Barty Beats Local Favorite In Charleston

Ashleigh Barty (photo: Volvo Car Open/Chris Smith)

CHARLESTON, S.C./WASHINGTON, April 9, 2021 (by Michael Dickens)

On an evening when World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty wasn’t at her best – inconsistent with her serve – she still adapted and survived a grueling match from local favorite Shelby Rogers to reach the quarterfinals with a 7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-4 victory at the WTA 500 Volvo Car Open in Charleston, S.C., Thursday.

The top seed Barty secured the final quarterfinal berth with her 10th ace of the match that offset an uncharacteristic five double faults. Meanwhile, the always-classy Rogers, who will rise from No. 52 to a career-high No. 46 next week, kept the pressure on Barty throughout the nearly two-and-a-half match on Althea Gibson Club Court at LTP-Daniel Island Tennis Center by breaking her serve five times in eight tries.

However, Barty benefited from five service breaks of her own against Rogers, including in the ninth game of the final set to go ahead 5-4. Barty served out the win with a pair of aces – giving her a WTA-leading 123 for the season – in her final service game, including on match point. It was her third victory this season against Rogers, whom she previously beat in the quarterfinals of the Yarra Valley Classic in Melbourne and in the round of 16 at the Australian Open, both in February.

“It’s strange playing someone so often quite close together,” Barty said during her virtual press conference. “Sometimes, you find yourself playing the same person over and over; other times, you won’t play them for years at a time. Shelby is an exceptional ball striker. She always makes you work very hard for every point every single match. Tonight, was no different. Obviously, a bit different than at the start of the year, but tough no less.”

According to Rogers, she left the court “definitely not satisfied” after losing to Barty for the third time this year, but felt she did “a lot of things better tonight than the previous meetings against her, so I can be proud of that. There’s so much more that I wanted to accomplish and that I expected of myself. It’s not good enough to just play close. I want to be beating all of these girls week to week. It’s encouraging but still a few things to work on and definitely, I can use this as motivation.”

Quarterfinal lineup is set for Friday

With Barty filling out the final eight lineup, Friday’s quarterfinals will pair her against Paula Badosa of Spain; No. 15 seed Veronika Kudermetova of Russia will face 2016 Volvo Car Open champion Sloane Stephens of the United States; No. 11 seed Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan will take on upset-minded Danka Kovinic of Montenegro; and No. 12 seed Ons Jabeur of Tunisia will oppose American 14th seed Coco Gauff.

Only four of the eight – Barty, Stephens, Putintseva and Gauff – have ever won a WTA tour-level title, and of the original eight Top 20 players who started the tournament on Monday, just No. 1 seed Barty remains.

Tennis TourTalk asked Badosa after her 6-3, 6-3 round of 16 win over American Caty McNally about the challenge of facing World No. 1 Barty – and whether she would worry about it or lose any sleep over thinking about the matchup. She said: “I don’t have words to describe Ash Barty. She’s a very good player. I want to play her because I’ve never played a World No. 1 and I want to see what it is like to play against a World No. 1.”

Meanwhile, with having strung together three consecutive wins this week on green clay – achieving good results – 2016 Volvo Car Open champion Stephens is finding happiness once again in Charleston after struggling the first two months of the season.

“My happiness on court comes from training and practicing and I’m a very routine and structured person. I love to compete and be out there and play,” Stephens said after her 6-3, 6-4 victory against Ajla Tomljanovic of Australia.

Thursday’s Volvo Car Open results

Friday’s Volvo Car Open order of play

What can’t World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty do?

More seeds fall at Copa Colsanitas

At the WTA 250 Copa Colsanitas red clay event in Bogotá, Colombia, No. 7 seed Tereza Martincova became the latest seed to fall. She was ousted by Colombian wild card Maria Camila Osorio Serrano, 6-3, 6-3, Thursday afternoon.

The only seeded player remaining to advance into Friday’s quarterfinals is No. 5 seed Tamara Zidansek of Slovenia. She beat Giulia Gatto-Monticone of Italy, 6-2, 6-3.

One of the surprises this week at the Club de Tenis Bogotá has been the 19-year-old Osorio Serrano, who is ranked 180th. The native of Cúcuta, Colombia is yet to drop a set in her home country this week following an opening-round win over American Sachia Vickery, 6-3, 6-2.

Following her win against the 98th-ranked Martincova, Tennis TourTalk virtually caught up with Osorio Serrano, who is a former World No. 1 junior girls’ player and winner of the 2019 US Open title. This year, she’s compiled an impressive 11-5 win-loss record splitting her time between the WTA tour and playing in selected ITF events in the United States.

“These are two really good wins against two really great players,” said Osorio Serrano, who was a quarterfinalist in Bogotá in 2019. “I was calm, patient, waiting for my moment. I wasn’t expecting to win both of my matches in straight sets. I was thinking it would be two really hard matches. In Bogotá, it’s all about being strong here.”

What does it mean to Osorio Serrano to be doing so well playing in her home country this week? “It’s the best feeling in the world, being at home with friends and family, fans from Colombia,” she said. “I feel really proud of what I am doing. Hopefully, I can do better in my next match. I’m really happy making the quarterfinals. It’s not easy to make the quarterfinals in a WTA tournament. I’m really happy and excited for what’s next.”

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