Barty looks to end 46-year Aussie drought in Paris

Barty becomes the first Australian to reach the French Open final since Sam Stosur in 2010 and now faces unseeded Czech Marketa Vondrousova in Saturday's decider.

This is Ashleigh Barty's first singles Grand Slam final but considering her recent form, the Australian will be confident in her ability to win the title. Rafa Nadal goes in search of his 12th French Open title but don't count out Novak Djokovic. From there, Anisimova began playing the way she did in her upset Thursday of defending champion Simona Halep - and Barty suddenly lost her way. She likes to be different, and that difference makes her a tough opponent.

The match was played in an atmosphere more associated with first-round ties rather than semi-finals - in front of a smattering of spectators on the 5,000-capacity arena.

What a day at the Roland Garros 2019!

Having said that, it's interesting to note that in those previous encounters, she made little in the way of inroads into Barty's serve, with the Australian holding well in excess of 80% of service games against Vondrousova - if Vondrousova is to lift the trophy, she will need to address that for sure. "I don't think it will sink in, at least not for today".

"I don't feel like I came into this week trying to prove anything to anybody, including myself".

"It was pretty brutal out there and I was proud of the way I was able to fight and scrap and find a way after I pretty much threw away that first set", she said. The last player to reach the French Open final without losing a set? That's the only way to approach it is to go out and enjoy it, have fun, try and play with freedom. I thought I wasn't going to play, so I was just sleeping. "I can't wait to see what happens tomorrow".

Barty led 5-0 in the first set and lost it, while a similar fate befell Anisimova in the second despite the American establishing a 3-0 lead. The Spaniard got his twelfth Parisian final, beating the eternal rival in three sets, in the thirty-ninth meeting between the two, with Rafa now leading 24-15.

Anisimova then got broken there, opening another four-game run for Barty. Both are also known for the ability to preempt points and construct them with some wily shots, so it will be as much a game of wits as it is of skill here.

In a good sign for the Aussie, the pair have met twice before with Barty winning both matches. "Yeah, I mean, it's insane", said Anisimova, who was born in New Jersey to Russian parents and moved to Florida when she was 3.

Experience will be on Barty's side in the women's singles final, but if anyone can pull off the seemingly impossible, it is Vondrousova. Thiem, reached the semifinals in Paris for the fourth straight year, easily eliminating No. 10 seed Karen Khachanov 6-2, 6-4, 6-2.

No grand slam has produced more teen women's winners than the French Open.

What Anisimova does have in common with Sharapova, whom she met for the first time past year, is that she is closing in on becoming a Grand Slam champion at age 17, just like Sharapova was at Wimbledon in 2004.

  • Julie Sanders