Barty party continues at Sydney International

Rising star Ashleigh Barty ensured there would be an Australian in the Sydney International women's final for the first time in 13 years with a crushing victory over Czech Barbora Strycova on Thursday.

The world No. 19 overpowered Strycova 6-3 6-2 to set up a Friday semi-final with compatriot and close friend Daria Gavrilova, who earned her place in the final four via Wednesday's second-round win over Sam Stosur which followed the shock withdrawal of reigning Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza.

Not since Alicia Molik downed Stosur in 2005 has an Australian female played in the Sydney International final.

Barty is the highest-ranked player left in the Sydney draw, but bumps into a red-hot Gavrilova who has only ever lost once to a fellow Australian on tour since switching her allegiance from Russia in 2015.

That was against Stosur in Strasbourg last year prior to the French Open, a tournament in which she beat Barty earlier on. Her record now sits at 12-1 against Australian opposition.

"We'll see if I can make it 12 and two," Barty said.

"Dash and I had a cracking match in Strasbourg, six in the third. It literally could have gone either way with the net cord.

"For us, it's perfect. We can go out and have a really good match, go hard at each other, and still shake hands, have a hug at the end of the match, and wish each other the best.

"It's amazing for the tournament, for Aussie fans, to have an Australian in the final.

"For both of us it's nice to get a few matches leading into a slam. But first things first. We both want to win the match tomorrow and then hopefully go on and win the tournament."

Gavrilova breezed past Stosur on Wednesday night knowing that Muguruza had already withdrawn with a leg injury following her second-round win over Kiki Bertens, but will need to step it up another level against Barty who did little wrong against Strycova before a delighted Ken Rosewall Arena crowd.

At one stage she won nine out of 10 games, and almost held her opponent to love in the second set before being broken while leading 5-0.

She served out the first set with an ace prior to breaking Strycova's frustrated serve three times before her concentration dipped a fraction allowing the Czech to salvage some pride.

The late lapse had no bearing on the result, but left Barty bemoaning her sluggish finish as she continues to strive for improvement on the court.

"I'm a perfectionist and seek perfection, but yeah, today was good, but it was not anywhere near my best still, that's what I'm always striving for," Barty said.

"But I think you have to take things into consideration, the conditions and everything. You will never play perfect tennis, but you can certainly try your best.

"I always want perfection, but I think that's what my coach drills into me, he goes 'You just have to beat your opponent on the day'.

"I am getting better at it, but still, the way I am, I still want it to be perfect. I want it to feel perfect, to just feel right to me but as long as you're doing enough to beat your opponent, I suppose that's all that matters."

Barty and Gavrilova represent Australia's two best chances for success at the Australian Open, and a Sydney International title would cap off an almost perfect preparation.

Standing in their way is German former world No.1 Angelique Kerber, who swept aside Dominika Cibulkova 6-3, 6-1 on Thursday.

It was Kerber's seventh straight win this year.

"This stat is not bad for 2018, for sure. Still, I mean, I'm just trying to focus on every match, trying to learn from every single match," Kerber said.

"Being now in the semis again here, it's really a good feeling, especially that I had the goal, like, to have a lot of matches before going Melbourne.

"So far it works, and hopefully I can have two other ones."

Her next assignment is against Italian qualifier Camila Girorgi, whose dream run continued with a 6-1, 6-2 demolition of Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska.

This story Barty party continues at Sydney International first appeared on Brisbane Times.