Ashleigh Barty vs Mona Barthel, Australian Open R3 Preview

Australian Open, ?? Third Round Match preview
(wc) ?? Ashleigh Barty vs (Q) ?? Mona Barthel

A huge opportunity to reach the second week of a Grand Slam for the very first time presents itself to Ashleigh Barty and Mona Barthel when they do battle at the third round stage on Rod Laver Arena on Friday night. Barty and Barthel are both playing some of their best tennis in recent times, both have advanced to the third round without dropping a set, both will see this match as a golden opportunity reach a new high at the Grand Slam level. It will be interesting to see who can keep their head in what should be a nervy affair given what is on the line.

Ash Barty has made a very successful return to the tennis courts after spending some time away from the game whilst she played professional cricket. Barty’s only loss during the Australian summer has been a three set loss to Angelique Kerber at the Brisbane International (as well as a retirement in Hobart). Barty has looked very comfortable in her opening two matches at Melbourne Park, starting with a hard-fought 6-4 7-5 win over Annika Beck before claiming a 7-5 6-1 win over Shelby Rogers. What has stood out so far is Barty’s ability to remain composed under pressure, something she does very well for a 20-year-old. Maintaining that composure will be the key to victory on Friday night for the Aussie. 

Mona Barthel is having a great time in Melbourne. The injury-plagued German finally seems to have gotten things together and has made a brilliant start to the year. The German has already won five matches at Melbourne Park having come through the qualifying draw, Barthel has won all five matches in straight sets. Barthel started her main draw run with a 6-3 7-6 win over Destanee Aiava before capturing her biggest win of the tournament when she eliminated the 29th seeded Monica Puig, a 6-4 6-4 victory. Barthel has made it to the third round stage of a Grand Slam on four previous occasions, she will be keen to finally take the next step with a win over the young Aussie and reach the fourth round.

Barthel won the only previous meeting between the pair, a 2-6 6-0 6-1 win in Hobart way back in 2013.

This should be a close match, but anything could happen given the nerves that are bound to be involved in arguably the biggest match of each players careers. Both are very clean ball strikers from the back of the court, Barthel arguably has a bit more firepower but Barty has more variety, especially her backhand slice. I’m going to give the edge to Barty because she is the more stable player with a bit more to her game and also I think she will handle the occasion a little bit.

Prediction: Ash Barty to defeat Mona Barthel in 3 sets

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