WTA Stuttgart Open 2021, Final: Ashleigh Barty vs Aryna Sabalenka Preview, Head-to-Head and Prediction

Published 04/25/2021, 4:21 AM EDT
Tennis – WTA 500 – Stuttgart Open – Porsche-Arena, Stuttgart, Germany – April 23, 2021 Australia’s Ashleigh Barty reacts during her quarter final match against Czech Republic’s Karolina Pliskova Pool via REUTERS/Marijan Murat


She gave herself a nice birthday present by reaching the final of the Stuttgart Open on Saturday, but between current women’s World No.1 Ashleigh Barty and a third Tour title of the year stands feisty Belarussian Aryna Sabalenka.

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In Ukrainian Elina Svitolina, the 25-year-old Aussie ran into her toughest opponent in Stuttgart. And World No.1 fell behind in the early exchanges as Svitolina started well and grew from strength to strength to blitz to a 6-4 win in the opening set.

Ashleigh Barty recovered from a set down to beat Svitolina in the semis, Aryna Sabalenka routed Simona Halep

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For the better part of the second set, Barty struggled to impose herself on her opponent. Deadlocked at 6-6, the second set headed for a tie-break and the Aussie seized on her last chance to take the match to a deciding set.

With the momentum firmly on her side, Barty turned the tables on Svitolina in the decider to eventually come away with a 4-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-2 win.

Sabalenka, on the other hand, had a far easier outing against the 2018 French Open champion and current No.1 on the WTA Power Index on clay court, Simona Halep.

Striking the ball fiercely and prowling like a leopard ready to pounce on the first sign of weakness from her opponent, the World No.7 overwhelmed the two-time Grand Slam champion 6-3, 6-2 to storm into the final.

Mar 25, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus hits a forehand against Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria (not pictured) in the second round of the Miami Open at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The contrasting nature of victories would mean a relatively longer recovery time for the World No.1, as the Belarussian made short work of the 29-year-old Romanian and will go into the championship with a bit more fuel left in her tank.

Barty and Sabalenka tied 3-3 in head-to-head

As far as head-to-head record goes, Barty and Sabalenka are currently tied 3-3, thereby indicating that neither will start as an absolute favorite in the big final.

They last met in the quarter-final of this year’s Miami Open, where Barty prevailed in three well-contested sets.

The Aussie ended up defending her 2019 title in Miami and followed up with her second Tour title of the year at the Charleston clay court event.

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One of the features of Sabalenka’s rout of Halep was her incredible service game. She sent down heavy serves, often flying past the outstretched Romanian.

One suspects the Aussie will have to put early pressure on her serve and work the angles to make the Belarussian.

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However, even that may not be enough for Sabalenka in her current form.

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Priyabrata Chowdhury

863 articles

Priyabrata Chowdhury is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. He has been a print journalist for a decade, producing news pages for leading national dailies such as the Hindustan Times and The New Indian Express. His passion for sports eventually drove him to tennis writing.

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