MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Top-seeded Ash Barty can earn no greater praise than to have her slice shot compared with the great Roger Federer.
Multiple Grand Slam singles champion Jim Courier made that observation as a TV commentator watching the local favorite drop just two games to beat American Jessica Pegula in a lopsided Australian Open quarterfinal.
But Barty knows that renowned weapon will need to be finely tuned to combat Madison Keys' power, particularly on serve, in their semifinal duel on Rod Laver Arena on Thursday.
The other semifinal will feature another American, Danielle Collins, against seventh-seeded Iga Swiatek.
"I love to get creative with it (slice), to use it offensively and defensively. Over my career I've learned it is a weapon for me," Barty said. "Sometimes I try and use it when it's my choice and I can be really, really aggressive with it. But being able to use it with variety and have different options has been a massive part of my game through this last couple of years of my career."