Barty puts teen away, faces another in final

PARIS • Ashleigh Barty was 5-0 up in the first set of her French Open semi-final against Amanda Anisimova. She lost it.

Anisimova was up 3-0 in the second set. She lost it.

Such was the topsy-turvy nature of yesterday's match, played in front of a sparse crowd whose numbers were depressed by windy, showery conditions on the second-ranked Suzanne Lenglen court.

The two women's semi-finals were moved from the showpiece Court Philippe Chatrier, leading to accusations of sexism.

In the end, Barty's heavy forehand was simply too much for the 17-year-old American, who had smashed her way to the last four in her domination of defending champion Simona Halep on Tuesday.

Barty, who once gave up tennis for cricket, pulled away for a 6-7 (4-7), 6-3, 6-3 win. In an upset-filled Grand Slam, she will face fellow major final debutante, the Czech Marketa Vondrousova, 19, who beat Johanna Konta 7-5, 7-6 (7-2).

Ashleigh Barty overcomes a first-set collapse to sweep aside American teenager Amanda Anisimova in three sets yesterday. She will meet Czech Marketa Vondrousova in today's final.
Ashleigh Barty overcomes a first-set collapse to sweep aside American teenager Amanda Anisimova in three sets yesterday. She will meet Czech Marketa Vondrousova in today's final. PHOTO: REUTERS

"I fought my hardest, it's just incredible," said eighth seed Barty, the first Australian woman to reach a final in Paris since Sam Stosur in 2010. "I went away from what was working but I am proud of the way I fought and found a way back into that match. It was cold, windy, very tough for the both of us.

"It's incredible, it's an amazing journey that I've been on. I can't wait to see what happens."

The 23-year-old has already made the quarter-finals of her home Slam in January and won her biggest title a little later at the Miami Masters. She will move to world No. 3 - and even No. 2 if she becomes the first Australian woman to lift the Suzanne Lenglen Cup since Margaret Court in 1973.

Her opponent today, the unseeded Vondrousova, lost the first 10 points. But the left-hander had more guile than the more powerful Briton Konta, whose 41 unforced errors proved costly in the end.

Konta, 28, had no regrets despite squandering leads in both sets. The 26th seed, who had never won a match in Paris before this year, said: "It's hard to lose any match like this but my opponent played well and I'm proud of how I played."

Vondrousova can become the first Czech to win the French Open since Hana Mandlikova in 1981. The last teenager to reach the final, Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko, 19, upset third seed Halep in 2017.

"It was a very tough match today, I'm glad I did not get nervous. I'm totally happy," said the world No. 38, who has yet to drop a set, including against 12th seed Anastasija Sevastova.

WASHINGTON POST, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 08, 2019, with the headline 'Barty puts teen away, faces another in final'. Print Edition | Subscribe