Ashleigh Barty prepares to return service in her match against Maria Sakkari on Thursday at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati. Barty once again faced an uphill battle in Cincinnati at the Western & Southern Open as she fought to get her way out of the first set. The result was her first trip to the semifinals at the Open after a 5-7, 6-2, 6-0 victory over Maria Sakkari.
Barty, who lost the number one spot in the world could, with one more win, regain that position, and with the U.S. Open weeks away, that would put Ashleigh Barty is an advantageous position. Commenting on her performance, Barty said,
“Still not quite there, but we’re getting better and better each match. I think that’s the beauty of being able to stay alive in the tournament is to give myself an opportunity to keep getting better. I think I’m still aiming to, obviously, do very well here. But the big picture is New York in 10 days’ time.”
Barty came out strong in the opening set quickly moving ahead 5-2 but watched as the comfortable lead slipped away after The French Open champion will want to work on those first sets before Maria Sakkari began to play more aggressively. This was the second back-to-back match where Barty has to rally from behind after losing the first set.
The same occurred in her third round match on Thursday against Anett Kontaveit and was one she former No.1 women’s player thought she would face so soon again, especially in the same tournament. Commenting on the situation she found herself in, Barty said,
“There is certainly no panic, where it gets to the stage where I’m kind of overwrought or can’t think straight. I’m still able to, more times than not, have the ability to relax and kind of stay clear and come back to what works.”
Barty will now move on to the semifinals where she will be pitted against Svetlana Kuznetsova, who earned her place in the semis after her three set victory over Karolina Pliskova. Kuznetsova, who missed the beginning of the season due to an injury to her knee. This is her ninth event of the year and is still dealing her the effects of her injury, one that required treatment during her match against Pliskova.
In men’s tennis, Yoshihito Nishioka exited the tournament due to feeling ill, and that saw David Goffin advancing to the semifinals. Nishioka, until his exit had been having a solid performance after defeating Kei Nishikori, and also won his match against Alex De Minaur. Goffin will now play Richard Gasquet, who after a victory over Roberto Bautista Agut, advanced to the semifinals. Gasquet, who has seen his ranking drop in the last six months as a result of an injury to his groin, will be playing his first semifinal since 2013.
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