Ash Barty does Ipswich proud with US Open breakthrough

The childhood coach of Ash Barty says the Ipswich tennis sensation’s breakthrough doubles win at the US Open at the weekend has lifted a “monkey off her back” and will improve her singles game.

Barty teamed up with American CoCo Vandeweghe to win the US Open women’s doubles title in a close three-set match, beating out Australian Open champions Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic.

Barty and Vandeweghe came back from a set down and had to save three match points for the win, with the final score 3-6, 7-6 (7-2), 7-6 (8-6).

It was the first time a women’s doubles grand slam match was decided in a third-set tiebreak.

Jim Joyce from West Brisbane Tennis Centre in Richlands coached Barty when she was a junior and remains close to the rising star.

“It’s fabulous, she’s a thoroughly deserving winner after losing four grand slam doubles finals previously,” he said.

“It’s definitely got that monkey off her back now. She was pretty nervous going into the match, saying things to me like ‘maybe it’s fifth time lucky’, so I’m glad she won.”

Joyce said the win would boost Barty’s singles game which has gone from strength to strength in the past two years.

Barty returned to professional tennis in May 2016 after time away from the sport’s top level due to burnout and has since climbed from 271 in the world to sit inside the top 20.

“I think it will give her that extra bit of confidence which can make a big difference,” he said.

“She has really matured into a different person and is handling the whole thing and the weight of expectation that comes with being an Australian tennis player so much better.

“Her goal at the start of the year was to maintain her position in the top 20 and I think after the US Open she should end up about 15th.

“She has a few more events to go this year with a few points to defend but she is in good shape to achieve that goal.”

Winning the US Open doubles title capped off a solid tournament for Barty who reached the fourth round of the singles competition, her first time making the second week of a grand slam.

Joyce said he truly believed Barty could win a singles title in the future.

“I actually do believe she can win a grand slam, and I think her favoured slam would be Wimbledon on the grass courts, she has always been strong on grass,” he said.

He said Barty had proven she could mix it with the sport’s finest and there was a “changing of the guard” happening in women’s tennis as big names such as Serena and Venus Williams, and Sharapova came back to the field.

“The top women’s players seem to be taking it in turns for who wins a grand slam and there have been so many different tournament winners lately,” he said.

“That changing of the guard is massive and presents a real opportunity.”

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