Friday, June 7, 2019

An Aussie and a Czech--one of them will be the 2019 French Open champion

I wasn't exactly awake, so it was easy for me to imagine that the Anisimova-Barty semifinal match was a confusing dream. But no, Ash Barty really did go up 5-0 in the first set. And she really did lose the set. And after losing that set 6-7, the Australian star turned on a switch that caught fire while--on the other side of the net--Anisimova's own motor wound down.

The 17-year-old, who had played so brilliantly throughout the French Open--not dropping a set through the quarterfinals--was visibly struggling, though some of that may have been mental. Barty won the match 6-7, 6-3, 6-3. She was especially dominant in the third set, when Asinimova was making the kind of errors that almost cost her the opening set.


Meanwhile, the teenage contingent scored a big one when Marketa Vondrousova defeated Jo Konta 7-5, 7-6 in the other semifinal. Konta, whose serve has been an outstanding feature of the French Open this year, served well, but could not find the serving brilliance that had taken her to the semifinals. That made it a bit easier for Vondrousova to challenge the British star, and challenge her she did.


Vondrousova has operated under the radar throughout the tournament. Even her teen credentials (she's 19) were outshone by Anisimova's youth. For that matter, Vondrousova has operated under the radar throughout the season, and it appears to have served her well. The young Czech lefty (those two words go together so well!) owns an arsenal of shots that can wreak havoc on any opponent. Her performance during today's second set tiebreak was, at times, breathtaking, and culminated with a drop shot on match point.

I should add that Vondrousova has had successive come-from-behind moments at this French Open, and she has remained calm and steady through all of them, finding ways to win either a set or a match, even though she was behind in the score. The Czech player has yet to drop a set.

This is, I think, going to be a delicious final. Both players are keen shot-makers, both are good strategists, and both are mentally strong. Barty has never considered herself a clay court player, but she probably does now. The truth is, Ash Barty is brilliant on every surface.

Here are the players' paths to the final:

round 1--def. Jessica Pegula
round 2--def. Danielle Collins
round 3--def. Andrea Petkovic
round of 16--def. Sonya Kenin
quarterfinals--def. Madison Keys (14)
semifinals--def. Amanda Anisimova

round 1--def. Wang Yafan
round 2--def. Anastasia Potapova
round 3--def. Carla Suarez Navarro (28)
round of 16--def. Anastasia Sevastova (12)
quarterfinals--def. Petra Martic (31)
semifinals--def. Jo Konta (26)

Meanwhile, for the second year in a row, Latisha Chan and Ivan Dodig have won the mixed doubles title. In the final, they defeated Gabriela Dabrowski and Mate Pavic 6-1, 7-6.

And in doubles, the final is set: 2nd seeds Timea Babos and Kiki Mladenovic will face off against Duan Yingying and Zheng Saisai. In the semifinals, Babos and Mladenovic defeated 6th seeds Elise Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka 6-2, 6-1. Duan and Zheng defeated 15th seeds Kirsten Flipkens and Johanna Larsson.

In wheelchair singles competition, it's 2018 all over again: 2nd seed and defending champion Yui Kamiji will compete against top seed and 2018 runner-up Diede DeGroot in the final. In the semifinals, Kamiji defeated Marjolein Buis, and DeGroot defeated Aniek Van Koot.


Carl Upshon said...

It's going to be a great final and I'm sad I don't think I'll be able to watch it. My pick to win is Vondrousova.

Diane said...

Too bad you can’t watch, Carl :( I, too, think Vondrousova is going to win. We are part of a minority!