Barty downs Krejickova to reach Cincinnati semi-finals

The world No 1 came from 4-2 down in the second set and will play Angelique Kerber for a place in the final

Ash Barty Cincinnati

The Wimbledon champion beat the Roland-Garros winner on Friday as world No 1 Ash Barty saw off Barbora Krejickova 6-2, 6-4 to reach the semi-finals of the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati.

The Australian had to work hard in the second set, winning four straight games as she rallied from 4-2 down to seal victory in one hour, 11 minutes.

Barty extends record against top-10 players in 2021

Barty arrived in Cincinnati having gone out in round one at the Olympics. But after hammering former world No 1 Victoria Azarenka in the previous round, Barty picked up where she left off as she raced through the first set, only for Krecjikova to bounce back by breaking serve in the third game of the second.

The Cezch, who won her first Grand Slam singles title in Paris earlier this summer held her advantage to 4-2 but Barty then put her foot down as she set up a semi-final against Wimbledon runner-up Angelique Kerber. Barty’s now 14-1 against top-10 players in 2021.

“Barbora served exceptionally well early in that second set,” Barty said. “She took advantage of one service game where I hit too many second serves. I just wanted to get a little bit more positive on her service games. I’m happy to run away with that in the end.”

Kerber through as Kvitova retires

Kerber, the runner-up at Wimbledon last month, took the first set against Kvitova and though the Czech led 3-0 in the second, she was clearly struggling with a stomach issue, retiring when Kerber hit back to level at 3-3.

“It’s such a good feeling to be back in the semis here in Cincinnati,” the German said. “It’s nice to be back, I’m playing my best tennis again.

And Kerber had nice words to say for two-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova.

“I hope Petra will recover as fast as possible and be ready for the US Open. She’s a big fighter, I hope she’s fine really soon.”

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