| By New York Tennis Magazine Staff

 

The first of two women’s semifinals at the Australian Open was finalized on Tuesday, as Australia’s own Ashleigh Barty, the tournament’s top seed, and American Sofia Kenin powered their way into the final four Down Under.

Barty held off seventh-seed and last year’s finalist Petra Kvitova 7-6(6), 6-2.

“I love testing myself against Petra,” said Barty. “She has this way of bringing out the very best in me. She came at me with all guns blazing. That first set could have gone either way. It was really important to try and get my nose ahead when I could. It was nice to save a set point and get a roll on early in the second set with a couple of quick breaks.”

Barty, who captured the French Open title last year, is the first Australian woman into the Australian Open semifinals since Wendy Turnbull in 1984.

“I’m here to try and do the best that I can,” said Barty. “Obviously it’s exciting. Hopefully I can bring a smile to a few faces around our country and around the world. For me, it’s trying to do the best that I can, find that enjoyment for myself and my team.”

Standing in between Barty and an appearance in the finals is 14th seed Sofia Kenin, who continued the best Grand Slam fortnight of her career with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur.

“It feels really good,” said Kenin. “I’m super excited for it. I think overall I played really good. I tried to handle the nerves, obviously nerves coming into this match. I think I did a really good job handling myself.”

Kenin committed just 16 unforced errors in the one hour and 32 minute match, and finds herself in the first major semifinal of her career.

Barty is 4-1 all-time against Kenin.

On Day 10, fourth-seed Simona Halep will take on 28th seed Anett Kontaveit, while Garbine Muguruza plays 30th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova to round out the semifinals.