Monday, 06 July, 2020

Ashleigh Barty ends Australias 46-year wait for French Open title

Cary Erickson | 09 June, 2019, 11:23

"They accepted me, and they got to know Ash Barty".

The 23-year-old will rise to second in the world behind only Naomi Osaka when the latest rankings are released next week, after becoming the first Australian victor at Roland Garros since Margaret Court won the last of her five trophies in 1973.

The Exchange market thinks Barty has an edge, pricing her up at [1.64], and I'm inclined to agree with the market lines - I don't think there's any pre-match value here.

Barty hadn't even been past the fourth round in her first 17 Slam appearances before getting to the quarterfinals in front of a supportive home crowd at the Australian Open in January.

The 19-year-old Vondrousova saw her bid to become the first teenage Grand Slam champion since Maria Sharapova won the 2006 US Open come to a tame end, as the world number 38 made 22 unforced errors, against a mere 10 winners.

Eighth seed Barty got off to a strong start and never looked back, winning 6-1, 6-3 after only 70 minutes to claim her maiden Grand Slam title.

Hanging around for an hour and a half while the delayed men's semi-final between Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem was completed would hardly have helped either of their nerves.

The time out from tennis seems to have done her some good, with her ranking going in the right direction since her stint with the bat and ball.

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However, it's 25-year-old Austrian fourth seed Thiem who goes on to face Nadal where he will be buoyed by having defeated the 17-time major victor four times on clay in his career.

I have little doubt that commentators will discuss the head to head record between the duo, which Barty leads 2-0, both in straight sets, but there really isn't any relevance to the match-up here.

After the U.S. Open five years ago, Barty walked away from professional tennis. "She wanted to reassess her life. For someone to be able to step back in and play at the level she has after three years out is pretty wonderful".

"It's been a magical two weeks", Barty said. It's been the most fantastic journey we've been on the last three years.

She described the game as a "perfect match" and called her two weeks of competition in France "crazy".

The 38th-ranked Vondrousova was playing in only her ninth major tournament and this was her first trip beyond the fourth round.

Wasn't too tricky for Barty.

"Obviously, that's the next point, the next goal, the next situation I can see myself in", she said.