MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Ash Barty stormed into her maiden Australian Open semi-finals on Tuesday with an emphatic 7-6(6) 6-2 win over Petra Kvitova that avenged her defeat to the hard-hitting Czech in last year’s quarter-final at Melbourne Park.

Thrashed 6-1 6-4 by Kvitova last year, top seed Barty rode a wave of crowd support as she defused the twice Wimbledon champion’s power game before running away with the contest on a glorious afternoon at Rod Laver Arena.

French Open champion Barty saved two break points serving for the match, then sealed the win with an ace to become the first Australian woman to reach the semi-finals at Melbourne Park since Wendy Turnbull in 1984.

Barty will play 14th seeded American Sofia Kenin, who earlier beat Ons Jabeur, for a place in the final.

(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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