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Tennis-Barty wins Australian battle to reach Wimbledon semi-final

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By Martyn Herman

LONDON (Reuters) – World number one Ash Barty outclassed compatriot Ajla Tomljanovic 6-1 6-3 to reach the Wimbledon semi-finals on Friday and arrange a meeting with 2018 champion Angelique Kerber.

In the first all-Australian women’s Grand Slam quarter-final since the 1980 Wimbledon Championships, 25-year-old Barty delivered a calm and composed performance at Center Court.

Tomljanovic had battled British wildcard Emma Raducanu the night before to reach her first Grand Slam quarter-final, but was nowhere to be seen in a one-sided first set.

But the 28-year-old made it more of a game in the second, breaking Barty’s serve twice.

However, Barty always had a different level and in just over an hour put an end to Tomljanovic’s resistance.

“Ajla is an incredible competitor – I’ve played with her a lot, I’ve practiced with her, all the Aussies at home are proud of her and it was damn nice to share the track with her today,” top seed Barty, who is playing for the first time made it to the quarter-finals of the singles at the All England Club, the court said.

“This is a dream come true. I know you hear that a lot, but this is my dream and I am extremely grateful to have the opportunity this afternoon to experience what I love to do most.”

Barty has made no secret of her desire to win her first Wimbledon title, 50 years after Evonne Goolagong, who is also of Indigenous Australian descent, won her first title.

Wearing an elegant pioneer outfit from FILA, modeled after Goolagong’s, her stylish all-court game wouldn’t have looked out of place in any era.

Barty won the French Open in 2019, becoming the first Australian to do so since Margaret Court in 1973.

But despite winning the 2011 Wimbledon girls’ title, she hasn’t always performed her best on London’s lawns.

However, there is growing confidence in Barty this time around, although 33-year-old southpaw Kerber presents a daunting obstacle in the semi-finals.

“The Ultimate Test — Angie has had success here before. I love that match-up. She knows her way around this pitch and I know I have to play well to give myself a chance in that match,” Barty, who only has fallen a set so far, said.

Barty was in cruise control in the opening set when her variety of spins and angles messed up the world number 75.

It is to her credit that Tomljanovic was able to break through in the second set by breaking in the first game and then dragging himself back from 4-1 down.

But Barty wasn’t in the mood for overtime and got the job done efficiently without needing top gear, serving up a pair of aces while holding out for the win.

(Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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