- Ashleigh Barty and Aryna Sabalenka will meet for the third time in five weeks in the Madrid Open final
- World No. 1 Barty won the first two: in the Stuttgart final two weeks ago and in Miami in early April
- After a day off, the match will take place Saturday, May 8 at approximately 12:30 pm EDT
For the third time in a month, and the second time in two weeks in a big final, Ashleigh Barty and Aryna Sabalenka will meet.
Ashleigh Barty vs Aryna Sabalenka Odds
|Player||Spread||Moneyline||Total at DraftKings|
| Ashleigh Barty (AUS)||-1.5 (-103)||-127||O 22.5 (-105)|
| Aryna Sabalenka (BLR)||+1.5 (-124)||+102||U 22.5 (-121)|
Odds as of May 6
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Barty, who was among the pre-tournament favorites, now boasts a 16-match win streak on the red clay.
She won a grueling quarterfinal against Sabalenka at the Miami Open.
And then she came back from losing the first set against in the Stuttgart 500-level final two weekends ago, as Sabalenka collapsed a little bit in a 3-6, 6-0, 6-3 defeat.
— Tennis GIFs 🎾🎥 (@tennis_gifs) April 25, 2021
After the loss, Sabalenka fired her racquet in frustration towards the net, before she headed for the racquet tap.
The Belarussian knew she had been her own worst enemy.
Much More Time on Court for Barty
While Sabalenka has cruised through her first five matches, Barty was pushed to three sets on two occasions.
She also had a challenging (if straight-sets) victory over her successor at the French Open, 2020 champion Iga Swiatek.
Ashleigh Barty & Aryna Sabalenka Madrid Stats
|12||Total Sets Played||10|
|1h33 / 7h42||Average Match Time /Total Time||1h04 / 5h18|
|35 / 11||Aces / Double Faults||18 / 16|
|57%||2nd Serve Points Won||59.8%|
|16/39 (41%)||Break Points Converted||21/33 (63.6%)|
|24/30 (80%)||Break Points Saved||10/13 (77%)|
Barty Ends Badosa’s Home-Country Run
The 25-year-old Aussie, who was beaten by Paula Badosa last month in Charleston, avenged that defeat with a fairly comprehensive 6-4, 6-3 victory Thursday.
At one hour, 15 minutes, it was her shortest match by far since her first-round dismissal of Shelby Rogers, which took exactly an hour.
Barty on her Badosa rematch: “Was able to look after my service games a little bit better, build pressure on return. That's a massive part of it: not always winning points, but building pressure. Scoreboard pressure can be a big thing. That was a focus for me today.”#MMOPEN pic.twitter.com/4pykMiISLZ
— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) May 6, 2021
Sabalenka has been far more economical. Her longest match was an hour and 19 minutes against Daria Kasatkina in the second round. She lost six games – the most in her five victories so far.
She’s clearly enjoying the fact that unlike most events this year, there are plenty of cheering fans at her matches.
“For her it’s serving and first shot, being able to control the point. That gives her freedom on return games to be more aggressive and to really knuckle down. The balance for her must be really good this week,” Barty said of facing Sabalenka again. “The challenge is to get yourself into a position where she’s not controlling the court. It’s a massive challenge.”
Ashleigh Barty vs Aryna Sabalenka Head-to-Head
|25 (April 24, 1996)||Age||23 (May 5, 1998|
|Ipswich, Australia||Birthplace||Minsk, Belarus|
|11||Career WTA Singles Titles||9|
|No. 1 (June 24, 2019)||Career High Ranking||No. 7 (Jan. 25, 2021)|
|No. 1||Current Ranking||No. 7|
|$18,424,213||Career Prize Money||$7,474,204|
|24-3||2021 Won/Loss record||23-6|
Break-Point Conversion will be Key for Sabalenka
Through her first five matches in Madrid, Sabalenka has converted 63.6-percent of her break point opportunities.
In her two recent matches against Barty, she has failed to maximize those chances. In Stuttgart, she broke just twice in ten chances. In Miami, she went 0-for-7.
Sabalenka also won less than 50-percent of her second-serve points against Barty in both matches.
So the key to her success on Saturday won’t be her serve game; it will be her return game.
Ashleigh Barty vs Aryna Sabalenka Match History
|2021||Stuttgart (F)||Indoor Clay||3-6, 6-0, 6-3||Barty|
|2021||Miami (QF)||Outdoor Hard||6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-3||Barty|
|2019||Wuhan (SF)||Outdoor Hard||7-5, 6-4||Sabalenka|
|2019||Fed Cup (Brisbane)||Outdoor Hard||6-2, 6-2||Barty|
|2018||Zhuhai (RR)||Indoor Hard||6-4, 6-4||Sabalenka|
|2018||Wuhan (SF)||Outdoor Hard||7-6 (2), 6-4||Sabalenka|
|2018||Australian Open (1R)||Outdoor Hard||6-7 (2), 6-4, 6-4||Barty|
Match History Indicates Close, Tough Clash
The only “routine” victory in their seven-match rivalry came when Barty was literally playing on her home courts in Brisbane, just a half-hour from her hometown of Ipswich.
The proud Aussie also was representing her country, as it was a Fed Cup tie against Belarus.
Otherwise, it has been close and tight. There’s no reason to think it will be much different on Saturday.
The total games odds flip into the positive at 23.5. That seems likely; they went 24 in Stuttgart, and 32 in Miami.
Barty’s less-volatile temperament will likely tip the balance in this one. She can withstand the patches of untouchable power from Sabalenka and await her chances.
Best Bet: Barty (-127) in three sets (+330)