Thursday’s Set Points, 2019 French Open Day 12: Barty vs. Anisimova for a place in the final

After a Wednesday wash-out, the quarter-finals from the bottom half of the draw were played early on Thursday. The results have produced an eclectic final four and the guarantee of a new Slam champ! The semi-finals are set for Friday and while I understand the scheduling, i’m still very disappointed that the women’s semi-finals will be played on Suzanne Lenglen and Simonne Mathieu, the second and third show courts. Hopefully this won’t ever happen again in the future with Chatrier getting a roof next year. Read on for the highlights from Thursday’s matches.

Match reviews ๐ŸŽพ

Ash Barty d. Madison Keys, 6-3 7-5

Ash Barty is into her first Slam semi-final, serving out a straight sets win over Madison Keys at the second time of asking. It didn’t feel like there was much between the pair in the first set. Barty got a slight opening at 4-3 30-30 and took it – Keys hit an impatient error and then hit a backhand straight to Barty who passed for the winner.

A few loose errors from Keys helped Barty pick up the first break in the second set. The Aussie player was unable to serve out the match but stayed in contention and forced another break. This time, a super-serving Barty closed it out with a love game. It was a very steady display from Barty. Nothing flashy, just solid all the way. The serve was excellent and she constructed points well, as always, with the backhand slice.

Never did I think we’d get to this stage and Ash Barty would be the favourite to win the French Open. Barty is my lone correct semi-final prediction from my Draw Challenge and I was thinking it was the least likely to come true pre-tournament!

Amanda Anisimova d. Simona Halep, 6-2 6-4

Amanda Anisimova scored the biggest win of her career so far, stunning the defending champion, Simona Halep, with a superb display, 6-2 6-4. Regular readers of the blog will know i’ve been barking on about Anisimova for a while, but I can’t say I saw this run at Roland Garros coming!

From 2-2 in the first set, Anisimova won seven straight games. The 17-year-old American was peaking at the beginning of the second set. I thought Halep hit too many balls to the Anisimova backhand. That shot is just an absolute delight as Anisimova used her backhand to open up the court. On a few occasions she went back behind Halep which was a nice move, and she also used the drop shot effectively.

Halep became more aggressive on return to get back to 4-4 in the second set. However, one of the storylines for Halep in this match was missed opportunities. Halep went one out of seven break points. The defending champ missed a break point at 4-4 in the second set – admittedly this particular point was a clutch save from Anisimova who produced a gutsy second serve out of nowhere. Anisimova regained control of the match and broke for the win.

A very credible title defence from Halep. It just wasn’t her day, starting a little flat and then not doing enough to disrupt Anisimova’s rhythm. Anisimova played a great match and demonstrated her mental agility and poise in what was the biggest match of her career so far. An incredible talent.

Stat watch ๐Ÿ”ข

After Halep’s departure, we are guaranteed a new Slam champ. Of the four players left, only Johanna Konta has reached a Slam semi-final before and none of them have ever made a Slam final. Exciting times!

Press highlightsย ๐Ÿ“ฐ

Amanda Anisimova and Ash Barty’s press conferences are linked below. Interesting that Anisimova said that she was happy to play again on Friday, while Barty thought the quarter-final win over Keys was one of her best matches on clay over the past month.

Recommended reading ๐Ÿ“š

A beautifully written piece by Matt Zemek previewing the Konta-Vondrousova semi-final.

Recommended listening ๐ŸŽง

The second half of the latest Tennis with an Accent podcast previewed the WTA quarter-finals and end of the tournament.

Tomorrow’s OOP โญ

The women’s semi-finals will be played on Friday. Who you got for the final?!?!

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17 thoughts on “Thursday’s Set Points, 2019 French Open Day 12: Barty vs. Anisimova for a place in the final

  1. I love women’s tennis more than mens tennis. But the uproar over the scheduling tomorrow is baffling to me. If they were to put one of the men’s semi finals on a smaller court, and put one of the women’s on Chatrier, the latter would be half empty and either of the men’s matches would end up turning people away… if there is any sexism in this, it’s the fans. The officials are just doing their jobs!

    As for the semis, I was really annoyed by a comment John Inverdale made when he said that “any of the four remaining could win, with Vondrousova maybe the exception”. I hope she goes on to win it, just to prove him wrong!

