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    Australian Open: Barty, American Collins win semis, to meet in finale

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    Australian Open: Barty, American Collins win semis, to meet in finale

    Danielle Collins of the United States (pictured) beat Iga Swiatek of Poland in straight sets in a 2022 Australian Open semifinal Thursday in Melbourne to advance to her first career Grand Slam final. Photo by Dave Hunt/EPA-EFE

    Jan. 27 (UPI) — Top seed Ash Barty of Australia and No. 27 Danielle Collins of the United States won their respective semifinal matches Thursday at the 2022 Australian Open. They now will meet in the women’s singles finale in Melbourne.

    Barty took the court first and won her sixth-consecutive match of the tournament in straight sets. She needed just 62 minutes to dispatch of American Madison Keys.

    Barty will face Collins in the women’s singles finale Saturday on ESPN. She is the first Australian woman to reach the final at the tournament since Wendy Turnbull’s runner-up finish at the 1980 Australian Open.

    “It’s unreal,” Barty said in her on-court interview. “It’s just incredible. I love this tournament and coming to play here in Australia. … I’m happy I get to play my best tennis here.”

    Leyton Hewitt was the last Australian man to reach the tournament finale. He lost to Russia’s Marat Safin in 2005. Christine O’Neill beat American Betsy Nagelsen in 1978 for Australia’s last singles title at the Australian Open.

    Barty totaled five aces, won 4 of 6 break points and logged 20 winners in the 6-1, 6-3 victory. Keys logged one ace, did not convert on two break point opportunities and totaled eight winners.

    “I’m disappointed with how it went [in the semifinal], I would have loved to be in the final,” Keys told reporters. “But all-in-all, after the year I’ve had, I’m pretty happy with my summer in Australia.”

    Collins battled No. 27 Iga Swiatek of Poland in the next match at Rod Laver Arena. The American needed 78 minutes to beat Swiatek 6-4, 6-1. Collins totaled seven aces, won 6 of 10 break points and fired 27 winners. Swiatek totaled one ace, won 2 of 3 break points and logged a dozen winners.

    “It has been such a journey and it doesn’t happen overnight,” Collins said in her on-court interview. “I had so many years of hard work and hours at an early age on the court. … It’s just incredible to be on this stage. I’m just so grateful.”

    The 2022 Australian Open women’s singles final airs at 3:30 a.m. EST Saturday on ESPN. Barty, 25, is looking for her first singles title in Melbourne and third overall. Collins, 28, will make her debut in Grand Slam final.

    The men’s semifinal round starts late Thursday on ESPN. No. 6 Rafael Nadal of Spain battles No. 7 Matteo Berrettini of Italy in the first match at 10:30 p.m. EST.

    No. 2 Daniil Medvedev of Russia then takes on No. 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece in the second semifinal. That match is scheduled for 3:30 a.m. EST Friday on ESPN.

    The men’s singles final is set for 3:30 a.m. EST Sunday on the same network.

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