Barty seeking revenge on Svitolina at China Open
After falling in a tight match to top-five star Elina Svitolina in the first round at Wimbledon, Ash Barty gets another crack at the Ukrainian in Beijing.
Ash Barty on Wednesday will get the opportunity to atone for a loss earlier this season that was hard to accept.
The young Queenslander tackles No.3 seed Elina Svitolina in the second round of Beijing’s China Open, a few months on from a painful loss to the Ukrainian in the opening round at Wimbledon.
Barty had arrived at the All England Club thriving on her favourite surface thanks to a run to the final in Birmingham. Svitolina, meanwhile, has historically struggled on grass and many had tipped the Aussie to spring an upset.
It looked even more likely when Barty surged to a 5-3 lead in the first set, until Svitolina escaped a 7-5 7-6(8) winner.
Outside of that performance, Barty has enjoyed a simply stellar season, verging, incredibly, on the top 20 after beginning the year at No.271.
According to Australia’s head of professional women’s tennis, Nicole Pratt, it’s losses like the one against Svitolina that have helped Barty improve immeasurably.
“I know the Wimbledon loss hurt – hurt a lot. Because she really did feel she could beat Svitolina in that match. And I think she just used that and motivated herself,” Pratt said.
“I think Ash is constantly assessing each and every match where she’s at, and especially the matches she loses, she really thinks about what she needs to do better. Not just for her development, but what she needs to do to beat that player next time. And that motivates her.
“As long as she’s thinking like that – which I’ve seen throughout this whole year – then I still think she’s got a lot of surprises up her sleeve for us.”
Barty is 0-2 against Svitolina in 2017, having also fallen to the world No.3 in three sets in a Fed Cup rubber against Ukraine in February.
But she’s beaten an incredible list of names in a breakthrough season, notably world No.1 and Wimbedon winner Garbine Muguruza, No.4 Karolina Pliskova, No.5 Venus Williams and No.7 Johanna Konta and Roland Garros champion Jelena Ostapenko, ranked No.8.
With three finals under her belt already this year – including a run to her first WTA title in Kuala Lumpur – the Australian has proven one of the more dangerous competitors in the women’s game, her success built around her solid serve, powerful forehand and unique versatility.
“One word to describe Ash in a lot of ways is phenomenal,” Pratt said.
“She just constantly surprises, to be quite honest. Taking a break from the game … She told me that she’s ready to play (again) and she wants to do it on her terms. And I think that’s exactly the right attitude, that’s the way to go about it. It needs to be on her terms, in her time, and the way she wants to do it.
“Just like as a junior, she achieved a higher success than she thought she would; she surpassed her goal in juniors and almost the same thing’s happened on her return. Every goal that she’s set for herself, she’s actually smashed it.
“So that’s a problem – she needs to keep reassessing (laughter). But it’s a good problem to have.”