Ashleigh Barty is the world number one, the leader of the Race to Shenzhen and the only player with three titles so far this year. It is with these credentials that the Australian today confirmed her status as the hot favourite for the Mutua Madrid Open title, which she will battle for on Saturday. Barty proved a match too far for Spaniard Paula Badosa, the tournament’s surprise package, seeing her off 6-4, 6-3 in one hour and 16 minutes.
“She’s had a fantastic week here at home”, said Barty after the match. “I know it’s been a big tournament for her, she’s played an exceptional level of tennis. She served particularly well, being able to control the court with her forehand. I think that was a challenge today. I was trying to neutralize that as best I could. I think this is certainly going to be the first of many big tournaments and matches with her, particularly this year, without a doubt”.
? Barty is in the final
— #MMOPEN (@MutuaMadridOpen) May 6, 2021
Badosa had a mountain to climb. Although the Spaniard had beaten Barty in their only previous encounter in April, the Australian was coming into the tie without having lost a match on the red stuff in the entire European swing. In addition to this, she has produced some stunning service stats. In the last four rounds, Barty had taken 88.9% of games on her serve.
It was her delivery that proved the key to the match. Both players started off serving very well, but at 3-4, 30-30 in the first set, Badosa doubled faulted to produce the first break point of the encounter. The Catalonian picked herself up and rode the wave of public support to keep the match level. However, at 4-5 -having saved two set points- she served another double fault to give Barty the lead.
The world number 62 did not back down, and managed to break Barty’s serve no sooner had the second set begun; no mean feat. But the number one ramped up her game again to string together four consecutive games and fend off Badosa’s attempted comeback. The Spaniard must now say adios to Madrid after a brilliant #MMOPEN.
Did you know…?
Barty is looking to become the third women’s number one to win the Mutua Madrid Open crown. The first two were Dinara Safina (2009) and Serena Williams (2013).