PARIS (AFP) – Ashleigh Barty aims to end Australia’s 46-year wait for a Roland Garros women’s singles champion on Saturday when she faces Czech teenage breakout star Marketa Vondrousova.
Margaret Court was the last Australian woman to triumph in Paris in 1973 when she won her fifth and final title in the French capital after 1962, 1964, 1969 and 1970.
That was part of a golden era for Australian women with Lesley Turner (1963 and 1965) and Evonne Goolagong (1971) also triumphing at the clay court Slam.
“It would be incredible,” said 23-year-old eighth seed Barty on her chances of adding her name to that storied roll of honor.
Barty, like her 19-year-old Czech opponent, is in her maiden Slam final having laid down a marker by making the quarter-finals of a major for the first time on home ground in Australia in January.
“It’s an amazing opportunity for myself and my team. Like I said, we have worked so hard to put ourselves in these positions,” she said after her 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-3 win over 17-year-old American Amanda Anisimova.
“Now we get to go out there and really enjoy it. That’s the only way to approach it is to go out and enjoy it, have fun, try and play with freedom. That’s ultimately when I play my best tennis and that’s what we are after.”
Barty’s place in a Slam final is remarkable given that four years ago she quit tennis to play professional cricket.
Vondrousova has reached the final without dropping a set, seeing off Britain’s Johanna Konta 7-5, 7-6 (7/2) in her semi-final.