Friday, June 7, 2019

Barty, Vondrousova to meet for French Open crown

Amanda Anisimov, who won her first professional title at 15 in the 2017 Sacra-
mento Challenger, lost to Ashleigh Barty 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-3 today in the French
Open semifinals. 2018 photo courtesy of JFS Communications
   Amanda Anisimova led Ashleigh Barty by a set and 3-0 today in the French Open semifinals.
   But Anisimova's first Grand Slam final must wait.
   Barty, an Australian seeded eighth, rallied in the second and third sets to defeat the unseeded Anisimova, a 17-year-old American who ousted third seed and defending champion Simona Halep in the quarterfinals, 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-3 on a windy, rainy day in Paris.
   "She just outplayed me, basically," Anisimova, who won her first professional title at 15 in the 2017 Sacramento Challenger, told reporters.
   In a matchup of first-time Grand Slam singles finalists, the 23-year-old Barty is scheduled to play unseeded Marketa Vondrousova, a Czech left-hander who will turn 20 on June 28, on Saturday at 6 a.m. PDT (NBC).
   Vondrousova, has not lost a set in the tournament, beat 26th-seeded Johanna Konta, the champion of the 2016 Bank of the West Classic at Stanford, 7-5, 7-6 (2). Vondrousova can become the first teenager to win the French Open since Iva Majoli of Croatia in 1997.
   Vondrousova reached the girls doubles final in the 2014 French Open with CiCi Bellis, who grew up in Atherton in the San Francisco Bay Area. Bellis, the WTA Newcomer of the Year in 2017, is hitting after undergoing four operations on her right wrist, arm and elbow in the past year.
   Barty, ranked eighth, has not dropped a set in two career matches against Vondrousova, ranked 38th. This will be their first meeting of the year and first on clay.
   Second-seeded Rafael Nadal will play either top-seeded Novak Djokovic or fourth-seeded Dominic Thiem for the men's title on Sunday at 6 a.m. (NBC).
   Nadal, seeking his 12th French Open singles crown, dispatched third-seeded Roger Federer 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 to improve to 24-15 overall and 6-0 in the French Open in their storied rivalry.
   Federer, 37, has won a record 20 Grand Slam men's singles titles, and Nadal, 32, ranks second with 17.
   Thiem leads Djokovic 6-2, 3-6, 3-1 in a match suspended by rain. Play will resume on Saturday at 3 a.m. PDT (Tennis Channel). The forecast calls for partly cloudy weather on Saturday and rain on Sunday.
   Barty won the Wimbledon girls singles title at 15 in 2011 and reached three Grand Slam women's doubles finals in 2013. But it was too much success too soon, and Barty left tennis in 2014 for nearly two years to play professional cricket.
   Barty won 17 of the first 18 points against the 51st-ranked Anisimova, who was born in New Jersey to Russian parents and moved to Florida at 3, to lead 5-0. After losing the set, Barty dropped the first 12 points of the second set to trail 3-0 but managed to pull it out. She then overcame an early break in the third set and converted her sixth match point.
   "I played some really good tennis. I played some pretty awful tennis," Barty said. "I'm just proud of myself for the way I was able to fight ands scrap and hang in there and find a way when I kind of threw away that first set."

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