Australian Open: Ashleigh Barty focusing on semi-final not making history .

World number one Ashleigh Barty is not being swept away with growing public excitement as she bids to become the first home woman to reach the Australian Open final in 40 years.


Barty, 23, faces American Sofia Kenin in the semi-finals on Thursday.

Romanian fourth seed Simona Halep and Spain’s Garbine Muguruza meet in the other last-four match.

“Obviously it’s exciting. But I don’t pay attention to it, honestly,” French Open champion Barty said.

“I’m here to try and do the best that I can. Hopefully I can bring a smile to a few faces around our country and around the world.”

Barty, who took a break from tennis in 2014 to pursue a professional cricket career, won her first Grand Slam on the Roland Garros clay last June.

Now she has reached the semi-finals at Melbourne Park for the first time after beating Czech seventh seed Petra Kvitova, who won their quarter-final last year, on Tuesday.

The Queenslander is the first Australian woman to reach the last four since Wendy Turnbull in 1984 and now bids to end the long wait since Turnbull in 1980 by reaching the final.

Ultimately she is aiming to emulate Chris O’Neil – the last Australian to win a singles title in 1978 – by winning the trophy.

“This is a new experience for me,” Barty said. “I’m just going to try and take it in my stride, learn as much as I can and go from there.”


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