Barty powers into Australian Open final

Australia's Ashleigh Barty hits a return during the Australian Open semi-final against Madison Keys. Martin Keep/AFP via Getty Images

Ash Barty has delivered another serving masterclass to sweep past Madison Keys in straight sets and become the first home hope to reach the Australian Open women's singles final in 42 years.

The world No.1 and dual grand slam champion crushed Keys 6-1 6-3 in 62 minutes on Thursday night to bury the demons of her shattering 2020 semi-final defeat to fellow American Sofia Kenin.

Barty is the first Australian to make the women's Open title match since Wendy Turnbull in 1980.

The 25-year-old's last hurdle in her quest to become the first local Open singles champion since Chris O'Neil in 1978 will be either Poland's 2020 French Open champion Iga Swiatek or American world No.30 Danielle Collins on Saturday night.

"It is unreal. Honestly, it is just incredible," Barty said.

"I love this tournament, love coming out here and playing in Australia and, as an Aussie, we are exceptionally spoiled that we are a grand slam nation (and) we get to play in our backyard and I am just happy that I get to play my best tennis here.

"I enjoy it, I've done well before and now we have a chance to play for a title. It's unreal."

And the top seed can once again thank her imperious serve for setting up the 10th victory of her glorious unbeaten summer.

Incredibly, Barty has dropped only one of her past 82 service games since her opening match of the year against Coco Gauff in Adelaide almost four weeks ago.

She is yet to drop a set this tournament and has conceded just 21 games in 12 near-flawless matches.

Barty made a flying start to Thursday's historic first women's night-time semi-final, producing a brilliant running forehand pass to break Keys in the opening game.

She typically had no such troubles on her serve, rocketing down an ace on her very first delivery of the match and holding to love for a 2-0 lead.

The Wimbledon champion broke Keys for a second time in the fifth game, then a third time in the seventh game on the way to wrapping up the first set in 27 minutes.

Contesting her fourth grand slam semi-final, and second in Australia, Keys, the 2017 US Open runner-up, offered more resistance in the second set.

But there was no denying Barty as the hot title favourite repeated her 2019 French Open quarter-final triumph over the big-hitting American en route to her maiden grand slam title in Paris.

"The conditions were really different tonight. It was humid, a little bit slower and the balls were a bit heavier off the strings," Barty said.

"I just tried to run and adapt and try and make as many balls as I could and keep Maddie under the pump and hold my serve.

"She's really got the ability to take it away from you really quickly without you even realising."

Barty isn't fussed who she plays out of Swiatek and Collins in the final.

"Both are a little bit different in how they play, both fighters and scrappers, and that's why they're in the business end of the tournament," she said.

"We'll just keep doing our things, our routines, I'll come out on Saturday, enjoy it with a massive smile on my face and see what happens."