Saturday, 21 January 2017

Barthel defeats Barty

Australian interest in the first night match on Rod Laver Arena on Day Four of the Aus Open 2017.  Ash Barty, granted a wildcard, has made great use of it, winning matches against Annika Beck and Shelby Rogers.  Her third round opponent,  Germany's qualifier Mona Barthel, has defeated Destanee Aiava (16 year old Aussie) and Monica Puig, the 29th seed.

Barty began with a solid service hold, and with two forehand winners and a Barthel double fault had a chance to break.  A winning German backhand put paid to that idea and games were soon 1-1.
Down 0-40, the Australian recovered well to save two break points but couldn't avoid a third, and Bartel led 2-1.

Games were on serve until 4-3 when Barthel was tested at 15-30.  She passed with flying colours, winning the final three points and sat just a game away from the first set.
Barty held serve and when Barthel served for the set, saved a set point with a volley winner.  However, that was as much resistance as the Aussie could muster and Mona had a 6-4 advantage.

After much threatening to but not quite managing to, Barty finally claimed a break of the Barthel serve in the sixth game of set two.  

After securing the valuable break, Ash quickly was in strife at 0-40.  The next series of points required some of the best tennis she had played for the night, beginning with a masterful drop shot to save one break point.  

The remaining two were also saved with winning tennis and the consolidation of her hard fought service break was achieved.  5-2 Barty.

Sets were one apiece once Barty served it out 6-3, and the Aussie grabbed the lead in the match with some fine work in the fifth game of the decider.

Leading 4-6 6-3 3-2 and with a break, everything appeared on track for a round of sixteen spot for Ash Barty.  However, the German effort from here was admirable.  (After suffering from chronic fatigue last year her ranking has slipped well out of the top 100, whereas she had been in the top fifty and once as high as 23)

Mona Barthel won the final four games, breaking Barty twice, and won this match 6-4 3-6 6-3, her sixth straight win, three in qualifying, three in the main draw.

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