“Once She Gets Going…”: Former Wimbledon Champion Feels Ashleigh Barty is The Favorite at French Open 2021

Published 05/24/2021, 12:30 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


Veteran French tennis star Marion Bartoli has named current women’s World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty as the favorite to lift the title at Roland-Garros this year.

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Barty, who missed the entire stretch of the last season on account of the COVID-19 pandemic, already has three Tour titles, including the prestigious Miami Open, to her name this year.

Ashleigh Barty missed out on her second title on clay this year at Madrid

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The 26-year-old Australian has had a phenomenal season on clay, playing two finals and winning one in Stuttgart, Germany. However, in a rematch of the Stuttgart final in Madrid, the top-seed lost in three sets to Belarussian Aryna Sabalenka. Carrying her dazzling run of form from Madrid and before, Barty reached the quarter-finals in Rome.

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

But all hopes of lifting her second title on clay this year melted into thin air after she withdrew midway into her last-eight clash against Coco Gauff with an injury. She was leading by a set and 2-1 in the second when she pulled out. The Aussie also recorded a quarter-final finish earlier at Charleston.

Barty can demonstrate her full range in Paris, says Marion Bartoli

Asked to name her picks for the French Open crown during a virtual conversation with tennismajors.com, Marion Bartoli named the 2019 champion as her top favorite this year, saying the slow surfaces at Roland-Garros would enable the Aussie to demonstrate her full range of shots.

The 2013 Wimbledon champion said that if Barty can return fit and firing, she could be a handful for her opponents in Paris.

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“Once she gets going and she’s physically fit, her game and variety is very difficult for her opponents to counter. I think that slower pace will allow her to use all her shots,” Bartoli said.

However, she also tipped American teen tennis sensation Coco Gauff to have a strong run at Roland-Garros“You could see a player like Coco Gauff, maybe, have a breakthrough,” Bartoli said.

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Gauff, too, has had a remarkable clay-court season, recording quarter-final and semi-final finishes at Charleston and Rome before lifting both the singles and doubles titles at WTA Parma.

 

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Priyabrata Chowdhury

1101 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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