Barty Wins Roland Garros for First Major, Thiem Outlasts Djokovic to Return to Final versus Nadal
(June 8, 2019) Three years ago Ashleigh Barty was making her way back to tennis after taking a two-year absence from the tour to play cricket in Australia. On Saturday she became the Roland Garros champion for her first major title in her first major final and on Monday she’ll be ranked No. 2 in the world.
She’s the first Australian woman since Sam Stosur in 2011 to win a major. The last Australian woman to win the French Open was Margaret Court in 1973.
The Aussie, seeded No. 8 defeated 19-year-old Marketa Vondrousova 6-1, 6-3.
“I played the perfect match today,” Barty said. It was a far cry from the topsy-turvy match she won in the semifinals over Amanda Anisimova coming back from a set and a break down.
“She gave me a lesson today,” said the 38th ranked Vondrousova. “I didn’t really feel good today, because she didn’t let me play my game.”
“This is just incredible,” Barty said. “I never dreamt that I’d be sitting here with this trophy here at the French Open. I mean, obviously we have dreams and goals as children, but this is incredible.”
“At the moment it’s a bit too much and a bit out there, really,” Barty said during her news conference. “But it’s amazing. I mean, we have done the work, and we tried to put ourselves in these positions. Now that we’re here, it’s just incredible.”
“It’s been an incredible couple of weeks, that’s for sure. I think any time I can play my brand of tennis, I know that I can match it against the best in the world. For the last fortnight, the stars have aligned for me. I have been able to play really good tennis when I’ve needed it.”
The women’s final started 90 minutes late due to the continuation of the men’s semifinal from Friday. Dominic Thiem beat Novak Djokovic 6-2, 3-6, 7-5, 5-7, 7-5 in the men’s semifinal to reach a second straight French Open final against Rafael Nadal, 11-time champion.
Thiem’s victory ended Djokovic’s streak of wins at majors at 26. He was a French Open win away from holding all four major titles for a second time.
“It was an epic match. I mean, so many ups and downs and rain, going back to the locker, on court again,” Thiem said after the match. “Somehow I had the feeling that I had the lead in the whole match, and then at the end it got so tough. And at the end, both of us could [have] won, and I luckily got the better in the end.”
Thiem will be attempting to win his first major on Sunday, Nadal will be aiming for his 18th and 12th Paris title.
“To play Rafa here on this court, is always the ultimate challenge, one of the toughest challenges sports in general give. I played a really good match against him in Barcelona. It was six weeks ago. So of course I’ll try to do similar [things] even though it’s way tougher to play him here,” Thiem said.
Nadal beat Thiem in last year’s final and has a 8-4 record against him overall.