Top-ranked Ash Barty recovered from a break down in the second set to sweep past Barbora Krejcikova 6-2 6-4 on Saturday morning (AEST) and reach the WTA and ATP Cincinnati semi-finals.
The Australian top seed handed her Czech opponent only a third loss since mid-May in the battle of Grand Slam champions.
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Krejcikova won Roland Garros in June while Barty claimed the Paris title in 2019 and Wimbledon this season.
“I feel like I did a good job looking after my own serves,” Barty said. “For all but one service game, I felt like a lot of the time I was in control.
“It was just staying patient, knowing that I was doing the right things. It was going to take some time.”
Barty will face German Angelique Kerber, who advanced 6-4 3-3 when Czech opponent Petra Kvitova retired, for a place in the final.
Krejcikova has been on a recent run of hot form, with Barty now accounting for two of her three losses since winning Strasbourg the week before the French Open and then collecting Paris and Prague trophies.
Barty now stands level with Krejcikova — a three-time Grand Slam doubles champion making her singles debut here — on 38 match wins this season.
The Aussie has now dispatched two Grand Slam winners in two days after beating two-time Australian Open holder Victoria Azarenka in the third round.
Barty boasts an astonishing 14-1 record against top-20 players this year, casting aside any doubts previously held about her No. 1 ranking. Tennis journalist Ben Rothenberg called it “incredible” while commentators Jose Morgado said it was “quite a stat” and tweeted: “Ash on fire!”
Tennis Channel host Prakash Amritray told Barty during an interview her win was a “spectacular performance” and said her 14-1 record was “amazing”.
After winning the opening set in 32 minutes over Krejcikova, Barty fell behind a break in the second. But the deficit was quickly closed as Barty broke her opponent’s final two service games of the match.
Barty advanced with seven aces and four breaks of serve in the 72-minute victory.
The Aussie is level 3-3 in her series with Kerber, beating the three-time Grand Slam winner in their most recent match, a Wimbledon semi-final, last month.
“Even on days where she’s not playing her best tennis, she finds a way to scrap and fight and stay in matches and give herself an opportunity,” Barty said of Kerber.
“Angie’s one of the best competitors in the world. She knows how to play big tournaments, knows how to play big matches.
“She’s confident, she’s aggressive, but she’s able to run and to move and put the ball in tricky spots, to not let you dictate too much. That’s the challenge when you play her.”
After suffering through an early week rain interruption, Barty was pleased to be playing the day’s first match in good weather.
“It was just like a Brisbane summer day,” she said. “The heat’s certainly not a problem for me.”