Ash Barty showed her class in a big Monday showdown against Iga Swiatek. In the battle of the last two French Open winners, it was Swiatek jumping out early 3-0 before Barty asserted her game and pulled away with a solid 7-5, 6-4 victory.
Swiatek had chances to level in the second but Barty stays so strong and so calm in the big moments.
“I was excited,” Barty said of facing Swiatek.
“I think probably the first half an hour was a bit of an adjustment period for both of us. I think it took me some time to get used to Iga’s weight of shot. Obviously we had a game plan going into it, but I had to adjust that and had to kind of learn on the fly a little bit.
“It took me some time to get used to that and kind of nut down what I really wanted to do out there. Once I was able to do that, I became a lot more clear and was able to control the match a little bit more the way that I wanted to.”
Barty has now won her last 14 matches on red clay and she snapped Swiatek’s 18-set win streak on the surface.
“I love the way that she plays,” Barty added. “I love the way she takes the game on. She plays without fear. I think the way she controls the court, has the ability to move and neutralize from defensive position is very, very impressive.”
Barty will now face 3-time Madrid champion Petra Kvitova on Wednesday. Kvitova had to tough out Veronika Kudermetova 6-3, 4-6, 6-4.
“I felt like it’s a bit like a men match today, about serving a lot,” Kvitova said. “Was just the one break in each set.
“I’m really glad I managed most of it mentally because it was pretty tough, especially in the third set when I have 40-15 down, Love-30 in the last game. So I’m really glad that the serve helped me in the end. I’m glad how we played, for sure. It was very nice tennis.”
Barty and Kvitova meet for a 10th time with the Czech up 5-4. But Barty has won four of their last five.
“I love to play Petra,” Barty said looking ahead. “I do. She brings out the best in me. I just said to Tyz that we’re going to be counting in Roman numerals the amount of times we’ve played. It’s another challenge, another test. She’s won this tournament multiple times, loves the conditions here. A fresh challenge for me.”
Belinda Bencic also advanced after Ons Jabeur retired down 7-6(2), 4-3 due to a thigh injury. She’ll now meet Spanish hope Paulo Badosa who topped Anastasija Sevastova 6-7, 7-6, 6-0.
“The first two sets were very close,” Badosa said. “It could go through one side or another one. But then the third set I knew I had to play very aggressive because I was quite tired. I was feeling a little bit with my legs super tight. I was having a little bit of problems with that.
“But I was going from, like, less to more in the match. I was feeling I was playing better in the third set. I started to be very, very aggressive, concentrated on the first two, three shots. I think that was a little bit the key of the third set.”
The quarterfinals wrap up tomorrow with Simona Halep taking off the steady Elise Mertens. Aryna Sabalenka, Jen Brady and Maria Sakkari are also in action.
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