PARIS, France - For the first time in her career, Ashleigh Barty will contest a singles semifinal at a Grand Slam.
The No.8 seed ended No.14 seed Madison Keys' campaign for a second straight appearance in the final four in Paris with a 6-3, 7-5 win in Thursday's quarterfinal.
The Aussie needed two chances to seal her spot in the semifinals against surprise package Amanda Anisimova, who was simultaneously authoring a stunning upset of reigning champion Simona Halep on Court Philippe Chatrier.
Barty first served for the match at 6-3, 5-4, but never held a match point as Keys kept the match alive, but served out her semifinal spot to love at the second opportunity.
The 23-year-old's slice backhand drew Keys into uncomfortable positions throughout the 69-minute encounter, as the American racked up 26 unforced errors in the match.
"I think that's probably close to my best match that I have played over the last month, I think, on the clay. For all of one little blemish there trying to serve out the match in the first time," Barty said.
"It was a really clean match. I felt like I was in control. I got the balls I wanted, and I was able to put the balls in difficult positions for Maddie. Really, really happy with how we went about it."
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In an opening set which went with serve for the first seven games, and neither woman faced a break point or was even taken to deuce, Barty earned the decisive break in the eighth game.
She needed four set points to finally wrap up the opener, while the second set unfolded in much of a similar vein. The two players stayed on serve for the first six games, before Barty made the first breakthrough overall.
"I think today I actually felt like I had a better mix of slice and topspin, as probably to my other matches. My other matches I have been a little slice heavy. It was important today to try to mix that up a little bit more," she added.
"It's a shot that I love to use as much as I can to my advantage. If I put it in the right positions, I know it's tough for my opponents to go anywhere but back to that spot.
"I felt like I used it well today, but also thought I served very well today to allow myself to be in control of a lot of the points."
She is the first Australian to reach the semifinals at Roland Garros in three years, when Samantha Stosur made the final four, and is garaunteed to enter the Top 5 in the WTA rankings following Halep's defeat.
"I felt for myself and my team, we have approached this clay court season a little bit differently to others. Have really enjoyed it, embraced it. Have been playing some pretty good tennis.
"Ultimately I feel like when I'm able to play my game style and my kind of tennis, I can match it with everyone regardless what surface it's on.
"I'm super excited, and the fact that we're still here in the last few days is incredible."