French Open: Ex-Cricketer Barty Hits Vondroušová for Six, Earns First Slam Title
70 minutes is a rather good stand for a batsman at a wicket.
Turns out, it's fairly spiffy on clay, too.
That's all the time 23-year-old competitive wanderer Ashleigh Barty needed to sweep away 19-year-old Markéta Vondroušová in the French Open women's singles championship with a dominant, straight-set 6-1,6-3 performance.
Barty is clearly one Aussie who can.
A fundamental quality in all elite athletes is mental toughness, and there's a level above that. It places a premium on deploying sudden strategies in the heat of competition. This is one of Barty's strengths, one that seemingly burned out in tennis.
What better way to keep the mental stamina acute than a good day's cricket?
Those stands can be long and hot out there, and they definitely honed her for a return to tennis, where she shows the skill of a spin bowler:
It's a great way to augment her power game, which isn't as effective on the clay at Roland Garros.
After breezing through the bracket where she met only one seeded opponent, Barty made a meal outta Vondroušová, who'd never experienced the crucible of a Slam's later rounds before:
Barty also put on a charge up the rankings.
She entered the French Open as an 8-seed, and this fortnight's results has elevated her to the WTA No 2, behind only Naomi Osaka.
Then, there are the obligatory factoids, two of which are of note:
- Barty's become the first Australian woman to win the French Open since Evonne Goolagong back in 1971 and the legendary Margaret Court in 1973, and
- Five of the WTA Tour's seven biggest tournaments so far in 2019 have been won by players aged 23 or under.
Toss in the fact that Barty's the ninth winner in the last ten Slam events, and it appears the page in the women's hierarchy is turning.
Turning quickly, too.