Barty Conquers Kerber, Into First Cincinnati Final

By Richard Pagliaro | Saturday, August 21, 2021



World No. 1 Ash Barty banged 12 aces beating Angelique Kerber 6-2, 7-5 to reach her sixth final of the season in Cincinnati without surrendering a set.

Photo credit: Getty

When Ash Barty isn’t chasing a fuzzy yellow ball around the court, she enjoys teeing off as a form of relaxation.

Accomplished amateur golfer Barty brought ball-control mastery to the blue Cincinnati court.

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Driving the ball deep and showing a subtle short game, Barty clubbed a 6-2, 7-5 victory over Angelique Kerber advancing to her sixth final of the season at the Western & Southern Open.

The world No. 1 has not dropped a set in four tournament wins, including three in a row over Grand Slam champions Victoria Azarenka, Barbora Krejcikova and Kerber.

The top-seeded Aussie improved to 39-7 on the season, including an 18-3 mark on hard courts.

Barty will play for her 13th career title and her fifth championship of the season when she faces 76th-ranked Jil Teichmann in tomorrow’s final.

The Swiss wild card continued her wondrous upset ride through the field defusing Karolina Pliskova 6-2, 6-4. Teichmann reached her first final since Lexington last summer when she was runner-up to Jennifer Brady.  

Today’s first semifinal was a rematch of last month’s Wimbledon semifinals, which Barty won. A brilliant Barty burst through 11 straight points fighting off 2018 champion Kerber 6-3, 7-6(3) soaring to her first Wimbledon final a decade after she captured the Wimbledon girls’ junior champion as a wide-eyed teenager.

The Barty serve set the tone for this rematch. Barty cracked 12 aces against one double fault and dropped only nine points on her first serve. When Barty wasn’t sliding game-ending aces, she was pressuring the former world No. 1’s serve. Barty won 15 of 20 points played on the German’s second serve and broke serve five times as her ability to assert offense at crunch time overcame Kerber’s counterstrikes.

In a rousing opening game, Barty banged a pair of aces and spun a forehand winner down the line in a strong hold. A scrambling Kerber countered an audacious angle and nudged a drop volley ending an athletic point to hold in her opening game.

The three-time Grand Slam champion tested the Aussie to deuce in two of her first three service games. Barty pumped her fourth ace holding for 3-2.

The Barty slice was biting low on the quick blue hard court. Barty deployed the dipping slice to set up a running pass that helped her gain triple break point. Channeling former world No. 1 Martina Hingis, Barty dabbed a drop shot return winner off an 85 mph second serve breaking at love in the sixth game.

A free-flowing Barty tested Kerber with a lob then bumped a backhand pass crosscourt taking her fourth game in a row to snatch the 27-minute opening set. Kerber won just two of nine second-serve points dropping service twice in a row to close the set. Barty more than doubled Kerber S winner total, 13 to 6.

Deception on Barty’s serve is predicated on her ball toss. The Wimbledon winner can generate a variety of spins off the same toss. Barty has a knack for hitting the game-ending ace; she pumped her seventh ace down the middle sealing her opening game to start the second set.

Unable to match the top seed’s skill earning free points on serve, Kerber tried squeezing her forehand closer to the lines. The German narrowly missed the mark on a forehand down the line as Barty broke for the third time in a row.

On a six-game roll, Barty created her own stumble botching a smash and netting a half volley as Kerber stopped her slide at six straight games breaking back for 1-2.

When Kerber posed pressure with return, Barty reached back for more on serve. Snapping off her 11th ace, Barty held for 5-4. Barty closed in one hour, 14 minutes beating Kerber for the fourth time in six meetings.

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