Madrid Open: Ashleigh Barty, Iga Swiatek setup last-16 clash

Barty overcomes Tamara Zidansek in three sets, while Swiatek eases past Laura Siegemund in straight sets.

Ashleigh Barty in a file; Credit: Ashleigh Barty Twitter

The third round of the Mutua Madrid Open will see the two most recent Roland Garros champions take on each other. It all began with Tamara Zidansek forcing the No.1 seed Ashleigh Barty into a third set, but the Australian eventually prevailed to win the match 6-4, 1-6, 6-3. Meanwhile, No.14 seed Iga Swiatek got past Laura Siegemund 6-3, 6-3 to setup the mouth-watering third-round clash.

The 19-year-old Swiatek is the defending French Open champion, while Barty won the Grand Slam a year before that. Barty landed only 51% of her first serves on Saturday. “A really tough match,” she said after the match. “I felt my margins were a little bit off today. Made a lot of errors. I think I was missing in the right way, but still just a foot or two here or there makes a big difference. I felt like there were probably too many loose ones for me today.”

Following a slow service start, Barty needed to save three break points in the first set. Aces helped her to get out of those situations. The Slovenian, however, cracked at 4-4 with her first loose service game and Barty made the most of it to seal the set 6-4.

Zidansek bounced back in style to dominate the second set. The only concern was when she had to save four break points in its third game. There was no stopping after that as the Slovenian won the set emphatically.

Undeterred by the disappointment, Barty came back strongly in the third set. After saving a break point in the first game, the World No.1 broke Zidansek for 2-0. With momentum on her side, the Australian protected her lead to win the set and the match.

“I don’t think there was a lot in it by any means,” Barty said. “We had a lot of close games in the first set, early in the second set. In the third, as well, there were a lot of close games. I think the response early in the third was good. I was a bit more aggressive, was able to bring the match back on my terms.”

Elsewhere, Swiatek was cruising in her match after leading 6-3, 3-0. But Siegemund fought back to win three in a row. However, the 19-year-old Pole regained her form to see out the set.

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