The momentum swings were mind-boggling, but given it was both their first Grand Slam semifinals, it’s hard to blame either player for any mental desertions and strategy struggles. When all was said and done, Barty played the cleaner match for the longer period, with 40 winners to Anisimova’s 41 errors.
Barty got off to a flawless start, winning 12 of the first 13 points. But instead of closing out the set at 5-0, 40-15, she wavered. Anisimova took full advantage and came storming back for 6-5, by swinging freely and hitting the pristine backhand winners that have taken her this far.
“I felt like that happened really quickly then I went away from what was working,” Barty said. “Amanda was so aggressive, she was able to take advantage of that.”
Barty’s normally steady serve, which was so effective against Madison Keys on Thursday, didn’t hold up against Anisimova, dipping all the way below 50 percent on first deliveries. She still had the early edge in the first-set tiebreak at 4-2, but again, Anisimova surged back, winning five points in a row for the set. With full momentum on her side, the 17-year-old American forged ahead to 3-0, extending her run to 17 straight points.
“I was really happy the way I was able to respond at a set and 3-Love and to really turn the match on its head, even though it wasn’t the best tennis in pretty tough conditions,” Barty said. “That’s probably, yeah, what I’m most proud of.”
To her credit, 23-year-old Barty remained perfectly calm. You don’t get to No. 8 in the world without some belief in yourself. She got on the board for 1-3, and then won seven games in a row. It marked Anisimova’s first dropped set of the fortnight.