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Ashleigh Barty rallies to reach third round in Madrid

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No. 1 Ashleigh Barty of Australia held off Tamara Zidansek of Slovenia 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 for her 13th straight win on clay to reach the third round at the Mutua Madrid Open on Saturday.

Barty will face No. 14 Iga Swiatek of Poland, who had a 6-3, 6-3 win over Germany’s Laura Siegemund.

It was Swiatek’s ninth straight win on clay, dating back to her French Open win last year.

Barty, who won the previous French Open title in 2019, has never faced Swiatek.

Barty struggled with her first serve (51 percent) and unforced errors against Zidansek, but picked up a key break at 4-4 to take the first set.

Zidansek dominated the second set, the first set she’s won against a top 10 opponent, but Barty broke her early in the third set for a 2-0 lead and held on for the win.

“A really tough match,” said Barty. “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.”

Swiatek looked to be cruising with a 6-3, 3-0 lead, but allowed Siegemund to claw back to 3-3 before putting her away.

“I learned that you have to be patient,” said Swiatek. “Really, it was pretty hard to close that match. Match balls are pretty stressful because you know you’re almost at the end. Sometimes a crazy idea may come up. I tried to just be focused on my basic game, to play safe.

In other action featuring seeded players, Russia’s Veronika Kudermetova ousted No. 7 Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands 6-4, 6-3; No. 9 Petra Kvitova of Czech Republic beat Germany’s Angelique Kerber 6-4, 7-5; and Latvia’s Anastasija Sevastova beat Great Britain’s Johanna Konta, seeded 15th, 6-3, 6-3.

Also advancing Saturday was Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur, who beat American Sloane Stephens 4-6, 6-1, 6-3.

The final of the WTA 1000 tournament is scheduled for May 8.

–Field Level Media

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