Barty party shut down by remorseless Kvitova
Three years after a stabbing almost ended her career, Petra Kvitova showed Ash Barty utterly no mercy to shunt the Queenslander out of the Australian Open.
In extraordinary form, Kvitova bludgeoned Barty into submission to steam into her maiden Melbourne Park semi-final, where she will face American Danielle Collins.
Tingling with emotion after returning to the semi-finals of a major for the first time since winning Wimbledon in 2014, Kvitova's raw emotion tempered Australian disappointment over Barty's loss.
Struggling for composure, she told Jim Courier: "No I didn't really imagine to be back on this great stadium and play.
Kvitova was attacked by an intruder in her Czech Republic apartment in 2016 and, such were the horrific nature of the injuries to her left hand, there were fears she might never play again.
Hence her emotion after snuffing out good friend Barty's challenge.
Striking the ball with incredible authority and timing, the dual Wimbledon champion allowed 15th seed Barty only fleeting chances.
With 25 winners and 24 unforced errors, world No 6 Kvitova enhanced her reputation as a free-flowing enforcer while restricting Barty to just eight winners.
The left-hander's withering, flat backhand was a weapon of mass destruction.
"First of all, I'm sorry guys, I beat Ashleigh," Kvitova said.
"She is such a nice person, you should be very proud of her.
"Great match. I start very well, I serve well.
"In the second set, she doesn't give me anything for free and I really had to fight."
Kvitova was simply flawless in the opening set as the rangy southpaw set out the rules of engagement.
Monstering anything short, she robbed Barty of time and rhythm - the twin staples of the Queenslander's beguiling game.
Pocketing two service breaks, the set and a ton of confidence after just 27 minutes, Kvitova appeared impregnable.
Barty's only chance was to improve her serving, and to hope Kvitova would start to miss. She was granted both wishes.
Undaunted by a time violation at 30-all in the eighth game for taking too long to serve, Kvitova ploughed on.
And when Barty succumbed to suffocating pressure in the following game by nudging a forehand long, Kvitova swept into the last four of a major for the first time in five long years.
Barty was hardly disgraced.
At 22, and contesting only her 18th major, she forged into uncharted territory at Melbourne Park by advancing to her first grand slam quarter-final.
With wins over Luksika Kumkhum, Yafan Wang, Maria Sakkari and Maria Sharapova, she has made further advances.
Her best, as those closest her believe, is still to come.
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