Top seed Ashleigh Barty continued on course at the Nature Valley Open, moving into the final with a straight sets win over Naomi Osaka.
WTA Staff
June 16, 2018

NOTTINGHAM, Great Britain - Top seed Ashleigh Barty made it four straight sets wins in four matches this week at the Nature Valley Open and moved into her second final of the season with a 6-3, 6-4 win over No.3 seed Naomi Osaka. 

The World No.17 executed a measure of revenge against Osaka on Nottingham's grass courts, after Japan's No.1 defeated her on home soil at the Australian Open in January.

Barty proved in command for almost the duration of the 65-minute semifinal, winning 80% of the points played in her service games and breaking Osaka's heralded serve three times overall.

"I think it's been a very clean week for me. I've served well and gotten myself into return games very well," Barty said after the match. 

"I think when I first got on the grass, I instantly felt comfortable. I'm obviously feeling very good this week and I hope to go one more tomorrow. Being in a final again is always a positive no matter where you are."

The Aussie set the tone for the match with an emphatic love hold in the first game, and quickly built an early lead with a break. 

Though Barty dropped just nine points on serve overall in the match, four of those came in the fifth game of the first, in which Osaka managed to connect on returns and get the opener back on serve.

A love hold stretched Osaka's run of games to three straight, in which she won 12 of 14 points,  but Barty quickly righted the ship to flip the next three games to her side of the scoreboard and pocket the first set.

"I knew today I was going to have to step up another level, and I was able to do so. I'm pretty pleased with that."
Ashleigh Barty

Barty made another early break stand up in the second set as she never faced a break point on serve - and though Osaka saved a second break point in the fifth game, and a match point in the ninth, she was unable to win more than one point in any of the Aussie's service games in the set.

The top seed will look to raise her first trophy of the season against one of the two participants in last year's final, as defending champion Donna Vekic is set to face No.4 seed and British No.1 Johanna Konta.

"Those two had two cracking matches on the grass last year. You could barely split them in both of those matches," Barty said. "I lost to Jo here last year, so I think I can go in and play some pretty free tennis."