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Barty reaches first Grand Slam singles final

8 June 2019

TENNIS: Ash Barty is through to her first Grand Slam singles final after a thrilling win over American teenager Amanda Anisimova at the French Open.

The 23-year-old from Queensland fought back from a set and 3-0 down in Friday’s semifinal, her all-court game eventually prevailing against the 17-year-old in a 6-7(4) 6-3 6-3 victory.

Barty is the first Australian player to reach a major singles final since Sam Stosur won the 2011 US Open.

She will face another teenager, Czech 19-year-old Marketa Vondrousova, on Saturday with the chance to become Australia’s first French Open singles champion since Margaret Court in 1973.

“That is the hardest thing I have ever had to do,” Barty said.

“I fought my hardest and it feels amazing. I am proud of the way I fought to win that match, the conditions were incredibly tough.

“It was cold and windy and I can’t wait to enjoy, it’s been an amazing journey I have been on and I can’t wait until tomorrow.”

The Australian made a lightning quick start, aggressive from the outset as she raced into a 5-0 lead, winning 17 of the opening 18 points.

Two set points went begging for a Barty love set, and it proved costly as Anisimova finally found a foothold in the contest and worked her way back into contention.

After Barty won the opening five games in 14 minutes, the pure-striking Anisimova took the next six in 18 minutes.

Barty managed to level at 6-6 and led 4-2 in the tiebreak, but a drop shot into the net saw her fall 4-5 down and the American converted the set after 46 minutes, raising her fists in triumph.

When Anisimova stretched her lead to 3-0 in the second set it appeared to be one-way traffic, only for Barty to rediscover her confidence – and her first serve – as she reeled off six straight games to level at one set all.

There was another early move from Anisimova in the decider but a break for 2-1 was the last time she would lead.

The combination of heavy slice and piercing forehands reasserted Barty’s dominance, and a 5-2 lead, although the Aussie would need six match points before finally seeing off the impressive Anisimova.

Barty will rise to third in the world rankings thanks to her run to the final, and victory on Saturday will see her reach No.2.

There was more good news for Australia as top seed Dylan Alcott beat Brazil’s Ymanitu Silva 6-1 6-2 to reach the quad wheelchair singles final.

He will face second David Wagner in the final after the American beat Japan’s Koji Sugeno 6-4 6-0.

Tennis Australia

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