Ash Barty always improving, to face Madison Keys

Many years ago, the Australian Evonne  Goolagong won the French Open in 1971, which was a little bit surprising. She did win the Australian Open five times, and she also won Wimbledon,  twice. That was on the hardcourts  and the grass. But at Roland Garros, it was on clay, so it was difficult, to slide and be very super patient. Goolagong did that, and she won it, for the first time.

Now we have to wonder whether the other Aussie Open, Ash Barty, to actually win the event. She is so steady, and she is very creative. On Monday, she beat the young American, Sofia Kenin in three sets. In the third set, she pushed herself, and she mixed it up until  Kenin panicked. She was done at the end.

In January at the AO, Barty reached the quarterfinal. She took down Maria Sharapova 6-4 in the third in the fourth round, and then she lost against Petra Kvitova, who was playing fantastic. No big deal. 

In Miami, Barty beat three top 10 players: Kiki Bertens, Kvitova, and in the final, she wore down Karolina Pliskova.

She did not play great at Madrid and Rome, but it was respectable.  Here in Paris, mentally, on court, the No. 8 Barty is calm and diligent. 

“Nothing changes. Very much we go through the exact same process after a match,” Barty said. “Whether it’s a win or a loss, it’s the same recovery, same everything. I think that’s probably what I’ve been doing best over the last 12 to 18 months. And it’s put me in better positions. I’m in these positions now because I’m doing that better.”
She will face against Madison Keys on Wednesday, who has certainly gone deep at the Slams,  at the Aussie Open, Roland Garros, and at the US Open, but on clay, she can been a little out of it. She is ranked No. 14 — not in the top 5 — because she gets hurt a lot.
However, at RG over the past eight days, Keys was thoughtful and she doesn’t become so angry, which she had before.  In 2018, Keys reached the semis in Paris, and then she went down against her friend, Sloane Stephens [who just lost against Jo Konta yesterday). 
If Keys can beat the Britain, she has to attack her quickly, because Konta can do it exactly the same thing.

NOTES

Novak Djokovic has yet to lose a set in the first four rounds. The No. 1 is so steady, deep and thoughtful. He has only won RG once, but remember, he is going for a Grand Slam. Last year and this year, he won the 2018 Wimbledon, the 2018 US Open, and the 2019 Australian Open. Very few people have won it four times in a row. He is thinking about it, that is for sure.

Djokovic will face against Alexandra Zverev, the best young player over the past two years, but this season, he has been struggling. The German walked into RG and in the first round, he kept his head down and survived to beat John Millman in five sets. Then in the third round, once again, he he went into the fifth set, and he came though, edging the much improving Dusan Lajovic. 
In the fourth round, he also edged another player, the experienced Italian, Fabio Fognin in four sets.  

Zverev has won a few huge events in the ATP 1000s, but the 22-year-old has never gone deep at the Slams. He has only reached the second week two  times. Last year, at Roland Garros, he was up and down there, but three times in a row, he won it in five setter, pushing back Karen Khachanov, among others. Then in the quarters, he was very tired, and he lost quickly against Dominic Thiem.

Now, here,  he can attack  Djokovic. He knows that the Serbian will grind him down. Not only can he yank him around — especially within his amazing backhand — but he can throw in  his spectacular first serve,and he can back on the wall and return  it court. Djokovic is very fast and agile. 

Zverev does like long rallies, but if it goes four hours, then the German could get tired, with his legs, and he will rush the balls. Whether he does it or not, the No. 5 Zverev will be around for a very long time, but can he stun Djokovic on Wednesday? Possibly not, but it will be a very fun contest.

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