What a good show for 20 Euros! Due to the washout on Wednesday, Roland Garros women’s semifinals have been confined to Court Suzanne Lenglen and Simonne Mathieu for the viewing pleasure of ground ticket holders. The match between Ahsleigh Barty and Amanda Anisimova on Lenglen was a synopsis of everything good women’s tennis can offer: great shotmaking, power, finesse and a lot of drama. Barty ended up getting the win of this topsy-turvy event after recovering a one set and 0-3 deficit.
The start was a dream for Barty: focused, hitting the ball like it happens only in heaven, the Aussie took full advantage of the teenage jitters by Anisimova to run away in the score: 16 points to 1 in nine minutes for a 4-0 lead, 20-3 for the 5-0 in 14 minutes.
After two set points canceled to avoid a bagel in a bliss of 15 minutes, Anisimova benefited from a curious hiccup by Barty: while running after a drop shot, her right foot got stuck in the wet clay during a slide attempt, causing her to stumble and put the integrity of her ankle in some danger. That simple episode broke the magic of an unable-to-miss Barty who saw a few of her shots miss the court by a whisker and conceded one of the two breaks of advantage back.
That’s when a new match started: striking the ball with newly found vigor, Anisimova started leading the rallies with her brilliant cross-court drives to come back, game after game, until she was in a position to serve for the set at 6-5 having won six games in a row. No set-points, however, came for her in that game, as she allowed her opponent back to 6-6 with some shaky unforced errors that cost her a break and a warning for a smashed racquet.
The subsequent tie-break was dominated by errors and nerves: an elusive 4-2 lead by Barty turned into a 7-4 win by Anisimova in 46 minutes.
As the first raindrops of the afternoon started falling from an ominously black sky, Barty found herself with the daunting task to overcome the thought of having lost a set where she was leading 5-0 40-15. The price to pay was a 17-point streak by Anisimova that sent the teenager up 3-0 in the second set in less than 10 minutes. But as an ant starting to rebuild its nest after it has been thumped over by a giant, Barty started to string her slices together again, with deeper trajectories and a more consistent top spin forehands to provoke the errors that eventually came from Anisimova. Six games in a row, and after 73 minutes the match was squared at one set all.
Barty held the first game of the decider in a 10-minute 14-point game filled with great shots and an almost tearful Anisimova, who managed to get an early break two games later through a masterful use of her backhand drop-shot. But her lead was short-lived: as strengthening rain and wind were hitting Court Suzanne Lenglen (Storm Marcus was arriving in Paris with forecasted gusts of up to 120 km/h), Barty broke back immediately with a splendid cross-court forehand and went on to win four games in a row for a 5-2 lead. Anisimova refused defeat at first as she recovered from 0-40 deficit erasing three match points, but Barty promptly held her serve at 15 in the following game to close the match 6-7(4) 6-3 6-3 after one hours, 53 minutes.
Barty reaches her first Grand Slam final, improving her record for the year to 32-6 and will face on Saturday teenager Marketa Vondrousova, whom she has beaten twice in two previous matches.
Why Newly Married Elina Svitolina Has No Plans To Change Her Surname
The Ukrainian explains why she isn’t using her husband’s surname of Monfils just yet as she books her place in the third round at Tokyo 2020.
Just over a week ago Elina Svitolina tied the knot with her long-time partner Gael Monfils at a ceremony in Geneva, Switzerland.
Shortly after the world No.6 took to social media and changed her name on Twitter to Elina Monfils as part of the tradition that the woman takes on the man’s name once they are married. As a consequence, various websites started to identify the Ukrainian under that name. Although she would rather that they don’t do such a thing.
“I don’t know why they changed my surname. Maybe they saw that I had changed it on my social networks,” Svitolina told BTU.
“I’m going to play as Svitolina till the very end of my professional career and will change it only after retirement.”
Svitolina explains she believes it is better if all of her achievements are made under the same name instead of two. So far in her career she has won 15 WTA titles, reached two Grand Slam semi-finals and has earned more than $20.5M in prize money.
“I had numerous achievements and people know me as Svitolina. My father would be upset if I changed the surname and played as Monfils,” she joked.
“I am proud to be Svitolina and my tennis career will always be connected with this surname.”
