After a dramatic and at times disbelieving fortnight of tennis we are down to the final of the French Open where one of Ash Barty or Marketa Vondrousova will be the latest first time Grand Slam champion when they meet for the title at Roland Garros.
It has been an incredible women’s event this year with the big names falling on a daily basis and we are left with two relatively inexperienced players to battle it out for the second Grand Slam title of the year.
The cricketer turned tennis star Ash Barty has been threatening a major breakthrough for some time and it has arrived arguably when we least expected it with this tournament being on clay. I’m sure most would have expected this performance from her on the grass or the hard courts but not necessarily in this surrounding so it is to her credit that she is here and will go into this final as the favourite to win it.
Barty has had to battle her way through the draw this week. Madison Keys put up stiff opposition but she blew that aside in the quarter final and then in the semi-final she came back from making the most horrendous start to see off the talented Amanda Anisimova to book her spot in this final. Her doubles prowess has delivered an all-court game which is really allowing her singles play to flourish.
This tournament is the second successive Grand Slam in which there has been a Czech in the final although this time it is not Petra Kvitova. It isn’t even Karolina Pliskova who it could have been either. It is the unseeded left-hander Marketa Vondrousova who is enjoying comfortably the best two weeks of her life. She is one win away from entering the big time in the sport and if she needs inspiration she only needs to look back a couple of years for when Jelena Ostapenko followed a similar path to the title.
It has to be said that Vondrousova has ridden her luck this week. In both the quarter final and the semi-final her opponent served for the first set but couldn’t convert and one wonders what might have happened if they had. That said, that is not the fault of the Czech and when others were unable to hold their nerve she had no problem holding hers and is in this final as a result.
These two women have met on two previous occasions and Ashleigh Barty has won both times and has yet to drop a set against Marketa Vondrousova. They first met at Birmingham two years ago when Barty won 75 76 on the grass and then again in Cincinnati last year where the Australian prevailed 63 75. Vondrousova is probably best on clay and playing better than ever at the minute but history is on the side of the cricket convert.
I can’t see past Ash Barty in this final. Whether she wins it in straight sets or needs three I’m not too fussed because the longer it goes the better I think she’ll get. She needed a third set in the semi-final but only she will know how having been 5-0 up in the first set before losing it on a tiebreak. Some could have wilted after that but she showed good mental strength to bounce back and make it through.
Vondrousova has had a great run here but Petra Martic should have taken the first set against her and Jo Konta choked in both sets against her making more than 40 errors in the match. I don’t think Barty will give this one away so the Czech will have to win this on her own. Even if Vondrousova has the play to win a set we saw at the beginning of the week that Barty can run riot in a final set so I expect her to have 2.5 games covered in this final.
WON – Back A.Barty (-2.5 games) to beat M.Vondrousova for a 4/10 stake at 1.91 with Betfred
Back her here: