Photo by Peter PARKS / AFP
Photo by Peter PARKS / AFP

Melbourne: Hometown hope Ashleigh Barty faces a tough battle against Czech veteran Petra Kvitova for a spot in the Australian Open semi-finals Tuesday but will have the entire host nation cheering her on. The other contest for a final four berth pits the unseeded pairing of Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Danielle Collins against one another, with both players seeking Grand Slam breakthroughs.

Barty, 22, entered this year’s tournament as 15th seed but carries massive pressure from an Australian public desperate for Grand Slam success after becoming the first local to make the last eight in a decade. She has already downed five-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova and is on a red-hot run of form, winning seven of her eight matches this year. But against the eighth-seeded Kvitova, Barty is up against one of the few players on tour who can boast a richer vein of 2019 form.

Kvitova has won all nine of her matches this year, including a three-set win over Barty in the final of the Sydney International warm-up tournament. “Win a couple more important points, I suppose, compared to Sydney,” said Barty on how to get past Kvitova this time. “It’s exciting that I get to have another chance at Petra straightaway.”

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