Barty gets 'incredible' reward for new clay-court approach

Ashleigh Barty is enjoying her tennis at the French Open, reaching the semi-finals with a big win over Madison Keys on Thursday.

Ashleigh Barty is one of four French Open semifinalists chasing a first Grand Slam title after big names like Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka and Simona Halep bowed out.   -  Getty Images

Ashleigh Barty revealed that she has approached the 2019 clay-court season differently and believes that is the reason for her improved French Open results.

The eighth seed booked her place in the last four at Roland Garros on Thursday with a comfortable victory over Madison Keys. For Barty, a first major semifinal feels like reward for the way she has prepared for a stretch in which she is enjoying her tennis.

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"Oh, it's incredible. I felt for myself and my team, we have approached this clay-court season a little bit differently to others," she told a news conference.

"I've really enjoyed it and embraced it. And I've been playing some pretty good tennis.

"Ultimately, I feel like when I'm able to play my game style and my kind of tennis, I can match it with everyone regardless of what surface it's on.

"I'm super excited. And the fact that we're still here in the last few days is incredible."

Barty is one of four semifinalists chasing a first Grand Slam title after big names like Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka and Simona Halep bowed out.

But she insists that does not make her task any easier, explaining: "It's opened up in a seeding regard, but I think the other three girls in the semi-finals are playing incredible tennis.

"Even though it's a first time for a few of us, and Jo [Konta] has obviously had some exposure to semifinals before, you can't take absolutely anything away from them. They have played amazing tennis.

"Even though they don't have a seeding next to their name, that doesn't necessarily mean they're any less of a player. I think they have played an incredible tournament obviously to be in this position, and they're enjoying it.

"It's an opportunity for all four of us to go out there and try to continue that."

The Australian will play Amanda Anisimova and said of the 17-year-old's progress: "It's amazing. It's amazing for WTA tennis. I think the way that Amanda must have played - I didn't see it today - must have been incredible."

RELATED| Anisimova leads French Open quartet chasing first major title

After a disappointing defeat, Keys is already looking forward to Wimbledon.

"I think I'm going to go home, have a good little training block, get my legs really ready to stay low, as much as I love that," she said.

"Honestly, I think time on grass is so valuable just because it's such a different surface. Leading up to every other slam, we have weeks on that surface.

"So, it's always tough to go from clay and then you're like, 'okay, we're on grass now, then there is Wimbledon in two weeks - have fun'."

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