Ash Barty deflated Spanish hopes with her 6-3, 6-3 defeat of Paula Badoso on Thursday to win her 16th clay match in a row for a spot in the Madrid Masters semi-finals.
The world No. 1 is now into her fourth final of the season after a pre-Australian Open outing in Melbourne plus Miami and Stuttgart.
The Australian stands 25-3 as she waits for the winner from Aryna Sabalenka and Anastasia Pavlychenkova.
“I think the conditions here reward good serving, particularly when it’s warm,
like it has been the last couple days,” Barty said after a six-ace performance.
“It’s lively, the balls are quite hard. But it rewards getting up and hitting your spots, getting after your serve.”
The player who owns the 2019 Roland Garros title is still not totally convinced by her clay prowess and has the summer grass season in the back of her mind.
“I’ve learnt a lot more about clay, without a doubt. ,” she said. “But I’m still counting down to the grass court season.
“It’s one of my favorite times of the year. The memories and the learning now that we’re getting from the red clay has been really cool, I’m to be able to challenge myself in different ways.”
Badosa had handed Barty a clay loss earlier this season in Charleston, for which the seed took her revenge.
That included 30 winners and victory on a sixth ace on match point. “You have to learn from every game, every match you play against an opponent,” said Barty. “I definitely learnt a lot from the match we played in Charleston. There was a small adjustment. I think just learning from some of her patterns, tendencies that came through and showed through in that match in Charleston.
I think I was just able to control the court a little bit better. I was able to look after my service games a little bit better, build pressure on return games. 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.”