By Ros Satar at the Nature Valley Classic, Birmingham

  • Ashleigh Barty [2] v Julia Goerges [8]
  • Barty just one win from the World No. 1 spot
BIRMINGHAM, UK – Having partnered up in doubles this week, Ashleigh Barty faces Julia Goerges for the Nature Valley Classic title – and the World No. 1 spot

 

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Ashleigh Barty [2] v Julia Goerges [8] | Tied at 1-1

Newly minted Roland Garros champion Ashleigh Barty continues her rise with the ultimate spot now in her cross-hairs. She will face Julia Goerges in the final having pulled out of the doubles with her with a slight right arm injury.

Barty has yet to drop a set here, and so far, has been a rarity in recent maiden Grand Slam champions in that she seems to be able to glide through all the additional attention with consummate ease.

Whatever happens on Sunday afternoon, we will have a new champion crowned, with Barty the only one to have won a title on grass (2018 Nottingham champion). That is not to say that Goerges cannot perform on the green stuff either. She reached the Mallorca final in 2017 and was a semi-finalist at Wimbledon last year.

Ashleigh Barty after her first round win at the Nature Valley Classic, Birmingham 2019

Ashleigh Barty after her first round win at the Nature Valley Classic, Birmingham 2019 | Jimmie48 Tennis Photography

Having partnered Goerges this week in doubles, Barty knows that she has a battle on her hands.

“She’s got an incredibly destructive game which this week has been on my side of the net, which has been very nice. She has the ability to control the game from the get-go and if I play Jules, it will be important to try and bring in that variety and neutralise as much as possible.”

Julia Goerges in the semi-final of the Nature Valley Classic, Birmingham 2019

Julia Goerges in the semi-final of the Nature Valley Classic, Birmingham 2019 | Jimmie48 Tennis Photoraphy

For Goerges, who had wanted to partner Barty in doubles for some time and was thrilled they had the chance to do it here, she also knows that that it comes down to how she controls what happens on her side of the net.

“It is not a big secret of playing each other since we practice all the time together. I just try to play my game being aggressive and doesn’t really focus too much on the opponent because it’s up to myself, it is in my hands, and I can only control what I can do and not what my opponent is doing. So, I just focus on being the same what I did the last three matches, or four matches here.”

German Tennis is enjoying quite a time on grass with defending Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber reaching the semi-finals in Mallorca, and now Goerges reaching a final here.

“I think since last year I think I just changed the way I play on grass. I mean Angie was always playing well on grass, I think that was the first Grand Slam I expected her to win actually with Wimbledon, rather than US Open and Australian Open because I think her game suits so well on grass.

“I’m just very happy that I bring it together on grass as well now and, for German tennis, it’s great to see that we are both playing really well on that surface.”

Barty brings a complete package of variety but knows that Goerges can match her in terms of playing chess on the court. We can expect a lot of mileage between the pair as they move around the court to exploit angles, and close out at the net.

This is a fine match up, and with a lot on the line, we have seen Barty perhaps wobble – her semi-final against Amanda Anisimova saw her go from a commanding lead in the first set to losing it and having to come from behind to book her place in the Roland Garros final so she can wobble.

Goerges has every skill in the book to take this title and the No. 1 spot from her, but it really does feel like it is Barty’s time.

Prediction: Barty in three sets.

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