Australian eighth seed Ashleigh Barty reached her first Grand Slam semi-final as she outplayed error-prone American Madison Keys 6-3 7-5 at the French Open on Thursday.
In a quarter-final clash postponed from Wednesday because of heavy rain, Barty produced an intelligent display full of guile in the Court Suzanne Lenglen sunshine.
Barty’s greater variety proved too much for 2018 semi-finalist Keys whose power game broke down at the vital moments.
The only blemish came when she failed to serve out the match in the second set but she recovered her poise to complete victory.
It helped her set up a semi-final against American teenager Amanda Anisimova, who beat reigning champion Simona Halep.
“It was a really clean match,” Barty, who returned to the sport three years ago after stopping to play cricket, told reporters.
“I felt I was in control.
“I got the balls I wanted, and I was able to put the balls in difficult positions for Maddie. Really, really happy with how we went about it.”
While 14th seed Keys, bidding to reach her fifth Grand Slam semi-final, usually overpowers opponents with her potent serve and flat groundstrokes, Barty prefers something else.
Keys is the highest-ranked player left, but Barty knows there is still a long way to go before Saturday’s final.
First she must do her homework for a semi-final against Anisimova, whom she has seen in action for all of 20 minutes.
“I’ll sit down with my coach tonight and try and work out a game plan, try and work out ways that I can be effective against her,” the 23-year-old Queenslander said.
“It’s a new situation for me. It’s a little bit of a new territory. But I will prepare and do the best that I can to keep it normal.”