Dellacqua confident Barty's prepared to battle for title
AUSSIE veteran Casey Dellacqua has no fear that her 16-year-old doubles partner, Queensland's Ashleigh Barty, is ready to win her first Grand Slam title in today's women's doubles final at Melbourne Park.
Not only are they the first wildcards to make the final since 2007, they are the first Australian women to achieve the feat since 1979.
Regardless of how they perform, Fed Cup captain Alicia Molik recognised the performance yesterday by naming the pair in the Australian team to take on the Czech Republic next month.
While most people have been surprised at the progression, Dellacqua said Barty's "fearlessness" had given her confidence.
"I think deep down we did (give ourselves a chance to make it this far), but we didn't know we did, if that makes sense," Dellacqua said.
"To be honest, of all the doubles players I have ever played with, I just know that Ash has got my back."
The left-right combination has been highly successful throughout the tournament, while Dellacqua's experience has blended perfectly with Barty's youthful exuberance.
"Casey's had so much experience," Barty said.
"So when the time comes, she can calm me down, and at other times, I can just say 'let's have a bit of fun here and give it a rip'".
The Aussies will take on top seeds Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci in the final which is the second match on Rod Laver Arena this afternoon.
The Italians won last year's French Open and US Open, and were runners-up at Wimbledon and in the London Olympics.
They have been in excellent form in Melbourne, but were beaten in the finals in both Brisbane and Sydney prior to the Australian Open.
US Open winner Andy Murray will take a 10-9 career record into tonight's semi-final against Swiss ace Roger Federer.
The Scot, who hasn't dropped a set in the tournament, has been on court for almost two hours less than Federer.
But Murray rejected any suggestion that he might be at a disadvantage because he had not yet faced a severe test, despite the fact Maria Sharapova was beaten after a similar lead-up to her semi-final yesterday.
"I can't be disappointed about being in the semis of a Slam without dropping a set," he said.
"That would be silly."
Federer agreed, saying, "I would rather be in his shoes".