SYDNEY – Number five seed Petra Kvitova breezed into the final of the Sydney International with a rain-delayed 6-1 6-2 rout of qualifier Aliaksandra Sasnovich on Friday to set up a showdown with local favourite Ash Barty.
Kvitova needed one hour and six minutes to dispose of Belarussian Sasnovich after she had been forced to wait for nearly five hours by heavy rain to begin her last-four match just before midnight.
The victory was revenge for a shock 6-4 4-6 6-0 defeat at the hands of Sasnovich in the first round of Wimbledon, and puts the Czech into her second final of a tournament she won in 2015.
She comes up against Australian Barty, who defeated world number nine Kiki Bertens 6-7(4-7) 6-4 7-5 in a closely-fought semi-final.
“I don’t think (the crowd will be) on my side, but it’s fine,” two-time Grand Slam champion Kvitova said of her prospects in Saturday’s final.
The 22-year-old Barty bounced back from a set down to take the second set, and broke late in the third to lead 6-5 before holding serve to claim the match, which lasted a marathon two hours and 18 minutes.
“It truly has been a phenomenal week of tennis,” said Barty, who was a finalist last year and defeated world number one Simona Halep on her way to this year’s final.
“I feel like I’ve played great, I’ve had tough opponents every single round, and I’m really excited to have another shot at the title.”
In the first men’s semi-final, Italy’s Andreas Seppi defeated Diego Schwartzman of Argentina 7-6 (7-3), 6-4, beating him in straight sets, despite the Argentinian taking an early 2-0 lead in the first set.
“It’s never easy, he’s a great fighter, makes you play a lot of balls and you have to run a lot but I think I played again a very good match today, very aggressive,” said 34-year-old world number 37 Seppi.
He will meet either Australia’s Alex de Minaur or French veteran Gilles Simon in the final. Their match was postponed until Saturday morning.
“Alex is an up-and-coming star and Gilles is the same age as myself, a very experienced player, so it’s going to be an interesting match,” said Seppi.dpa