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Roger Federer given surprise advice as Ash Barty sets Australian Open record

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WORLD number one Ash Barty reached a new milestone after progressing to the semi-finals of the Australian Open.

Ash Barty has written her name into Australian tennis’ history books thanks to her strong run at Melbourne Park. The home favourite convincingly beat America’s Jessica Pegula 6-2, 6-0 yesterday, and progressed to her second ever semi-final at the Australian Open – with her first last-four appearance coming back in 2020.

Pegula, 27, equalled her best ever run at the tournament after reaching the last-eight in 2021, but she was left heartbroken after a poor performance on Tuesday.

She was broken twice en route to losing the first set 6-2, despite Barty not playing her best tennis.

The world No 21 struggled to stay aggressive from the baseline and was unable to consistently finish points at the net.

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She was then broken at the start of the second set and from there, Barty began to grow in confidence and used her slice backhand to perfection, pulling Pegula out of position before attacking with the forehand in the open court.

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The American wouldn’t win a single game on the second set and the rout was completed by the Aussie in an hour and three minutes.

It was relatively one-way traffic for Barty, who is aiming to become the first Aussie woman to win at home since Chris O’Neil in 1978.

With the win, the 25-year-old became the first Australian to feature in two semi-finals at her home Grand Slam since the tournament was moved to Melbourne Park in 1988.

The likes of Pat Cash (1988), Mark Woodforde (1996), Pat Rafter (2001) and Lleyton Hewitt (2005) managed to reach the semi-finals at thr Australian Open just once.

After reaching the semis, Barty is guaranteed to remain as the No 1 ranked player, which came as no surprise to commentator and two-time Australian Open winner, Jim Courier

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“It’s unquestioned she’s the best player on the planet,” he said on Australian network Channel 9.

He also praised the player’s exquisite slice backhand and sent a message to Roger Federer, also the owner of a phenomenal slice.

Ash Barty

“Here comes a break point and again, the slice, just stays so low. Ash’s slice technique is arguably the best backhand slice technique in the world, period, men’s (or) women’s tennis,” the American said while commentating.

“Roger Federer if you’re back in Switzerland listening, that’s right, I said it bud let’s call it a draw.”

The Swiss maestro is still recovering from knee surgery and it is unknown when we will see the all-time great grace a tennis court once again.

Barty meanwhile, will battle the resurgent Madison Keys for a place in the Australian Open final tomorrow.

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The winner of that match will contest the final against either Poland’s Iga Swiatek or American Danielle Collins.