Deep Roland Garros runs are in the forecast for a few promising players that have proved themselves not only in 2021 but for quite some time. Sizzling Stars takes a closer look at these piping hot competitors that are ready to serve up bagels and French baguettes.
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Sizzling Stars: Barty locked and loaded heading into Roland Garros
The world No. 1 is a force to be reckoned with on the red stuff.
Published Jun 01, 2021
Ashleigh Barty set her racquets to the side following the 2014 US Open and announced she would be taking a break from the game. It was "too much, too soon," and she wanted to experience life from a non-athlete point of view.
After a year-long hiatus, she would return just in time for the grass court season and it was like no time had passed at all. In her debut, she would reach Eastbourne's semifinal round and in Nottingham would soar through qualifying, falling in a tough quarterfinal battle to Kristina Pliskova. For a player to reach a semifinal or quarterfinal is great, but after a year hiatus is astounding. There's no way around it, the Queensland Australia resident is an absolute gem of a player.
Now, as she sits atop the rankings, it will be interesting to see what the world No. 1 has planned in Paris.
A first-time Grand Slam champion
Let us not forget the Aussie became a major champion on Court Philippe-Chatrier when she posted a dominating 6-1, 6-3 scoreline over Marketa Vondrousova back in 2019. With the spread of COVID-19 in 2020, Barty chose to stay home and did not play any events following Doha in February—which meant she missed the opportunity to defend her title.
Coming in hot
Barty isn't sizzling, she's scorching! Having taken the title in Stuttgart and reaching the final in Madrid, she holds an 11-2 record on the red stuff in 2021. It's safe to say any opponent that faces her should proceed with caution.
Most titles in 2021
Besides her clay-court success this season, she also holds the most titles in 2021 on the WTA tour with three. The world No. 1 claimed her first tournament of the year on home soil at the Yarra Valley Classic, then would go on to take the Miami Open and Stuttgart.
The key for Barty might be not focusing on the result of match, but rather accepting that it will always be a chance to learn and grow as a player. When asked about her remarkable winning streak on the surface and if her approach or attitude has changed at all when playing on clay, she stated:
"I've learnt a lot more about it, without a doubt. I promise you, I'm still counting down to the grass court season. It's one of my favorite times of the year. I think the memories and the learnings now that we're getting from the red clay has been really cool, to be able to challenge myself in different ways."
If she keeps chipping away and manages to not get too wound up about match outcomes, it will be interesting to see the lessons she will learn in Paris.