World number eight Ashleigh Barty defeated 19-YO Czech Markéta Vondroušová in straight sets to win French Open & her first Grand Slam title on Saturday. The 23-YO Australian, who played as a cricketer in women’s Big Bash League in 2015 & 2016, won with a scoreline of 6-1, 6-3. Both the players were playing their maiden Grand Slam final.
PARIS – A cricketer no more, Ashleigh Barty confirmed the wisdom of her decision to return to professional tennis by winning her 1st Grand Slam singles title at the French Open on Saturday.
She capped her comeback with a 6-1, 6-3 victory over Marketa Vondrousova, an unseeded 19-YO from the Czech Republic.
On paper, it was a surprise that Barty, a 23-YO Australian, ended up the champion in Paris. She was seeded No. 8 & has played comparatively little on clay, arriving at Roland Garros with only a 15-13 career record on the surface.
But to those who have tracked her rise over the past two years, it was far from a shock. In a time of instability at the top of women’s tennis, she reached the quarterfinals of the Australian Open in January then won the Miami Open in March. She also has led Australia to Fed Cup victories this year over strong teams from the United States & Belarus.
Barty is the first Australian woman to win the French Open since Margaret Court in 1973. She is a popular figure at home, where her all-court game, her modest & plain-spoken personality, & her family history have struck a chord with both the younger & older set.
Her father, Robert, is an Indigenous Australian, & Barty, who is from Queensland, has taken on an increasingly prominent role as a tennis ambassador in that community, following the lead of Evonne Goolagong Cawley, the seven-time Grand Slam singles champion who also has Indigenous roots.
A tennis prodigy, Barty won the Wimbledon girls title at age 15. She was long considered the next great Australian player only to step away from the sport in late 2014 when she already was ranked in the top 50 in doubles. She was struggling with the expectations & the travel, & she decided to play professional cricket in Australia in 2015 before returning to the tennis circuit.