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Tennis: Barty sets up Sabalenka final in Madrid

May 07, 2021 10:41 IST
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Australia's Ashleigh Barty is congratulated by Spain's Paula Badosa Gibert after winning their semi final at the Madrid Open at Caja Magica, Madrid, on Thursday

IMAGE: Australia's Ashleigh Barty is congratulated by Spain's Paula Badosa Gibert after winning their semi final at the Madrid Open at Caja Magica, Madrid, on Thursday. Photograph: Juan Medina/Reuters

World No 1 Ashleigh Barty swatted aside Paula Badosa 6-4, 6-3 on Thursday to reach the Madrid Open final and exact revenge for her shock loss to the Spanish wildcard last month.

The Australian has advanced to her maiden Madrid final and will meet Aryna Sabalenka, who cruised past Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-2, 6-3 in the second semi-final.

Barty, who lost to Badosa in the quarter-finals in Charleston, struck 30 winners in an immaculate display that extended her winning run on clay to 16 matches.

Badosa, the first Spanish woman to make the semis in Madrid, went toe-to-toe with Barty early on but her resistance crumbled while serving at 5-4 down. She saved two set points but gifted the 25-year-old Australian the opener with a double fault.

 

Barty, who triumphed in singles and doubles in Stuttgart last month, trailed by a break early in the second but battled back to win four straight games and seize control of the match.

The 2019 French Open champion continued to turn the screw with a trademark ace, improving to 25-3 for the season and underlining her dominance of the women's tour.

Sabalenka needed just over an hour to beat Pavlyuchenkova as the Belarusian improved her 2021 win-loss record to 23-6.

Saturday's Madrid decider will be a rematch of last month's Stuttgart final when Barty roared back to win 3-6, 6-0, 6-3.

Hewitt defers Hall of Fame induction due to travel restrictions

Former world number one Lleyton Hewitt's induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame will be deferred by a year due to COVID-19 travel restrictions from Australia to the United States, the Hall of Fame said on Thursday.

Australian great Hewitt, who won two Grand Slam titles during his career, was named to the Class of 2021 in February and was to be honoured at a July 17 induction ceremony at the Newport, Rhode Island-based Hall of Fame.

"Unfortunately, due to the circumstances around COVID this year, my family and I won't be able to make it over to Newport to celebrate this July," former Wimbledon and US Open champion Hewitt said in a video on the Hall of Fame's website.

"But we are really looking forward to coming back and actually being a part of it in 2022 in July there in Newport, Rhode Island at the Hall of Fame.

"I wish absolutely everyone who is getting inducted this year all the very best and so hopefully they can really enjoy and celebrate their great achievements."

Hewitt, 40, was elected to the Class of 2021 along with the trailblazing 'Original 9', who laid the groundwork for the women's professional tour, and long-time coach Dennis Van der Meer who will inducted posthumously having passed away in 2019.

Croatia's Goran Ivanisevic and Spaniard Conchita Martinez, former players who were voted in as the Class of 2020, will also be honoured at the July ceremony after last year's festivities were called off because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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Source: REUTERS
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