World No. 1 Ash Barty will complete her Australian Open preparation by facing Garbine Muguruza after the Spaniard cruised into the final of the Yarra Valley Classic.
Muguruza was dominant from the outset in Saturday’s semi-final, thumping Czech Marketa Vondrousova 6-1, 6-0.
The 2020 Australian Open finalist said she would relish the opportunity to face Barty ahead of their respective Melbourne Park campaigns.
“It’s always good to play the top players – especially the No. 1 right now,” Muguruza said post-match.
“We’ve had tough matches so I’m expecting another battle.”
Barty had a walkover to the tournament decider after Serena Williams pulled out of their semi-final, citing a shoulder injury.
Earlier on Saturday, Australian Open favourite Naomi Osaka withdrew from her Gippsland Trophy semi-final against Elise Mertens, citing the need to manage a niggling shoulder injury ahead of her Open campaign.
As a result, Mertens has a walkover to the final of the Gippsland Trophy, where she will face Kaia Kanepi, who beat Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-3, 7-6, (8-6) in the other semi-final.
Meanwhile, Greece’s Maria Sakkari ousted Angelique Kerber 6-4, 6-2 to reach the semi-final of the Grampians Trophy.
Sakkari relished the support of the crowd, helping her recover from trailing 4-1 in the first set.
“I have my Greeks here, which feels great,” Sakkari said post-match.
“That’s the first thing I’m looking forward to when I come to Australia, so it was great.”
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“… Funnily enough, this is my home tournament.
“I don’t have a professional tournament back home, so … every time I come back to Australia, it feels like I’m at home.”
Sakkari will next face Anett Kontaveit – who progressed directly to the final four after Victoria Azarenka pulled out of their clash with a lower back issue – in the semi-final on Sunday.
On the other side of the draw, American Jennifer Brady beat Barbora Krejcikova 7-6, (7-5), 6-4 to line up a semi-final clash with countrywoman Ann Li, who cruised past Sorana Cirstea 6-3, 6-1.
The two semi-finals will be the last matches of the Grampians Trophy – a tournament created for players whose preparations were affected by being put in a 14-day hard hotel quarantine.
The WTA confirmed the final will not be played due to the tournament’s delayed start.