BARTY IN TOP FORM AS SHE ADVANCES TO ADELAIDE FINAL



It was a mixed day for the Aussies on Saturday at the Adelaide International 1 with World No.1 Ash Barty progressing through to the final on Sunday, however, the run of hometown hero Thanasi Kokkinakis has ended after he lost to Frenchman Gael Monfils.


Monfils was at his athletic and entertaining best with a 7-5, 6-0 victory against Kokkinakis to set up an enthralling final with Russian No. 2 seed Karen Khachanov.


Playing in his first ATP semi-final since 2017 and with a parochial home crowd behind him, Kokkinakis was not intimidated by the occasion and the first set was an arm wrestle.


The first five games went to serve, in the sixth game Monfils had two breakpoints to make it 4-2, however, Kokkinakis managed to keep his composure and evened things up at 3-3.


Monfils was up 40-0 in the seventh game however two double faults in a row and an unforced error and in a blink of the eye, it was deuce and Kokkinakis sensed an opportunity to break serve.


The French veteran stayed composed though and held serve to make it 4-3.


The turning point came in the 12th game when Kokkinakis' serve was broken by Monfils and he went on to win the first set 7-5.


Monfils took all the momentum in the second set and took the early break to lead 2-0 and the crowd were stunned.


There were brilliant rallies between the pair, however, it was Monfils that won the key points when it mattered.


The 35-year-old Frenchman broke Kokkinakis serve again in the fourth game to lead 4-0.

Kokkinakis had two break points in the fifth game but was not able to take it and Monfils took full advantage to take the set 6-0.


Earlier on Centre Court, Barty progressed through to Sunday’s final against Kazakhstan No.7 seed Elena Rybakina after she defeated No.5 seed Iga Swiatek from Poland, 6-2, 6-4 in the semi-finals.


The win ended an eight-game winning streak in the tournament for Swiatek and Barty goes into the final as the hot favourite.


Barty's victory moves the Australian into her 20th WTA-level final, and fifth on home soil.

The Aussie was ecstatic by her performance against a quality opponent.

"I felt I had a good balance tonight of being able to run and move and neutralise,” Barty said.

“As soon as I was able to get a little bit of time on the ball, I was able to create with the forehand, which is a good thing.

“It was what we were after tonight. I was able to do it pretty well.

"Obviously with Iga, she has the ability to take the court away from you and take positioning away.


“As soon as I had an opportunity and a sniff, I needed to be able to take it, take the initiative.”


Barty was off to a flyer and the 2021 Wimbledon champion won the first set 6-2 in only 33 minutes. Barty won 80% (12/15) of points on her first serve.


Last year’s Adelaide International champion did not have any answers for Barty’s serve, while the Aussie was able to break Swiatek’s serve in the fifth and seventh games.


Barty’s momentum continued in the second set with an early break and she went up 3-1.

Despite some great rallies between both players, it was Barty that won the points when it mattered.


Swiatek had a break point in the sixth game but was unable to take it and Barty went up 4-2.


Swiatek held serve to make it 4-3, Barty refused to have her serve broken and went ahead 5-3.


The ninth game was a beauty, Swiatek served to stay in the match and led 40-0 but with the home crowd behind her Barty dragged it back to deuce.


Swiatek maintained her composure though and got it back to 5-4. Barty held her nerve when serving for the match and took the second set 6-4.


The World No. 1 is in rare form and for the second match in a row, she did not lose a game on serve.


Earlier, Rybakina defeated Japan’s Misaki Doi in straight sets 6-4, 6-3. Rybakina was very impressive in her victory producing 32 winners to Doi’s 16 and served nine aces.


It is Rybakina’s first final since Strasbourg in September 2020.


In the other men’s semi-final, World No. 8 Karen Khachanov defeated World No. 30 and veteran Croatian Marin Cilic earlier in the day 7-6(3), 6-3.


Khachanov has now reached his first tour-level final since the Paris Masters in 2018 when he defeated current world number one Novak Djokovic.


In the men’s doubles, No.1 seeds Ivan Dodig (Croatia) and Marcelo Melo (Brazil) will take on Indian pair Rohan Bopanna and Ramkumar Ramanathan in the final on Sunday.


Earlier Dodig and Melo defeated No.3 seeds Ariel Behar (Uruguay) and Gonzalo Escobar (Ecuador) 6-3, 6-7(6) 10-2.


Bopanna and Ramanathan defeated No.4 seeds Santiago Gonzalez (Mexico) and Tomislav Brkic (Bosnia) 6-2, 6-4.