Mutua Madrid Open: Ashleigh Barty beats Iga Swiatek to win battle of RG champions

The heavily-anticipated match between Ashleigh Barty and Iga Swiatek at the Mutua Madrid Open was decided in favour of the former on Monday. The world no. 1, the 2019 French Open titlist, clinched a 7-5, 6-4 win over the Pole, the defending champion in Paris, in an hour and 41 minutes.

Although both players didn’t concede an inch in the initial moments of play, Barty’s problem-solving acumen allowed her to dictate play as the match progressed. In her post-match conference, Barty spoke about the proceedings and about enjoying playing against Swiatek.

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“I think probably the first half an hour was a bit of an adjustment period for both of us. I think it took me some time to get used to Iga’s weight of shot. Obviously, we had a game plan going into it, but I had to adjust that and had to kind of learn on the fly a little bit. It took me some time to get used to that and kind of nut down what I really wanted to do out there. Once I was able to do that, I became a lot clearer and was able to control the match a little bit more the way that I wanted to,” Barty said.

“I really enjoyed myself out there tonight. I enjoyed the challenge. Iga’s game is exceptional. It’s really, really impressive. I love testing myself and trying to figure out the puzzle tonight and the challenges that she created for me. I love the way that she plays. I love the way she takes the game on. She plays without fear. I think the way she controls the court, has the ability to move and neutralize from a defensive position is very, very impressive.”

In the quarter-final, Barty will play ninth seed Petra Kvitova. Kvitova outlasted Veronika Kudermetova 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 in two hours and a minute.

The other quarter-final in the top half of the Mutua Madrid Open will be played between eighth seed Belinda Bencic and Paula Badosa. Bencic advanced to the last-eight after her third-round opponent Ons Jabeur retired mid-match with a leg injury. The Swiss was leading 7-6(2), 4-3 at the time of the Tunisian’s retirement. Badosa, meanwhile, mounted a comeback to defeat Anastasija Sevastova 6-7(0), 7-6(3), 6-0.

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