UNFORTUNATE! Ashleigh Barty Retires Mid-Match, Coco Gauff Advances to Semifinals at Italian Open 2021

Published 05/14/2021, 12:32 PM EDT
Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 17, 2021 Australia’s Ashleigh Barty looks dejected after losing her quarter final match against Czech Republic’s Karolína Muchova REUTERS/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake


World number one Australian player Ashleigh Barty, who is having an incredible run on the European clay-court swing this year, has continued her success at the ongoing Italian Open by reaching the quarter-finals without hiccups in between.

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Barty, who is leading the WTA rankings with a mammoth 10175 points, faced the young American Coco Gauff in the quarters. Gauff stunned the Mutua Madrid Open Champion Aryna Sabalenka to reach the final eight in Rome. It is the first meeting between the two players on the WTA tour.

Tennis – WTA 1000 – Madrid Open – Caja Magica, Madrid, Spain – May 6, 2021 Australia’s Ashleigh Barty in action during her semi final match against Spain’s Paula Badosa Gibert REUTERS/Juan Medina
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Ashleigh Barty retired midway from her quarter-final match against Gauff

The Australian played smart right from the first set and managed to always think ahead of Gauff in shot-making. Gauff took her chances right from the start and as a result, made a few errors that proved to be costly.

Barty had her right arm and left thigh taped indicating an injury. But, the Aussie displayed no signs of fatigue as she continued her good run on the women’s tour and won the first set, 6-4. Immediately after the first set, rain decided to play spoil-sport in Rome and matches on all the courts were suspended temporarily.

Tennis – Yarra Valley Classic – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 7, 2021 Australia’s Ashleigh Barty celebrates winning the Yarra Valley Classic with the trophy after her final singles match against Spain’s Garbine Muguruza REUTERS/Kelly Defina

While a few of the men’s singles quarter-finals are yet to take place, the matchup between Barty and Gauff resumed after a couple of hours. Right from the resumption, the Australian got a quick lead by breaking Gauff’s serve in the third game.

Before her serve at 2-1 in the set, Barty called in the physio to check up on her right arm as it seemed to be bothering her. But, Barty showed no signs of pain even in the second set. After inquiring with the physio, the Aussie surprised everyone by deciding to retire from the match.

This surprise withdrawal from the Australian pushes Coco Gauff to the semi-finals of the Italian Open. Also, the walkover will give a boost to the American’s rankings as she will be placed under top 30 for the first time in her young career. Gauff will also be seeded at the French Open later this month.

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After the match, the Australian was asked whether it was her thigh or the arm that forced her to retire. She confirmed that the withdrawal wa due to the arm injury.

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Sagar Ashtakoula

214 articles

Sagar Ashtakoula is a tennis writer at EssentiallySports. He has been following the sport since 2007. Having developed an interest in creating content, he mixed his passion for writing with his love for tennis for 2 years at SportsKeeda before joining the tennis team at EssentiallySports.

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