Ashleigh Barty on Saturday hammered fellow first-time Grand Slam finalist Marketa Vondrousova in the 2019 French Open final to become the first Australian woman to win a Major women’s singles title since the great Margaret Court at the US Open in 1973.
The 23-year-old Australian prevailed 6-1, 6-3 in an hour and 10 minutes over the 19-year-old Russian in a one-sided match. Barty won the first set in just 28 minutes, before Vondrousova showed some fight in the second.
Ashleigh Barty vs Marketa Vondrousova - As it happened
When the new rankings come out on Monday, Barty will jump from No. 8 in the world to No. 2, within striking range of No. 1 Naomi Osaka. Vondrousova, a left-hander in the mould of two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, is currently ranked 38th and will move up to 16.
The final on Saturday was in stark contrast to Barty’s semifinal against another teenager, Amanda Anisimova. On Friday, the 17-year-old-American Anisimova rallied back from 0-5 to win the first set in a tiebreak before Barty won the next two with identical 6-3 scorelines.
Barty broke out as a doubles star in 2013, reaching three Grand Slam finals at age 16 and 17. But she took a sabbatical from tennis in 2015 in order to not burn out. The Australian returned to the courts after a season of playing cricket in Australia’s Women’s Big Bash League and the Women’s National Cricket League. She won her first Grand Slam doubles title in her fifth final at the 2018 US Open, and then she reached her first Major quarterfinals in singles at the Australian Open earlier this year.
In her own semifinal, Vondrousova, the 2015 Australian Open and French Open junior doubles champion, showed pluck when she came down from 3-5 in each set with Joanna Konta serving to win it. The Russian prevailed 7-5, 7-6 (2).
Free for all
The French Open women’s singles title was up for grabs as all the Grand Slams have been in the last few years. The WTA tour saw five first-time winners in 2018-19, when eight different women won one Slam each.
Osaka broke the trend by following up her US Open title with the 2019 Australian Open, in the process becoming the first woman other than Serena Williams to win back-to-back Majors since Jennifer Capriati in 2001.
But Roland-Garros 2019 may have upped the ante. The semifinals featured three women who had never reached this stage of a Grand Slam before – Barty, Vondrousova and Anisimova – and one who had not won a match at the French Open in four previous attempts.
Reigning champion and former world No. 1 Simona Halep was beaten comprehensively by Anisimova in the quarters, while Osaka was beaten in the third round by Katerina Siniakova, the doubles world No. 1.
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