Hometown favourite Barty ousts Kvitova to reach semis at Australian Open
Canada's Gabriela Dabrowski falls in women's doubles quarter-finals
Ash Barty is a step closer to ending a four-decade drought for Aussies at the national championship.
Top-ranked Barty saved set points in the 11th game and another in the tiebreaker before seizing the momentum against two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in a 7-6 (6), 6-2 quarter-final win at the Australian Open on Tuesday.
The so-called Barty Party in 2019 ended in a quarterfinal loss to Kvitova. The start of a new decade is cause for a bigger celebration at Melbourne Park.
Barty next faces Sofia Kenin, who reached the semifinals at a major for the first time with a 6-4, 6-4 win over No. 78-ranked Ons Jabeur.
In a first set that lasted almost 70 minutes, Barty fended off eight of the nine break-point chances she faced before finally getting the upper hand when she won a 22-shot rally, defending for much of it just to stay in the point, at 3-2 down in the tiebreaker.
"I was run ragged on that point — I just remember trying to stay alive. I knew it was a big one. It was more survival mode than anything else."
WATCH | Barty uses serve to upend Kvitova:
She went on a roll to take a 4-0 lead in the second and take all the momentum away from Kvitova, who beat her here in the quarter-finals last year before before losing the final to Naomi Osaka.
Barty rebounded from that to win her first major title at the French Open, where she beat Kenin in the fourth round. Until she arrived in Australia, Kenin's run at Roland Garros — which included a third-round upset over Serena Williams — was her best at a Grand Slam.
There's a lot of local expectation riding on Barty, who is aiming to be the first Australian woman since Chris O'Neil in 1978 to win the Australian Open. The first major of the decade may see the end of the 42-year wait, and an Australian man hasn't won since 1976. Barty is already the first Australian woman since 1984 to reach the semifinals of the home Open.
Barty doesn't expect to feel the pressure. She won her first title on home soil in Adelaide in the lead-up to this season's first major.
"I'm not going to have anything but a smile on my face when I walk out onto this court," she said.
Kenin and Jabeur were both into the quarter-finals for the first time at a major.
Dabrowski done in women's doubles
Canadian Gabriela Dabrowski and partner Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia have been ousted from women's doubles at the Australian Open.
The No. 4 Czech duo of Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova toppled No. 6 Dabrowski and Ostapenko 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 in the quarter-finals.
It's the second time in three years that Dabrowski has reached the quarters of women's doubles in Melbourne only to come up just short.
The 27-year-old from Ottawa isn't finished at the Grand Slam, however.
Dabrowski is still alive in the mixed doubles with partner Henri Kontinen of Finland. They have a second-round match later Tuesday against Australia's Matthew Ebden and Jessica Moore, who are in the tournament as wild cards.
Meanwhile, Canada's Milos Raonic is scheduled to play World No. 2 Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals of men's singles later Tuesday.
Djokovic, seven-time winner and defending champion, is 9-0 in his career against the product of Thornhill, Ont.
With files from The Canadian Press