Barty reaches Aus Open final; ends 1 drought, 1 to go

Ash Barty ended a long drought by reaching the Australian Open final with a 6-1, 6-3 win over unseeded Madison Keys.

She still has one to go.

Barty is the first Australian woman to reach the singles final of her home Grand Slam tournament since Wendy Turnbull in 1980. No Australian has won the title since Chris O’Neil in 1978.

The top-ranked Barty conceded only 17 games on her way to the semifinals and continued her strong form with another dominating performance against 2017 U.S. Open runner-up Keys.

Barty has won major titles on grass at Wimbledon and clay at the French Open and is one win away from adding another on a hard court.

Tennis legend Dylan Alcott’s farewell party has been spoiled with a loss in the wheelchair quad final to Sam Schroder of the Netherlands.

After a whirlwind 48 hours, the 2022 Australian of the Year was upset by Schroder 7-5, 6-0 in Thursday’s final at Rod Laver Arena.

The 31-year-old Alcott admitted before the match he was “fried” after rushing to the national capital of Canberra on Tuesday night following his semifinal win, soaking in the Australia Day honor that came his way, and preparing for what he said was his “last dance.”

Alcott retires with 15 Grand Slam titles. He completed an unprecedented Golden Slam last year, winning all four majors in the wheelchair quad as well as the Tokyo Paralympics event.

It’s going to be an all-Australian men’s double final on Saturday at Melbourne Park.

Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis, dubbed the “Special K” team, beat the third-seeded pair of Marcel Granollers of Spain and Horacio Zeballos of Argentina 7-6 (4), 6-4.

It came before a nearly full Rod Laver Arena with many fans admitted without the need for tickets and using their Melbourne Park grounds passes.

On an adjoining near-empty Margaret Court Arena, fellow Australians Matthew Ebden and Max Purcell beat the second-seeded team of Rajeev Ram of the United States and Joe Salisbury of Britain 6-3, 7-6 (9), saving four set points in the second set.

The mixed doubles finalists are set at Melbourne Park with the Australian wild-card entry of Jaimee Fourlis and Jason Kubler set to play in Friday’s final after a seriously late finish in their semifinal.

In a match ending after 2 a.m. on Thursday due to the marathon men’s quarterfinal between Daniil Medvedev and Felix Auger-Aliassime won by Medvedev in five sets, Fourlis and Kubler continued their unlikely run.

After saving a match point, the pair beat Lucie Hradecka and Gonzalo Escobar 2-6, 7-6 (2), 10-6 to advance to the championship match.

“I didn’t wake up, I swear, until after the first set,” Kubler said.

The Australians will face Kristina Mladenovic and Ivan Dodig, who beat Zhang Shuai and John Peers in the other semifinal.

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