Top-ranked Ashleigh Barty defeated Barbora Krejcikova 6-2, 6-4 Friday (Saturday AEST) to reach the semi-finals of the Western & Southern Open.
Barty will next face two-time Cincinnati finalist Angelique Kerber, who won her quarter-final when two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova retired during the second set because of a stomach problem. Kerber won the first set 6-4 and was tied 3-3 in the second.
Barty beat Kerber in the Wimbledon semi-finals in July. They have split their six matches.
“She’s one of the best competitors in the world,” Barty said. “Angie’s never far off her best. Even on days where she’s not playing her best tennis, she finds a way to stay in matches. When you play against Angie, you ride a fine line of not pressing too much, but also not being too defensive where she can move you around the court.”
Barty, ranked No.1 for 87 weeks, hasn’t lost a set this week in Cincinnati, a tune-up for the US Open.
Her biggest challenge came from Heather Watson in the second round. Barty has since dispatched of Victoria Azarenka and Krejcikova in straight sets.
The Australian was not deterred by the extreme heat and humidity in the morning’s first match at the Lindner Family Tennis Centre.
“It was like a Brisbane summer day,” Barty said. “The heat’s certainly not a problem for me. It’s nice to play the first match. You know when your start time is, which is not very regular in the tennis world.”