Kerber keeps going ahead of Barty battle

Daria Gavrilova playing a double-fisted backhand against Ashleigh Barty at the Sydney International

She became the sixth qualifier to reach the semifinals in the last six years and set up a last four clash with Angelique Kerber, who beat her in the previous two meetings.

The other semi-final in Sydney will be an all-Australian affair between Ashleigh Barty and Daria Gavrilova, the former Australian compatriot whose record now stands at 12-1 against fellow Aussies since she took residency Down Under in 2013.

Barty, Australia's top-ranked women's player at number 19 in the world, will compete for just her second career title after beating Gavrilova 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 in their semi-final on Ken Roswell Arena.

"For me, it was about coming here and playing with freedom", she said after her latest success, the second in three matches she has achieved over her opponent. "I know what to expect".

Kerber, who knocked out Venus Williams in her opening match in Sydney, said she was not yet back to her best form of 2016 when she won the Australian and US Opens.

The Queenslander won 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 against a fiery Gavrilova, who struggled to find any consistency with her serve, and who earned a code violation for racquet abuse when frustrations boiled over.

Kerber and Barty have split their two previous meetings a year ago with the Australian winning in Zhuhai, China, and the German winning in three sets in Brisbane last week.

"I'm still able to win tennis matches".

The Ipswich product opens her campaign against Belarusian and world No.69 Aryna Sabalenka in a quarter of the draw that could lead to a possible third-round match against world No.16 Elena Vesnina.

"There is nothing better than playing at home, playing in front of a home crowd".

Russian qualifier Daniil Medvedev upset Italian fourth seed Fabio Fognini 2-6, 6-4, 6-1 to reach the Sydney men's final.

Medvedev will meet Australian teenager Alex de Minaur or Benoit Paire of France.

"To win here six matches in a row, to be in my second ATP final, to have the chance to get the title is incredible feeling".



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