Barty Ups Red Clay Streak To 15 After Kvitova Win At Madrid Masters; Thurs. SFs

by Staff | May 5th, 2021, 5:27 pm
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Ash Barty continues to win. The World No. 1 improved her almost-2 year win streak to 15 on the red clay after beating Petra Kvitova 6-1, 3-6, 6-3.

Kvitova was a 3-time Madrid champion and had beaten Barty in their last meeting, but on the clay the Australian held the advantage and stormed out early as the Czech was in a giving move in terms of errors.

Kvitova upped her level in the second but Barty was too strong in the end, winning her 10th straight against fellow Top 10 players.

“I think I started off particularly well, and I think Petra struggled to find the court a little bit,” said Barty. “I felt like she gave me a lot of cheapies, particularly in runs, two, three, four in a game, which is always hard to kind of readjust and kind of almost tactically keep doing what you’re doing, knowing that a lot of the times it was out of my hands.

“I think in the second set Petra served particularly well. I felt like she made a lot more first serves. Even the depth in the box on second serves she was able to get more one-two tennis, kind of what she likes.

“It was important for me to manufacture a break early in the third, just to break some momentum I think and try and find my way back in.”

Barty and Kvitova are now locked 5-apiece in their head-to-head. Kvitova, though, falls to just 1-9 in her last 10 against Top 10 players.

“I think Petra and I, we respect each other as tennis players, and, you know, I respect her immensely as a person,” Bartys said. “I love who she is as a person, and I think that we have — you know, on the court it’s more than just about the result. I think we love to compete, we love to test each other, we love to test ourselves. I think that brings in a really healthy kind of competition and relationship on the court that at the end of the day the result doesn’t always matter.”

In the Thursday semifinals, Barty will take on Spaniard surprise Paula Badosa. The 23-year-old Badosa earned her biggest career semifinal stunning Belinda Bencic 6-4, 7-5.

“It’s an amazing feeling,” said Badosa. “I didn’t expect this at all. Doing my first semifinals, my best result in my career in front of all my people, I couldn’t ask for anything else.

“I played quite a good match. I have to be honest, I was very nervous today because sometimes these matches are a little bit tricky when you played her two, three weeks ago and you think in your head that you have that opportunity to make a semifinals. I was quite nervous, but I’m quite happy that I could control all that nerves and I could play my game quite good.”

Badosa beat Bencic in Charleston and also Barty!

“She’s No. 1 in the world,” Badosa said of Barty. “She’s winning all the tournaments lately. I played her in Charleston. I expect a completely different match. She’s the No. 1 in the world. Now she knows me.

“As I say, No. 1 in the world, they don’t like to make mistakes two times in a row, so for sure I expect a tough match and completely different as Charleston.”

Aryna Sabalenka celebrated her 23rd birthday by reaching her semifinal overwhelming Elise Mertens leading 6-1, 4-0 when the Belgian retired with a leg injury. Sabalenka will take on Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. The Russian veteran is having one of her best weeks in quite a while beating Karolina Muchova in two breakers to reach her biggest semifinal in a decade.

“The beginning it was really tough to play against her, because she was using like high balls and mixing it with slice and then try to stay aggressive, so trying to kind of understand what she’s doing,” Sabalenka said. “As soon as I understand what she’s trying to do, I was kind of like stepping into the court and try to be, like, a little bit more aggressive and like going through the ball and tried to hit heavy shots.

“I think after first few games I would say I kind of destroy her a little bit, and she was overtrying sometimes and she start to miss a lot, and then something happened with her leg. I feel really sorry for this, and I hope that she will get better soon. Hopefully she will be ready for the next one for Rome.”

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