The quarterfinal round at the Adelaide International saw a couple of surprises as well as a pair of favorites march into the semifinals as the world's best players get in their final preparation before the season's first major, the Australian Open.
World number one Ashleigh Barty, sixth seed Aryna Sabalenka, 19-year old Dayana Yastremska and Danielle Collins have reached the last four with Yastremska set to square off with Sabalenka and Barty facing Collins with the two winners playing on Saturday for the title.
Barty sees off Vondrousova, Collins routs Bencic
In a rematch of the Roland Garros final, it was Barty coming out on top against eighth seed Marketa Vondrousova by a 6-3, 6-3 scoreline, her fourth straight win against the Czech lefty without dropping a set. The Aussie struck 20 winners and saved six of seven break points in a vintage performance that will signal her intent ahead of Melbourne.
"There are times in the match where I want it to be a little bit tighter and clinical, but all in all it's really nice to be back here generating opportunities. That is just a gradual progression of spending time on court band spending time in that competition mode", she said following the match.
Collins continued her stellar early-season form with a 6-3, 6-1 thumping of fourth seed Belinda Bencic. The American, who stunned the tennis world by reaching the Australian Open semifinals, won 90 percent of her first serve points to set up a third career meeting with the world number one.
Yastremska eases past Vekic, Sabalenka blows away Halep
The 19-year old Ukrainian scored her third victory in as many tries against Vekic, seeing off the Croatian 6-4, 6-3. Yastremska was ruthless in blasting 23 winners past the world number 20 to reach a Premier-level semifinal for the first time in her career, her previous best result a quarterfinal in Wuhan last fall.
"It's nice to be in the semifinals just in the beginning of the year", she said after her convincing win. "I'm not playing my best game, but it's still nice, because now after the preseason I try to do the things i've been practicing. I'm just getting my form." On facing Sabalenka, Yastremska it will be "boom-boom tennis."
Sabalenka won for the first time in three career matchups against Halep, stunning the second seed 6-4, 6-2, blasting 30 winners to just 10 unforced errors. From 4-4 in the first set, the Belarusian won seven straight games to assume a 5-0 second set bulge.
"After the first week in Shenzhen, I didn't feel really well on the court. I'm so happy that I got a wild card here and I have some opportunities to play some matches, especially before the Australian Open," she said after the match. On Yastremska, she stated "she's doing well. she's aggressive player."