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    • I couldn’t agree more. I only follow the women’s game but the chosen scheduling is really the only possible solution. Friday is Men’s semi-finals day and the tickets will have been sold on that basis. The women’s matches have to be played at the same time to be fair to both finalists and need to be played at the earliest reasonable time to allow the fullest recovery.
      With the weather forecast looking as bad as it does, it’s all pretty moot, anyway!

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      • I just don’t understand the thought process? She hasn’t yet lost a set, she’s beaten three very strong seeded, clay court players (Suarez Navarro, Sevastova and Martic). Only Barty has really had a better year than her in terms of results. Why wouldn’t she have a shot at winning?! Is it because she plays Konta next? Because she’s beaten Jo before and took her to 3 sets a couple of weeks ago…

        I wish he’d stop getting paid to talk about tennis. He knows very little about it, never bothers to even learn how to say the names correct and blunders his way through events. How he didn’t get sacked after calling Kygios a jungle book character is beyond me!

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      • I seem to remember (although I may be wrong) that two years ago Inverdale stated that Vondrousova was about to beome the biggest star in women’s sport. He seems to have changed his mind (such as it is).

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    • Shame, there seems to be some rancour. IIRC, this was being discussed as far back as monday. Then, there was a chance they would shift the women’s final to Sunday and the men’s to Monday.

      I still enjoy both, men’s and women’s tennis. That aside, I try not to read too much into players’ press interviews, but Pliskova after her loss said the court was too heavy and slow. However, Sloane said the court was quite fast and bouncy/thin after her loss. If this is the general reflection, then the courts may have gotten progressively faster. It may favour the likes of Anisimova and Konta.
      Konta, I think, fares better against Anisimova in the final. Ash Barty has better variety and her doubles craft will make her a tougher opponent for Johanna. I feel Marketa may fare better against Barty though.

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      • I think the difference in speed was because of the weather. It was quite slow and damp at the start of the event, but it was very hot the day Konta beat Sloane.

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    • John Inverdale is, to put it politely, something of a loose cannon. He’s probably best known for saying that Marion Bartoli was “no looker” (she seemed to forgive him though).

      Victoria Azarenka has also had her issues with him after he commentated on one of her doubles matches;

      I’ll never forget Les Roopanarine’s comment in the Guardian after Aga had just lost a final, at Eastbourne; “As if things weren’t bad enough for Radwanska, she’s now talking to John Inverdale!”

      Does make me wonder, though, how hard they actually try to find someone more suitable to commentate on the game. I’m a big fan of Jo Durie’s laid back delivery for Eurosport, and Naomi Cavaday was good on the radio too so I know there are some who are up to the job.

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      • There’s only a couple commentators I can actually stand, Sophie Amiac being one. Most of them are insufferable. But Inverdale is just embarrassing…

        Liked by 1 person

      • Iโ€™m the same! I enjoy Sophie Amiachโ€™s commentary too, sheโ€™s my favourite on WTA TV. Always like Tracy Austin on BBC during Wimbledon and Chanda Rubin was good last year too.

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      • A loose cannon ๐Ÿ˜‚ heโ€™s always driven me mad. Iโ€™ve been watching on Eurosport so thankfully not had to endure his comments.

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  2. I’ve gone back to following tennis only sporadically. Don’t know why but I just didn’t feel it anymore. However, RG (my least favourite slam) and the fact I started playing tennis myself got me hooked on tennis again!!! I’m so excited for the semis and I absolutely love the final four line-up. I’d honestly be happy with any of them winning it:
    – I’ve always liked Konta’s agressive approach, I just didn’t think clay was her surface
    – I love Vondrousova’s drop shots… they are just so casual sometimes ๐Ÿ˜€
    – Ash Barty seems like such a nice human being and has a game full of variety.
    – haven’t paid that much attention to Anisimova but damn *that* backhand!!!

    soo prediction:
    Ash Barty d. Anisimova: Ash’s game might be able to disrupt Anisimova’s rhythm and I’m a little worried that the opportunity will overwelm Anisimova

    Vondrousova d. Konta: not so sure about that one, just a feeling that Konta might be feeling too much pressure… she’s obv the favourite on that side of the draw โ€” really on the fence with this one, haha ๐Ÿ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

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