guy. He is a person with that positive energy that he transmits and with that sense of tranquility, the opposite of me, but clearly with that winning energy.Do you want me to stay?When Germán has to give some explanation he will be in charge of giving it.How did you see the return of João Félix and Trippier? And the work of Saul and Thomas in the middle?Saúl and Thomas have worked very well to find the ball in the rival field, with the help of the strikers with Morata working hard and a fantastic Correa. Then the internal competition makes us very happy. The return of Trippier, João, the return of Costa, Carrasco are getting better and better … and those who have entered when these boys have not been. Vrsaljko doing a great job, Vitolo played a good game and the changes gave us freshness and clarity in order to attack a little better.