Eighth seed Ashleigh Barty progressed to her first Grand Slam singles final on Friday, with the Australian defeating unseeded American Amanda Anisimova in a wild three-set encounter to set up a meeting against Marketa Vondrousova tomorrow afternoon.
Barty, who was the highest ranked woman in the last four, has only dropped one set all tournament and looked to be in cruise control, dropping just one point in the first four games and storming to a 5-0 lead. However, Anisimova miraculously turned the set around, and the teenager was just three games away from reaching her maiden Grand Slam final as she stormed in front in the second set.
However, a few errors crept into Anisimova’s game, and Barty’s experience began to show. The Australian rallied to take the second set, and then once again came from a break down in the decider as she sealed a 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-3 in an hour and 53 minutes.
Barty edges past Anisimova in topsy-turvy encounter to reach final
Anisimova downed defending champion Simona Halep in the last eight, though looked a world away from that performance early on. Barty was too solid on serve and profited off several errors from the American, racing to a 5-0 lead, and holding two set points on Anisimova’s serve. However, the American came roaring back, taking six straight games but then failing to serve out the set. Despite that, she completed the comeback, controlling the tiebreak to go a set up.
After having been in complete control, Barty had been blown off the court for the rest of the first set, and Anisimova proved too strong as she broke early on and consolidated for a 3-0 lead in the second set. The Australian needed to react quickly, and she did just that, breaking back and levelling for 3-3. More errors had crept back into the teenager’s game, and Barty took advantage, breaking twice more as she forced a decider.
The start of the decider looked set to provide another momentum swing, with Anisimova breaking early on after having lost six straight games in the second set. However, much like in the previous set, Barty came back hard, breaking back and then breaking again as she stormed to a 5-2 lead. Anisimova was admirably able to save several match points to force the Australian to serve for it, though she faced little trouble in closing the match out.
It undeniably proved to be a much more tricky match than the first five games suggested it would be, though it was a strong performance from the eighth seed, and was a particularly gutsy one given the conditions and being a break down in both the second and third sets. She will arguably be the favorite against Vondrousova tomorrow, where win will see her win the title and reach second in the rankings.