Pressure ‘Irrelevant’ For Ash Barty As She Aims To Inspire Others - UBITENNIS
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Pressure ‘Irrelevant’ For Ash Barty As She Aims To Inspire Others

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photo by Roberto Dell'Olivo

WIMBLEDON: This time last year Ash Barty was the 17th seed at Wimbledon and yet to play in a grand slam final. Now she is a world No.1 bidding to add to her French Open title.

 

The past few months have been a dream come true for the Australian, who once took a break from the sport and briefly pursued a career in cricket. After her first round win over Saisai Zheng on Tuesday, she has now won 37 matches this year. More than any other player on the WTA Tour. She is now the leader of the women’s pack with the media spotlight firmly on her. Not that she is fazed by this in any way.

“I think for me it’s a little bit irrelevant. The only pressure I have is what I put on myself, making sure I’m doing all the right things, preparing in the right way.” Said Barty.
“Ultimately when we play our matches, we go out there and enjoy it. That’s why we do all the work, all the practices, to go out there and enjoy competing.”

It is not the first time the Australian has been burdened by huge expectations from others. Eight years ago she won the Wimbledon girls title at the age of 15 and was tipped to become the next big thing. Something that paid a major role in her hiatus from the sport between 2015-2016.

Now older and wiser, Barty isn’t just concerned about herself. It is also how others perceive her. As the world No.1, some would expect her to become an example for other players to follow. A challenge Barty is ready to take on.

“I think I try and be a role model by just setting an example when I play. I don’t try to do anything extra. If I can make a difference in one person’s life, it would be incredible.” She said.
“For me, it’s just about trying to go about my business the right way. I’m very lucky to have family, my parents, in particular, brought me up in a very respectful and certain way. I try to live by that every single day regardless of whether I’m on the tennis court or just living my everyday life.”

It is possible that Barty could achieve glory in both the singles and doubles at Wimbledon after teaming up with Victoria Azarenka. Last year she won the US Open women’s doubles title with Coco Vandeweghe and has been ranked as high as fifth in the discipline. The question is why play so much tennis when you’re a frontrunner for claim one of the biggest titles in the sport?

“I’ve always tried to play doubles when I can. For me, it keeps in a routine of playing matches.” She explains.
“If the schedule kind of works in your favor, you can go day on/day off with singles and doubles.’
“Playing competition is why we play this sport. It’s much more fun than being out on the practice court.”

Barty will play Alison Van Uytvanck in the second round.

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Simona Halep eases through her first final of the season in Dubai

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Simona Halep cruised past US qualifier Jennifer Brady 6-2 6-0 after just 62 minutes to reach her first final of the season at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

 

Halep saved the only two break points she faced and hit 16 winners to 8 unforced errors. Halep earned an early break in the opening game before saving two break points to hold serve for 2-0. The 2019 Wimbledon player went up a double break and held serve to race out to a 5-1 lead. Brady hit a backhand winner to win her service game for 5-2. Halep wrapped up the first set on her first set point in the next game.

Halep went up an early break in the first game of the second set. She hit a forehand winner on her third break point to race out to a 3-0 lead. Halep earned her third consecutive break in the fifth game for 5-0. Halep earned a match point with a backhand winner and sealed the win after a backhand error from Brady. Halep set up a final against Elena Rybakina, who beat Petra Martic 7-6 7-6.

“It felt much better than previous matches. I played really well. Everything went in my side. I felt the ball great. I feel like I played the best match since I came here. It’s amazing what Rybakina has done already this year”, said Halep.

 

 

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Elena Rybakina saves a set point in each set to overcome Petra Martic in Dubai semifinal

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Elena Rybakina came back from a break down and saved a set point in each set to overcome Petra Martic 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-2) after 2 hours and 11 minutes reaching her fourth final this season at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

 

Rybakina has won 19 of her first 22 matches this season. She lost in Shenzhen before clinching her first title of her title in Hobart. She lost to Ashleigh Barty in the third round at the Australian Open. She advanced to her third final of the 2020 season in St. Petersburg before losing to Kiki Bertens.

Rybakina has won 19 of her first 22 matches this season. She lost in Shenzhen before clinching her first title of her title in Hobart. She lost to Ashleigh Barty in the third round at the Australian Open. She advanced to her third final of the 2020 season in St. Petersburg before losing to Kiki Bertens.

Rybakina has reached the sixth final of her career and her second at Premier level. She won two titles in Bucarest and Hobart and finished runner-up in Nanchang, Shenzhen and St. Petersburg. Earlier this week the Kazakh player beat two top ten players Sofia Kenin and Karolina Pliskova before beating Petra Martic in three hard-fought sets in the semifinal. Rybakina hit 32 winners to 23 unforced errors.

The opening set started with three consecutive breaks. Martic broke twice and maintained her lead until 5-4. Rybakina broke back in the 10th game to draw level to 5-5 to force the first set to the tie-break.

Rybakina saved a set point with a forehand pass to draw level to 5-5, as she was serving for the set. Rybakina built up a 6-2 lead. Martic saved three chances but Rybakina sealed her fourth set point with a volley at the net.

Martic earned an early break to open up a 3-0 lead. Rybakina saved a point to trail a double break at 0-4. Rybakina broke back in the seventh game, as Martic netted a dropshot. Both players saved break points in the final three games at deuce. Rybakina was just two points from losing the set, while she was serving at 4-5. Rybakina saved a set point at 5-6 with backhand winners forcing the second set to the tie-break.

Rybakina raced out to a 6-1 lead in the tie-break and sealed the win on her second match points with a backhand.

“I have to adjust because everything is new to me. It is always great to beat a player from the top 5  I alway try to do my best and want to win every match. I was focusing on on what I had to do”, said Rybakina.

 

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Elena Rybakina comes back from one set down against Karolina Pliskova to reach her fourth semifinal of the year in Dubai

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Elena Rybakina came back from a break down in the opening set to beat Karolina Pliskova 7-6 (7-1) 6-3 reaching the semifinal at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

 

Rybakina has qualified for her fourth semifinal this season. She opened the year with the final in Shenzhen followed by a title in Hobart. After losing to Ashleigh Barty in the third round at the Australian Open, the Kazakh player finished runner-up to Kiki Bertens in the final in St. Petersburg.

Rybakina hit 33 winners (including 11 aces) to 20 unforced errors and saved 10 of the 11 break points she faced.

Pliskova fended off a break point in the opening game of the first set before breaking serve in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead after a pair of double faults from Rybakina.

Rybakina broke straight back in the seventh game with forehand return winners. The Kazakh player missed a break point at 4-4, but she held her serve in the 12th game with three consecutive aces to force the first set to the tie-break. Rybakina raced out to a 6-0 lead in the tie-break and sealed the tie-break on her second set point 7-1.

Rybakina broke serve in the second game to open up a 4-1 lead. She had to overcome a total of eleven deuces and saved six break points in her first three service games. She held serve for 1-0 with three consecutive service winners and hit a backhand crosscourt winner in the third game and a forehand down the line down break point in the fifth game.

Rybakina earned her first break in the second game of the second set to open up a 2-0 lead after a double fault from Pliskova.

Pliskova saved three break points in the sixth game to hold serve for 2-4. Rybakina held serve at deuce to take a 5-2 lead and rallied from 0-30 down to serve out the win.

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