The two very good A’s: Alexander Zverev, Aryna Sabalenka win Madrid

Aryna Sabalenka

In the third set in the Madrid final, the rising Aryna Sabalenka was looking at a 4-4 score against No. 1 Ash Barty. Last year, in the winter, the spring and much of the summer, she was decent, but not great. But in the fall, she decided it was time to be different, smarter and control her emotions. So then, she was in control.

Sabalenka won the next two games for 6-0 3-6 6-4 victory. That was the best title ever. She is a gigantic hitter, with her hard forehand and backhand, and with her first serve, she can blast it. Her returns are very decent, too.

But listen, she has yet to win major title, but Barty has. Now they are 4 and 4, tied in their head to heads.    
Sabalenka thinks that she can win Roland Garros. She thinks that, but she has to prove it. The Madrid championship was the first time she won on clay. So, in Rome and Roland Garros, if she wants to week after week, against the excellent players, she must focus all the time.  One way or another, Sabalenka will continue to be aggressive and, right now, tough to beat.

Barty won 2019 Roland Garros, and she could win it in June. She has played excellent ball this year, mixing it up and move it all around the box. Getting another French title is very doable for her, as her confidence is beginning to make a difference.

German Alexander Zverev is so spectacular when he is confident. On Sunday, he overcame Matteo Berrettini 6-7 6-4 6-3 once again in Madrid. There have been so any times when he gets upset and irritable/ But, when he is playing well, he shows a smart and tactical game. He also likes to scramble and eventually he can whip the ball.

Zverev now has five ATP Masters: Madrid (twice) London, Rome and
Canada. Last week, also upset Rafa Nadal and Dominic Thiem, two Slams winners. If he continues to be healthy, it is pretty clear that Sasha will win a major. But in Roland Garros? Possibly. Good luck.

Sabalenka said: ‘I feel a little bit better on the clay, a little bit different.’ Oh yes she did…

John Isner on Andrey Rublev: “He’s the second best clay-courter in the world right now. He hits the ball so big. It’s pretty fast. He just does so many things well.” He has, over the last year…

Simone Halep, after she losing Elise Mertens: “I want to do it better, is to stop missing, because sometimes I am rushing and I do some mistakes that I normally don’t do. I have to work on that and to be more patient in the future.” The future is now …

Felix Auger-Aliassime when he lost against the rising No. 16 Casper Ruud: “He’s improved a lot. He has a great forehand, we all know that, and he did what he had to do.”