January 19, 2019
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Kvitova eases past Sasnovich, sets up Sydney final clash vs Barty

Sydney, Australia, Jan 11 (efe-epa).- Fifth seed Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic had to overcome a five-hour long delay Friday due to heavy rain before routing Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus 6-1, 6-2, to advance into the Sydney International final.

Once on the court, almost at midnight local time, Kvitova wasted no time and in 66 minutes stormed past Sasnovich, taking revenge for her 6-4, 4-6, 6-0 defeat to the Belarusian in the 2018 Wimbledon first round.

"It was worth the wait, definitely. I am really glad that we were able to get back on the court and play," the tournament website cited Kvitova as saying after the win. "I am happy for that, definitely, being in the final. Such a great achievement for me so far in the beginning of the season. So I am only taking everything positively."

The 24-year-old Sasnovich had to wait until the fourth game to get onto the scoreboard, before eventually losing the following three games to give Kvitova, 28, a one-set lead in just 30 minutes.

In the second set, Sasnovich managed to hold her first two serves for a 2-1 lead, but she lost the following five games as Kvitova took a further step toward her 26th career WTA title.

But before winning her 26th title, Kvitova has to face home favorite Ashleigh Barty, 22, who may be the first Australian to win the Sydney International since the all Australian 2005 championship match when Alicia Molik defeated Samantha Stosur.

"Ash is great ... she is very talented player with great touch. It will be a nice one tomorrow, it is a final, so whatever happens, happens," Kvitova said.

Barty came close to winning the title in 2018, but former world No. 1 Angelique Kerber of Germany denied Barty the trophy with a straight set win.

This time Barty hopes to draw power from her stellar Sydney campaign that saw her upset world No. 1 Simona Halep in a straight set win and then world No. 12 Elise Mertens in the round of 16 and quarterfinals respectively.

Yet, things did not come easily to Barty as she had to dig deep to see off world No. 9 Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands 6-7(4-7) 6-4 7-5 in the first semifinal clash earlier in the day, to continue her quest for the fourth title of her career.

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