“Moves Very Well on the Clay Court”: Ashleigh Barty Wary of Iga Swiatek Ahead of Madrid Open 2021 Clash

Published 05/01/2021, 5:30 PM EDT
Tennis – WTA 500 – Stuttgart Open – Porsche-Arena, Stuttgart, Germany – April 23, 2021 Australia’s Ashleigh Barty in action during her quarter final match against Czech Republic’s Karolina Pliskova Pool via REUTERS/Marijan Murat


Women’s World No.1 Ashleigh Barty is wary of the claycourt credentials of Iga Swiatek who she faces in the third round of the ongoing Madrid Open. The Australian tennis star, who came into the tournament on the back of two claycourt titles on the bounce at Charleston and Stuttgart, recovered from a mid-match slump to see off trick Slovakian Tamara Zidansek on Saturday.

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The second-round tie threatened to slip away as Zidansek raced to a 6-1 win in the second set to take the match to a decider.

Ashleigh Barty dug deep to beat Tamara Zidansek in R2 on Saturday

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As she has done oftentimes this season already, Barty dug deep to prize a win, notching up her 13th straight win on clay and setting up a third-round date with the reigning French Open champion.

Speaking to reporters after her win, Barty said she sparred with the 19-year-old once and was deeply impressed with her game.

“I hit with her once in Melbourne a few months ago. She’s got a seriously impressive game,” the 25-year-old Australian said.

She added that the Pole is a canny mover on clay as she gets into good positions to play her shots.

Another attribute that makes the Pole stand out on red dirt is that she can execute slides off both her legs.

“Controls her body really well on clay”: Barty on Iga Swiatek

“(She) moves very well on the clay court, can slide off both legs, controls her body really well on clay. Likes to use her hopper, gets around, controls the court with her forehand,” said Barty, in a studious assessment of Swiatek’s game.

The Pole had a stroll into the third round on Saturday as she won in straight sets against German Laura Siegemund.

Playing her first tournament on clay this year, the 19-year-old has hit her straps in Madrid making short work of her opponents.

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Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, Poland’s Iga Swiatek in action during her second-round match against Italy’s Camila Giorgi REUTERS/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake

Interestingly, Barty has never played Swiatek before. A defending champion at Roland-Garros from 2019, the Australian skipped the entire last season owing to Covid concerns as the Pole blazed to her maiden Grand Slam title.

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However, she has been playing some of her best tennis this season, having already picked up three Tour titles, the highest, so far, in the women’s field.

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Priyabrata Chowdhury

858 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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