Ash Barty is making a very strong case that she should be the favorite at the US Open. The world No. 1 rolled into her first Cincinnati Masters final breezing past Angelique Kerber 6-2, 7-5 to improve to 6-0 in semifinals in 2021.
The two had met a month ago in the Wimbledon semifinals and this meeting was virtually no different with Barty coming out in straight sets.
“I didn’t feel like I did a lot wrong. In the games at 2-0 and 2-1, I felt the overhead, the ball just kept coming and kept coming with the wind and I got a little bit stuck under it,” said Barty who finished with 12 aces. “Angie came up with some really good stuff and tough points through that period. Even the same, at 2-2, I felt like I was able to set up points well and then missed the execution with the last little bit.
“That was frustrating me, because I knew that Angie was lifting and I needed to go with her, and not being able to execute the points when I had set them up the way that I wanted to was frustrating. Being able to get that momentum back with the break straight away, then it was a bit of a tug of war. I felt like I was able to build pressure on Angie’s games, but we both did a good job of getting out of some tough holds late in that second set.
Barty, who hasn’t dropped a set, is the first Australian woman to reach the Cincinnati final Evonne Goolagong in 1973.
In the final, it won’t be Karolina Pliskova. The former No. 1 couldn’t set-up the Wimbledon rematch as wildcard Jil Teichmann played spoiler stunning the Czech 6-2, 6-4.
The 76th-ranked Teichmann has wins this week over Naomi Osaka, Belinda Bencic and now Pliskova.
Barty is playing in her 19th career final and sixth of 2021. She’s looking for her 13th career title. She’s won six of her last seven finals and will be heavily favored against the lefty tomorrow. She had lost five of her last six coming into the event!
“I think I served really good, as did she,” said Teichmann who finished with eight aces to Pliskova’s four. “Especially in the beginning, I was trying to return, somehow get into the rally. I felt as well very good in the rally, and I think that’s where I made the difference.”
“I have been working a lot on many different aspects,” Teichmann added. “Mentally I have been working my strokes. I have been working physically, as I mentioned already the past few days. I have had injuries, so I had to work a lot physically, as well. Long weeks, long hours. I guess just the positives getting together right now this week.”
The Swiss is now 4-0 against Top 10s as she bids for a third career title.
“To me, it’s perfect,” Teichmann added. “Playing Center Court against World No.1 in a final, it’s perfect. It’s a really nice challenge, and I’ll go for it.”
Teichmann and Barty have never played, and the underdog will have the belief of what Camila Giorgi pulled off last week in her stunning Canadian Open run.
“I don’t know Jil a lot,” Barty said. “I have seen bits and pieces. I know she’s got the ability to move and run and defend. She’s got a great slice backhand, and she’s got variety off her forehand. She can flatten it out if she wants to or she can flip it up and change the tempo of the match.”
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