Petra Kvitova ended hopes of a home singles champion at the Australian Open with a crushing victory over Ashleigh Barty in the quarter-finals.
Barty was the first Australian woman to reach the last eight for 10 years and there was optimism she could become the first home winner since Chris O’Neil in 1978, but Kvitova was in devastating form in a 6-1, 6-4 victory.
The Czech has not lost more than five games in any of her matches so far and is through to the last four at a slam for the first time since winning her second Wimbledon title in 2014 and a little over two years after fearing she might never play again when she was stabbed in the hand by an intruder at her home.
Kvitova’s victory, meanwhile, ensures Simona Halep will be replaced as world No 1 , although Naomi Osaka, Karolina Pliskova and Elina Svitolina are also in the frame.
Kvitova began her on-court interview by apologising to the deflated crowd, saying: ‘I’m sorry guys. She’s such a nice person and you should be very proud of her.
‘It was a great match definitely. She came back well, she didn’t give me anything for free and I really had to fight until the end.’
The 28-year-old became emotional when asked about the struggles she has been through, choking back tears as she said: ‘I didn’t really imagine to be back in this great stadium, it’s great.’ menang ceme