Mutua Madrid Open: Ashleigh Barty marches to 2021’s 4th final; faces Aryna Sabalenka

Ashleigh Barty won her 16th match on the trot as she defeated Paula Badosa 6-4, 6-3 to reach the final of the Mutua Madrid Open. In doing so, the top-seeded Australian also avenged her loss to the Spaniard in Charleston, in April.

Barty finished the 75-minute encounter with 30 winners and 23 unforced errors.

Post-match, speaking about playing Badosa again, Barty said, “You have to learn from every game, every match you play against an opponent. I definitely learnt a lot from the match we played in Charleston. There was a small adjustment. I think just learning from some of her patterns, tendencies that came through and showed through in that match in Charleston. I think I was just able to control the court a little bit better. I was able to look after my service games a little bit better, build pressure on return games. That’s a massive part of it: not always winning points, but building pressure. Scoreboard pressure can be a big thing. That was a focus for me today.”

Mutua Madrid Open: Another day, another familiar opponent for Ashleigh Barty

In the final, Barty will play fifth seed Aryna Sabalenka in what will be a rematch of their final at the Stuttgart Open a couple of weeks ago.

In her semi-final, Sabalenka ousted Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-2, 6-3 in just 63 minutes. Throughout this week, the Belarusian hasn’t dropped a set and overall record on clay in the 2021 season stands at 9-1.

Talking about playing on clay and adapting to the surface in her press conference, Sabalenka shared, “I think my game has improved a lot on the clay court. For sure, it’s given me some confidence, but there’s still so many things to work on. I’m just really happy with my level here in Madrid.”

Finally, Sabalenka also spoke about facing Ashleigh Barty again – this time in the final at the Mutua Madrid Open. “Physically I have to be ready for this match. She’s No.1, she’s great. I played her in Stuttgart. It’s not an easy game. I will do everything I can to prepare myself as good as I can. Just looking forward for this battle,” Sabalenka said.

Leave a Reply