Ashleigh Barty Australian Open 2021

“I’m still counting down to the grass court season” – Ash Barty after reaching Madrid Open final

Ashleigh Barty reached the Madrid Open final after beating Paula Badosa to extend her winning streak on red clay to 16 matches.

The world No. 1 defeated the 23-year-old Spaniard 6-4, 6-3 in the semi-finals of the WTA 1000 event on Thursday. The Australian took the opening set by securing the first break of the match with Badosa serving at 4-5.

Barty then broke straight back after losing her opening service game of the second set, and broke again for 3-1. She then held for 4-1 from 0-40 down and closed out the match.

The 25-year-old is on an impressive unbeaten run on red clay, including winning Stuttgart two weeks ago and stretching back to lifting the 2019 French Open title.

“I’ve learnt a lot more about [clay], without a doubt. I promise you, I’m still counting down to the grass court season. It’s one of my favorite times of the year,” Barty said in a post-match interview.

“I think the memories and the learnings now that we’re getting from the red clay has been really cool, to be able to challenge myself in different ways.

“You have to learn from every game, every match you play against an opponent. I definitely learnt a lot from the match we played in Charleston. There was a small adjustment.

“I think just learning from some of her patterns, tendencies that came through and showed through in that match in Charleston.

“I think I was just able to control the court a little bit better. I was able to look after my service games a little bit better, build pressure on return games.

“That’s a massive part of it: not always winning points, but building pressure. Scoreboard pressure can be a big thing. That was a focus for me today.

“It was important for me to get that early break back in the second and keep my nose in front, almost force her to come up with something that was going to be at a really, really high level to be able to get back into the match.”

Barty will face either Aryna Sabalenka or Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the final.

Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.