Sydney - Australia's
Ashleigh Barty claimed another top 10 scalp to power into the Sydney
International final on Friday, while veteran Andreas Seppi upset third
seed Diego Schwartzman to reach the men's decider.
The 22-year-old Barty is on a hot run, stretching her unbeaten streak
to seven matches dating back to her career's biggest title at the WTA
Elite Trophy in Zhuhai.
She is one of the form players heading into the Australian Open next
week, but had to dig deep to scramble past world number nine and
seventh seed Kiki Bertens (6-7 (4/7), 6-4, 7-5).
Her reward is a clash with either 2015 champion Petra Kvitova or Belarusian qualifier Aliaksandra Sasnovich, who play later.
"It's amazing. It really has been a phenomenal week of tennis," said the 15th ranked Barty, who also made the final last year.
"I feel like I've played great all week and have had tough opponents
every single round and I'm really excited to have another shot at the
Barty had already accounted for world number one Simona Halep and
former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko before beating 10th seeded
Belgian Elise Mertens in the quarter-finals.
She came into the match with the advantage of having twice beaten
Dutch star Bertens previously, including as recently as last August in
World number eight Kvitova will face Sasnovich later Friday in the
other semi-final, the same woman who knocked her out of Wimbledon in the
opening round last year.
The Belarusian might be a qualifier in Sydney but has previously
reached two WTA finals, including in Brisbane last year, and has five
top 10 career wins.
Seppi edged past Schwartzman 7-6 (7/3), 6-4, a day after derailing
the hopes of top seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, proving he still has what it
takes at age 34.
The Italian, seeded eight, had made three previous semi-finals in
Sydney -- the first way back in 2006. But he had never gone further and
was delighted to get a crack at another ATP title to add to three he
"It was never easy, he is a great fighter and makes you play a lot of
balls and you have to run a lot," said Seppi of the Argentinian. "But I
played a good match today and was happy to close it out.
"I'm trying to keep working hard and I always play well in Australia.
My last final was in 2015, so excited to be on another one," he added.
Australia has been a happy hunting ground for Seppi.
As well as his deep runs in Sydney, he has a trio of round-of-16
appearances at the Australian Open, when he pulled off upsets against
Marin Cilic in 2013, Roger Federer in 2015 and Nick Kyrgios in 2017
He will play either exciting young Australian Alex de Minaur or veteran French star Gilles Simon in the final.
Results of matches played at the ATP/WTA Sydney International tennis tournament at Olympic Park on Friday (x denotes seed):
Andreas Seppi (ITA x8) bt Diego Schwartzman (ARG x3) 7-6 (7/3), 6-4
Ashleigh Barty (AUS) bt Kiki Bertens (NED x7) 6-7 (4/7), 6-4, 7-5