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 on 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.
A reflex backhand winner gave 23-year-old Barty the decisive break when Keys served at 3-4 in the first set.
Using her clever changes of pace, she provoked errors from the powerful Keys to break again at 3-3 in the second.
Serving for the match at 5-4 Barty wavered for the first time in the match, double-faulting and then netting a forehand on break point to hand Keys a way back into the match.
But the respite was shortlived. Keys dropped serve with a double-fault in the next game and this time Barty sealed victory to set up a semi-final clash with American teenager Amanda Anisimova who knocked out defending champion Simona Halep.
“Anisimova has been playing some great tennis, to reach a semi-final you must be doing the right things,” Barty, who once quit tennis to play cricket, said on court.
“It’s an exciting opportunity for both us and we will both enjoy it tomorrow.”