Mutua Madrid Open 2021 Finals: Ashleigh Barty vs Aryna Sabalenka Preview, Head-to-Head, Prediction

Published 05/07/2021, 1:55 PM EDT
Tennis – WTA 1000 – Madrid Open – Caja Magica, Madrid, Spain – May 5, 2021 Australia’s Ashleigh Barty celebrates winning her quarter final match against Czech Republic’s Petra Kvitova REUTERS/Sergio Perez


It is Ashleigh Barty against Aryna Sabalenka in the finals of Mutua Madrid Open 2021. World No.1 vs World No.7 in the beautiful Caja Magica stadium in Madrid. Here is the preview, head-to-head, and prediction of the high voltage clash.

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Mutua Madrid Open 2021 final: Ashleigh Barty vs Aryna Sabalenka preview

There are fewer words to express Barty’s form right now. She is the World No.1 and the best clay-court player on the tour. The Australian is currently on a 16 match win streak on red clay and was last beaten on the surface back in 2019. During this 16 match win streak she won the 2019 French Open, 2021 Stuttgart Open, and now is in the final of Madrid Open 2021.

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Ashleigh Barty celebrates with the trophy after winning the Final against Belarus’ Aryna Sabalenka Pool via REUTERS/Marijan Murat

In 2021, Barty has lifted three titles and reached the quarterfinals of the Australian Open. As the season carried on, Barty shrugged off any rustiness she had of not playing for 11 months. Her best title triumph was the Miami Open where she beat Jelena Ostapenko, Victoria Azarenka, Bianca Andreescu, and her Madrid Open final opponent Sabalenka.

Sabalenka on the other hand started the season with a title in Abu Dhabi. The Belarusian is set to make her top 5 debut in the WTA rankings irrespective of the result in the final. She earlier made her top 10 debut in November 2020 and now has soared ahead of the likes of Serena Williams, Karolina Pliskova, Elina Svitolina, Bianca Andreescu, and compatriot Azarenka.

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Aryna Sabalenka celebrates winning her semi final match against Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova REUTERS/Sergio Perez

Sabalenka has continued her 2020 form in 2021. She was the surprise package in 2020 winning three titles. The 23-year-old has now established herself in the WTA tour as she already has nine career titles just two behind Barty.

Head-to-Head

Barty leads the head-to-head 4-3. Sabalenka’s last victory over Barty came in 2019 in Wuhan, China. Interestingly, the last two tournaments that Sabalenka played, she lost to Ash Barty. Their latest meeting was a few days ago in the Stuttgart final, where Barty emerged victorious in three sets.

Who could triumph in Madrid?

Since the start of the Miami Open, Barty has been fierce. She has shown more control over a fast and sharp forehand. She also has an impressive inside-out forehand and a stroke that can find acute angles on the court.

Before Barty had a rather weak backhand, but since her return, she has added a potent slice to her arsenal. She is slicing more in Madrid and that has reaped benefits. Furthermore, she is still sliding around effortlessly, and her serve has given a high number of aces as well.

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Sabalenka is one of the strongest hitters of the tennis ball on the tour. The Belarusian doesn’t do much with her strokes, but ensures she has tremendous power over it. Being close to 6 feet tall, Sabalenka uses it to smash the ball as hard as she can.

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The Belarusian is strong from the baseline and commands it well. But she is often caught out on the net. Last time out, Barty played a lot from the net in Stuttgart, which troubled Sabalenka. The Belarusian at times gets ahead of herself and hence has a higher unforced error to winner ratio.

Ashleigh Barty in action at Madrid Open 2021. REUTERS/Juan Medina

Both the players have not lost a set in Madrid, but in the final both will. The match-up is looking a very close one, but given Barty’s form and experience, she could just be able to annoy Sabalenka and take the title.

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Prediction: Ash Barty to win in three sets

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Bhavishya Mittal

1071 articles

Bhavishya Mittal is a tennis author for EssentiallySports, who is currently pursuing his Bachelor's degree in Journalism from Manipal University. A former sports editor for The Manipal Journal, Bhavishya has also worked for The New Indian Express. He has a keen eye for many sports but he is a particularly ardent follower of tennis, with a zest to create riveting articles on the ever-evolving sport.

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