MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Top-ranked Ashley Barty reached the Adelaide International semifinals with a 6-3, 6-4 win over 2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin on Friday and Rafael Nadal advanced in Melbourne via a walkover in tune-up tournaments ahead of the year's first Grand Slam event.
Barty used her usual backhand slice and powerful forehand drive but also hit 17 aces and won 31 of 32 points on her first serve to advance. Barty lost to Kenin in the Australian Open semifinals at Melbourne Park two years ago.
"I was able to look after my service games pretty well and it was a lot of fun playing out here again and to get a little bit more court time and to start to play a little bit better," Barty said.
On Wednesday, Barty beat Coco Gauff in three sets in her season opener after almost four months since her last competitive outing.
"That's what you want. It's nice to come out here right from the start and know that you have to bring your very best level," the 2021 Wimbledon champion said. "Obviously looking at these last two matches, there's still work to do."