MELBOURNE - World number one Ash Barty is within two victories of achieving a crowning moment in her career after another dominant display at the Australian Open on Tuesday.
The 25-year-old reached the semi-finals at Melbourne Park for the second time in three years after blitzing American Jessica Pegula 6-2 6-0 in just over an hour.
After fulfilling a childhood dream by winning Wimbledon last year, Barty will now play another American in Madison Keys on Thursday for a spot in the final.
Barty, who is aiming to become the first local since Chris O'Neil in 1978 to win the Australian Open, is yet to drop a set in this tournament and is unbeaten in 2022.
The former French Open champion reeled off the last nine games against Pegula and she was delighted with her form.
"That was solid tonight. I had a lot of fun out here. I was able to serve well and find a lot of forehands in the center of the court and I was happy to take the game on," she said.
The Australian believes she is a superior player now to when she was beaten by eventual champion Sofia Kenin in a semi-final in Melbourne in 2020.
"I have grown as a person. I have grown as a player. I feel like I am a more complete player," she said. "I have a couple of more years of experience under my belt in handling different experiences and problem solving out on the court.
"I think it is a credit to my team. They've done so much work with me behind the scenes to make the best version of myself. I'm loving playing out here."
(Reporting by Courtney Walsh; editing by Alex Richardson and Jon Boyle)