There will be two new grand slam singles finalists in the women’s draw after Simona Halep‘s shock defeat in the quarter finals. The unseeded Amanda Anisimova will face Ashleigh Barty for a spot in the final, playing the winner of the Johanna Konta-Marketa Vondrousova clash.
Barty is well familiar with the deep end of a slam, having made five doubles finals in the past – finally winning one at the US Open last year. However, it has taken until 2019 for her to have a legitimate breakthrough at a slam. She has followed up her Australia quarter final by going at least one better in Paris. Barty delivered in the key moments against Madison Keys, beating the American in straight sets 6-3 7-5. Having failed to serve out the match at 5-4, she would have been forgiven for a mini collapse but showed great resolve to break straight back and push on for the victory. Despite feeling clay is her worst serve, the Australian seems right at home this fortnight. “I felt for myself and my team, we have approached this clay court season a little bit differently to others. Have really enjoyed it, embraced it. Have been playing some pretty good tennis.” Barty said. “Ultimately I feel like when I’m able to play my game style and my kind of tennis, I can match it with everyone regardless what surface it’s on.”
Anisimova is the most unlikely of semi finalists, having crushed defending champion and favourite Simona Halep in Thursday’s quarter final. It was a wonderful display of hitting from the American, who had a great defender like Halep all over the place in the 6-2 6-4 victory. She almost blew the second set, going from 4-1 to 4-4 and break point down. However, she saved it and went on to break again to pull off a huge upset. “I have been playing very well. But today I knew I had to do something different, because playing against Simona, I mean, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy.” she said. “She’s an amazing athlete and player. I was just trying to show my best tennis and trying to play different from what I normally play, because I knew I had to do something a little bit different just to get the win.”
Anisimova will go into the semi final as the underdog but in the form showcased on Thursday, she absolutely a live outsider for this match and the title. Barty is going to make it scrappy and force the American to fight for every point but if she has another display of consistent aggressive tennis like this, it could end very quickly once again. “Even though it’s a first time for a few of us, and Jo has obviously had some exposure to semifinals before, you can’t take absolutely anything away from them,” Barty said of herself and the other semi finalists. “They have played amazing tennis. Even though they don’t have a seeding next to their name necessarily doesn’t mean they’re any less of a player.”
Prediction – Amanda Anisimova in three sets