Over the coming week the 26-year-old is hoping to add an Olympic medal to her resume. On Monday Svitolina survived a stern scare after coming back from a set down to defeat Ajla Tomljanović 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 and move into the third round of the tournament. Her win came on the day where there were shocks galore in the women’s draw with seeds Aryna Sabalenka, Iga Swiatek and Petra Kvitova all crashing out.
Svitolina will play Greece’s Maria Sakkari in the next round whom she has lost to in two out of their three previous meetings.
Why Ash Barty Isn’t Staying At The Olympic Village In Tokyo
The two-time Grand Slam champion has opted to stay at an alternate venue heading into the Games.
Ash Barty will prepare for her debut at the Olympic Games by staying at a base located outside of the athletes village as part of her ‘performance plan.’
The world No.1 heads into Tokyo as one of the favourites for gold following her triumph at Wimbledon where she defeated Karolina Pliskova in the final. She is one of six top 10 players set to play in the women’s singles tournament which will start on Saturday.
Leading up to the Games, the head of the Australian Olympic delegation has told reporters that Barty’s decision not to stay in the village will enhance her gold medal chances. In previous Games athletes have stayed outside of the villages but this year it is more challenging to do so due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Tokyo is currently in a state of emergency and fans are banned from attending the event amid fears of the virus spreading if they do so.
“Ash is staying elsewhere,” chef de mission Ian Chesterman told the Australian Associated Press.
“We have a number of athletes staying outside the village. We allow that, it’s just what works best for them.
“Something I’ve always been very big on is driving performance takes a whole lot of flexible decisions, flexible options.
“In terms of her performance plan, it’s best served by her being able to control her environment and we respect that.”
The exact location of Barty’s base has not been disclosed but it is near to the village where she was said to have visited and had a cup of coffee on Tuesday morning.
“She is staying in an Australian environment where she can still easily access the village,” Chesterman stated.
The 25-year-old is bidding to become only the second Australian in history to win a medal in the women’s singles at the Olympics. The first was Alicia Molik who claimed a bronze medal back in 2004.
During a recent interview with The ITF, Barty said playing at the event is a dream come true for her as she describes representing her country as the ‘highest honour.’
“Being an Olympian has always been a dream of mine as a kid, I think representing your country is the highest honour,” Barty told the ITF.
“For an Aussie it’s the best thing you can do and I can’t wait to have an opportunity to wear the green and gold.
“You’re playing for something bigger than yourself. You’re playing to represent your nation. You’re playing to make people proud and that’s not just with results it’s with your attitude.”
Bianca Andreescu pulls out of Tokyo Olympics
The world number five has officially pulled out of the Olympics in Tokyo stating reasons due to the ongoing pandemic situation.
Bianca Andreescu will not be making the trip to Tokyo to play in the Olympics after withdrawing due to the current pandemic situation.
The former US Open champion issued a statement concerning what she describes as a ‘difficult decision.’ Andreescu is the latest top name to pull out of the Olympics. Last week Nick Kyrgios also said he wouldn’t be playing for similar reasons. Due to a a surge of COVID-19 cases in Tokyo, the city has gone into a state of emergency which prompted organisers to ban spectators from attending Olympic events in the city. Athletes will be subjected to tough restrictions during their time at the event, as well as regular testing.
” I would like to inform you that I have made the very difficult decision to not play in the Tokyo Olympics later this month,” Andreescu wrote on Instagram. “I have been dreaming of representing Canada at the Olympics since I was a little girl but with all the challenges we are facing as it relates to the pandemic, I know that deep in my heart, this is the right decision to make for myself. I look forward to representing Canada in future Fed Cup ties, and competing at the 2024 Olympics in Paris! “
The Canadian hasn’t played since losing in the first round of Wimbledon to Alize Cornet of France and most recently split with her coach Sylvain Brunneau after a four-year partnership.
Her 2021 season has been up and down starting in Australia where she lost in the second round before making the semifinals at the Phillips Island Trophy event. She then made the final at the Miami Open before taking a fall in the final against Ash Barty and was forced to retire due to injury.
Then the clay-court season came and Andreescu tested positive for Covid. She was forced to miss events in Madrid and Rome, so she headed to Strasbourg for some preparation before the French Open. The world No.5 won two matches in Strasbourg before pulling out due to an ab injury. She then lost in the first round of the French Open.
The Canadian moved on to the grass-court season heading to Berlin but again would get upset in the first round by Alize Cornet before winning one round in Eastbourne and losing to Anett Kontaveit.
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