Barty masters Vondrousova again, Sabalenka stuns Halep in Adelaide

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - World number one Ash Barty maintained her mastery over Marketa Vondrousova but Aryna Sabalenka jolted Simona Halep’s Australian Open build-up in the quarter-finals of the Adelaide International on Thursday.

FILE PHOTO: Tennis - WTA Tour Finals - Shenzhen Bay Sports Center - Shenzhen, Guangdong province, China - November 3, 2019 Australia's Ashleigh Barty celebrates after winning the final against Ukraine's Elina Svitolina REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

In a rematch of last year’s French Open final, Barty prevailed once again, winning 6-3 6-3 for a 4-0 head-to-head lead over the Czech.

American Danielle Collins, who knocked out fourth seeded Belinda Bencic 6-3 6-1, awaits the Australian in the semi-finals.

Barty fired 20 winners and saved six of the seven break points to clinch the contest against Vondrousova, who was playing her first tournament since Wimbledon following wrist surgery.

Barty will take on Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko in the first round of the Australian Open where she will bid to end the host nation’s long wait for a home-grown champion at the year’s first Grand Slam.

Earlier, Belarusian Sabalenka stunned reigning Wimbledon champion Halep 6-4 6-2 to set up a semi-final clash with Ukrainian Dayana Yastremska, who beat Donna Vekic 6-4 6-3.

Level at 4-4 in the first set, Sabalenka reeled off seven straight games to race to a 6-4 5-0 lead before wrapping up victory in a little over an hour.

“I knew she’ll fight until the end -- it doesn’t matter what the score,” she said after registering her first win against the Romanian former world number one.

“When the score was 5-0, I kind of expected that she’ll try to do everything she can to come back in the match.”

Sabalenka narrowly averted a first round exit against Hsieh Su-Wei and had to toil against American qualifier Bernarda Pera in the next match.

“I wasn’t really disappointed after that two games,” she said.

“That helped me to stay in the match and to not lose my mind. I’m happy with this win, especially against big fighters like Simona and the great players. (It) feels good.”

Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Christian Radnedge