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Chris Evert Says Women’s Tennis Is Unpredictable • Paris Ladies Results Barty Beats Anisimova And Konta Loses

Ashleigh Barty of Australia (L) react with Amanda Anisimova of the USA after winning their women’s semi final match during the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros in Paris, France, 07 June 2019. EPA-EFE/YOAN VALAT



By Alix Ramsay


As Chris Evert pointed out for us yesterday: women’s tennis is utterly unpredictable at the moment. With no Serena to dominate the tour, there is no one willing or able to take the tour by the scruff of the neck. As a result, no one has a clue who is going to win what and when.


Trying to pick a potential champion from the four semi-finalists was beyond even Evert, although she had been most impressed by the progress and performances of Amanda Anisimova and Johanna Konta. So, just to prove her point about unpredictability, both of them lost.


For the 17-year-old Anisimova, her 6-7, 6-3, 6-3 loss to Ash Barty was her first taste of life at the top. Getting to the last four had been a blast: not a set dropped, an awful lot of reputations dented and not care in the world. And then she found herself up against a slightly older, slightly more experienced woman and one who could identify a life-changing opportunity when she saw it. Barty fought and she hung on and, in the end, she got her reward: her ticket to her first grand slam final.


Amanda Anisimova of the USA plays Ashleigh Barty of Australia during their women?s semi final match during the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros in Paris, France, 07 June 2019. EPA-EFE/YOAN VALATAnisimova will be back, though. She is far, far too good not to be. For five games, she could barely get a racket string on the ball and as she went to serve to stay in the first set, she had won just three points. To the surprise of no one at all, she was soon having to fend off two set points. But she did it. She held serve. She had her first foothold in the match.


From that base, she won the nest six games and only when she came to serve for the set did she waver. No matter. She allowed Barty a meagre four points in the tiebreak.  Then she battened down the hatches and won the next three games without dropping a point. And that is when it all started to unravel. Barty dug in, went back to basics and slowly but surely began to reel in her young rival.


Anisimova’s body language as her lead was whittled away suddenly made her look like the 17-year-old she is. She did not know how to stop Barty and there were moments when she looked utterly lost.


“I was just trying to do the same thing I was doing, but she just stayed consistent, and it was just really tough,” Anisimova said. “Because I kind of struggled with her game, so she just outplayed me basically.


“It’s amazing, even though I’m obviously upset I lost, because I’m always upset if I lose, because, you know, it’s disappointing. But at the end of the day, I did make it to the semi-finals for the first time. So it’s a positive week for me.


“I’m just really happy about these couple of weeks. I’m really excited about the grass season. I gained a lot of confidence in the past couple of weeks.”


Barty will play Marketa Vondrousova in the final on Saturday. The 19-year-old Czech stopped Konta’s run 7-5, 7-6 thanks in no small part to her own unique talents and, also, to Konta reverting to type.


At her very best, Britain’s No.1 thinks clearly, executes clinically and makes the game look so easy. At her frailest, she gets a little too excited, she over-thinks and she cannot think in a straight line. Against Vondrousova, it was the latter and while she served for both sets, she still lost the match. That said, she had done something that everyone thought was beyond her in reaching the last four at Roland Garros and now she has the grass court season to look forward to.


Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic plays Johanna Konta of Britain during their women?s semi final match during the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros in Paris, France, 07 June 2019. EPA-EFE/SRDJAN SUKI“I’m putting myself into positions to try to make that extra step and making into a [grand slam] final,” Konta said. “It’s either going to happen or it’s not. I still have a lot to be proud of. Even if I were to stop playing tomorrow, I have done a lot of great things in my career so far. But equally, I’m just as hungry and just as motivated to keep going forward and to one day be in a position to be winning a major. But I definitely believe in my ability to do that, and we’ll see if it happens or not.”


So Barty and Vondrousova, the two most excited people on the planet it appears, will go head to head for the €2.3million winners’ cheque on Saturday.


“It’s amazing,” Vondrousova chirruped. “I never, like, imagined this. But, yeah, it’s the best week of my life so far. I’m just very happy with everything. It’s an amazing thing.”


Barty was in much the same mood.


“It’s amazing,” she said. “It’s been an incredible journey the last three years. It’s been an incredible journey the last two weeks. I feel like I have played some really good tennis, some consistent tennis and I’m just so proud of myself the way we were able to go out there and handle it today. All things considered, we’re in a pretty amazing place now.”


For both of them, the fact that the rain on Wednesday resulted in a condensed schedule which robbed them of their day off after the semi-finals, was a relief – they had one less day to worry about the final.


They have met twice before, on grass and on a hard court, and Barty has won both times. But they were not easy wins even if they were in straight sets. And Vondrousova was only 17 when they first played; she has grown up a lot and learned a lot since then.


Who will win? Who knows. On the women’s side, no one has known anything about anyone since the draw was made. Like Chrissie said, women’s tennis is just so unpredictable.

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