Barty chains Paula Badosa

Badosa serves during the match against Barty in Madrid.

If tennis awarded a prize for intelligence, Ashleigh Barty would be the undisputed winner of the women’s circuit. It is endorsed by his number one and also the umpteenth demonstration of knowing how to play, knowing how to rally and turning each of his games into a hieroglyph. This time, the mess was for Paula Badosa, who tried to undo the enigma, but fell into the networks of the Australian, like almost all her rivals. 6-4 and 6-3, in 1h 15m. In other words, the end of the Madrid dream for the Catalan, who stayed one step away from the final, but left with a good taste in her mouth. There can be no buts. Badosa, 23, continues to add.

There is little to be blamed for, because he had the most reliable player in front of him and also the one with the best ball. There is no other like her, a strategist like no other and with a twenty-four-carat wrist. The same accelerates the pause, the same deepens the scoring of the ball and forces the kidney to bend over and over again, through that cut backhand that tears the opponents apart. Badosa resisted for 40 minutes, until by dint of entangling, entangling and making him think, the Australian took the cat into the water. There he broke for the first time, tilted the terrain in his favor and sowed victory. One hundred percent Barty.

It is not by chance that it is the most solid reference among women. He has governed without interruption since September 9, and that last year he decided to open a parenthesis that lasted practically a year, from February to January. It was not clear to him that traveling and the bubbles were clear, but on his return he is still sweet. He grew up in cement and loves grass, but his chameleonic game also allows him to dominate the land record, where he links 15 consecutive wins on European territory: the seven he accumulated when he triumphed at Roland Garros (2019), four in Stuttgart and the five that he has collected these days in Madrid.

Maybe he does not have the aggressiveness that defines the modern pattern, but his tennis tides. It moves perfectly, thinks, processes. And it hits when it should hit. Badosa stood up to him until she found herself at a dead end, forced to row at every point. After saving two set balls, he double-faulted and enabled the Australian to demarcate. The second set rose with a break, but the reply, blank, was immediate. The discussion was over. The backlash was devastating. Barty (25 years old) returned to the charge and took another bite to happily line the final of the Caja Mágica, where his top was the quarters of 2019.

In that same Caja Mágica (Saturday, 6.30 pm) Aryna Sabalenka or Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova will be measured. He will do it with the four titles that he has packed in his backpack this season. He claimed to have taken his lesson, that he had found answers to the defeat he suffered three weeks ago against Badosa in Charleston, and blocked the way to the Spanish. This one disappeared three balls of break in the fifth game, and that’s where it all ended. But he closed the journey in Madrid very reinforced. Has made 20 jumps in the ranking (42nd), she has three semi-finals this year – Lyon and Charleston before – and she stands out as an interesting competitor. It was his best tournament. He has serve, he is right and he is hungry. It has only just begun.

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