AO 22 Women SF Preview V1

Ash Barty vs. Madison Keys

This is interesting: World No. 1 vs. the momentum player of the tournament. Power vs. craft. A home-country favorite trying to win her first home Slam vs. an American trying to win her first Slam anywhere. We know how the points and rallies will likely play out: Keys will hit heavy ground strokes, while Barty will attempt to defuse or obviate that attack with slice, angles, serving, the occasional net rush and her own off-forehand. As Barty’s coach, Craig Tyzzer, says, “Look, she played [Camila] Giorgi who hits the ball a million miles an hour, and was able to absorb that pace and do something with it. I think Ash has other attributes. Her forehand is actually a weapon. Her slice will set her up a lot for her forehand. Her serve sets her up a lot for her shots as well.”

Barty and Keys have played three times, and Barty has won twice. But their last meeting came in 2019, and two of those matches were on clay. For Keys, the question is: Can she continue to work the points and maintain the balance between aggression and margin that she has found over the last 10 days, and that has often deserted her in the past? For Barty, the question is: Can she avoid the kind of surprise late-round collapse in Rod Laver Arena that has sent her out of this tournament the last two years? Winner: Barty


Iga Swiatek vs. Danielle Collins

This a battle of survivors. Swiatek and Collins have both won two three-set matches, and have both looked, at different times, as if they were on their way out of the tournament. Collins had to come back from a set down to beat Clara Tauson and Elise Mertens; Swiatek had to do the same in her last two matches, against Sorana Cirstea and Kaia Kanepi, the latter of whom really had her on the ropes.

Swiatek and Collins have played once, last year in Adelaide; the Pole won after the American retired down 0-3 in the second set. Swiatek has a major title, but Collins isn’t in uncharted waters, either; she made the semifinals here in 2019. Neither, as their records this week attest, will go away easily. But Collins seems to have gained confidence with each match, and if she’s connecting on her shots, she may be able to reach a velocity level from the baseline that Swiatek can’t match. Winner: Collins