Czech eighth seed Petra Kvitova cruised past local hope Ashleigh Barty in straight sets to reach the Australian Open semi-finals on Tuesday.

Kvitova defeated 15th-seeded Barty 6-1, 6-4 to set up a final four clash with unseeded American Danielle Collins, who battled from a set behind to down Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and take her dream debut at the Australian Open into the semi-finals.

She beat world number 44 Pavlyuchenkova 2-6, 7-5, 6-1 in a see-sawing match.

The little-known 25-year-old, who has mostly played on the US college circuit, grabbed the tennis world’s attention with a 6-0, 6-2 drubbing of second seed Angelique Kerber in the fourth round.

“Thank you guys, I didn’t really imagine being back in this great stadium again to play with the best. It’s great,” said the 28-year-old left-hander, who was attacked in her home in the Czech Republic in late 2016.

Kvitova required extensive surgery after the burglar slashed her racquet hand, leaving her with permanent nerve damage, but she has put together one of the best winning streaks of her career this year.

She has 10 straight victories this year, claiming the Sydney International warm-up tournament and speeding to the Open final four without dropping a set.

She had already defeated Barty – the first Australian to make the quarter-finals at Melbourne Park in a decade – and was not intimidated by her opponent’s hometown support.

Kvitova hushed the crowd when she went up a break in the second game then held off a Barty to go up 3-0.

Barty had no answer to the power of Kvitova’s forehand return as the Czech repeatedly stepped in and cracked cross-court winners.

It took the Australian 17 minutes to get on the board, desperately holding serve to make it 3-1 as she searched for a way into the match. Kvitova gave her no openings, breaking again then serving it out 6-1 after 27 minutes.

Barty hit only two winners to 12 in the first set but did not panic, shrugging her shoulders nonchalantly at her box after conceding the set.

She held serve with an ace, energising the crowd but Kvitova responded with two of her own to fend off Barty’s first break point of the match.

A frustrated Barty tried a drop shot followed by a lob against Kvitova’s serve but nothing worked and Kvitova took a decisive break in the ninth game.

She was unable to repeat that sizzling form against Pavlyuchenkova but finished strongly in a feisty performance as her more experienced opponent wilted under pressure.

Collins, ranked 35 in the world, who has ousted three seeds on her way to the final four, said she was relishing playing on the big stage.

“Yeah it’s my first time to play on Rod Laver (Arena),” she said. “I didn’t even practice on here. It was quite the experience. I really love it.”

It was the fifth time Pavlyuchenkova, 27, has made a Grand Slam quarter-finals and the Russian has failed to advance every time. Collins had never won a match at a Grand Slam in five previous attempts but is on a Cinderella run at Melbourne Park.

Pavlyuchenkova started strongly and broke in the opening game when Collins fired a forehand into the net. The American fought desperately to get back on level terms in the next, attacking Pavlyuchenkova’s second serve to carve out five break chances over 17 minutes. But the Russian held on to make it 2-0, prompting Collins to smash her racquet to the ground in frustration.

The marathon game left her temporarily drained and Pavlyuchenkova took an easy break in the next, running away with the set after notching three breaks to one.

The American argued with the umpire over a disputed line call as Pavlyuchenkova served out the set in 49 minutes.

Collins remained vocal as she renewed her attack, yelling in triumph after securing a break in the fifth game and eventually forcing a deciding set with a cross-court forehand.

This time it was Pavlyuchenkova who was rattled, receiving a warning for time wasting as she tried to compose herself before going down a double break.

Collins raced to 5-0 and left Pavlyuchenkova floundering at the net with a lob to bring up match point.

The Russian survived but it only delayed the inevitable and Collins sealed the win after two hours 16 minutes.

With inputs from AFP