The 2021 Mutua Madrid Open final will be a clash of players with exceptional recent results on dirt, top seed Ashleigh Barty and fifth seed Aryna Sabalenka.
After clinching the 2019 French Open title, for 11 months Barty didn’t have an opportunity to play on the surface because of travel restrictions caused by the pandemic, until she won last month’s Porsche Tennis Grand Open in both singles and doubles.
Today’s win carries special significance as Badosa had eliminated Barty at their previous meeting at the Volvo Car Open on green clay to record her first career Top 10 victory.
Promoting the black version of the Nike Summer Victory Polo Dress, the world No.62 Badosa became the first Spanish woman in history to play the semifinals in Madrid. The 23-year-old is projected to enter the Top 50 for the first time when the rankings are updated on Monday.
Aryna Sabalenka advanced to the final without dropping a set, her latest victim being Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. The Belarusian has given up just 18 games in five matches at the 2021 Madrid Open, five in her 6-2 6-3 semifinal win.
When it comes to style, all eyes were on Pavlyuchenkova today, as the Russian introduced a bold animal print Lacoste polo shirt, created in cooperation with National Geographic.
The Madrid Open final will be a clash of claycourt titans. Barty is now on a 16-match winning streak on red clay, while Sabalenka has won nine of her ten matches on the surface this season.
They recently met in the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix final, when Barty took the champion’s trophy. The Australian also won their recent encounter in Miami quarterfinals and leads their head-to-head 4-3.
It’s likely that Barty still doesn’t even know who her final obstacle will be. When asked if she would watch the second semifinal, Barty responded:
I’m not quite on Spanish time. I’m Australian. Early to bed, early to rise.