Ashleigh Barty will enter the Top 50 in the rankings for the first time in her career after defeating 16th seed Elena Vesnina in three sets at the Rogers Cup for just her second win over a Top 20 player. This impressive win brings the Australian into the third round where she would face the in-form Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza, a repeat of their Birmingham clash earlier this year.
Barty steals the first set with pivotal break of serve
Both players were equally as strong and powerful on their serves, and neither looked like they were going to give in as they looked invincible while serving. It was an incredible serving display from both Vesnina and Barty, but the Russian first had the golden opportunity to make the first breakthrough in the match.
She was able to get to deuce twice but the Australian came up with some great serving to remain on serve. Unexpectedly, the first breakthrough went in the youngster’s favor as Vesnina failed to put in consistent first serves, committing a couple of unforced errors as Barty took the lead. With neither able to make any impact in their return games next, Barty eventually served out the set 6-3 after 33 minutes of play.
Vesnina steals the second set
After an exchange of service holds, it was Barty who almost managed to earn a break point in the third game when she got to deuce and threatened to lead by a set and a break. However, the mental toughness of the BNP Paribas Open steered her to a narrow service hold and allowed her to remain in contention for the win. The hold looked to have boosted her confidence as she came up with some constructive returns in the next game, with a backhand error on Vesnina’s first break point sealing the break and allowing the Russian to open up a 3-1 lead.
The 16th seed originally had the golden opportunity to extend her advantage when she led 30-0 but failed to consolidate the break as she produced some redundant unforced errors at the most crucial moments, allowing Barty to break straight back and return on serve. Vesnina held firm and fended off a break point in the seventh game where the Australian could have converted and led by a set and a break.
Nevertheless, Vesnina was determined to send the match into a deciding set and produced an impressive serving display. Serving to stay in the set at 5-6 down, the pressure seemed to have gotten to Barty as she started to misfire, allowing Vesnina to pounce on the opportunity and convert her second set point, sealing the second set 7-5 out of nowhere.
Barty overcomes early deficit to triumph
Vesnina had the perfect start to the final set as she came up with a comfortable service hold to carry over the momentum from the second set. Barty found herself in deep trouble when she lost her serve in the second game, and she failed to find her range as the Russian strolled to an early 2-0 lead, looking poised for the victory. Surprisingly, the Australian saved a game point before breaking straight back out of nowhere to return level on serve, frustrating Vesnina with her solid and consistent groundstrokes.
It remained a serve-dominated contest until the pivotal ninth game when the Russian was serving. Serving at 4-4 30-30, Vesnina threw in a double fault to gift Barty a match-deciding break point for an opportunity to serve out the match. Another error by the world number 17 saw the youngster take advantage and break serve, placing herself just one game away from the win. Without facing any problems, Barty successfully served out the upset to love, sealing a place in the third round for the first time in her career.