Ashleigh Barty was in philosophical mood after losing out in the Madrid Open final to the ever-improving Aryna Sabalenka.
It was a rematch from the Stuttgart final a fortnight ago, with the Belarusian getting some revenge for her loss there by inflicting Barty’s first clay court defeat in 17 matches.
In blustery conditions in Madrid, Sabalenka started brilliantly, and even managed to bagel the world number one to take command of the match.
Typically, Barty responded with strength and forced a decider, but it was Sabalenka who edged a tight deciding set to take the title.
“It’s happened to me before, and I can guarantee it’s going to happen again,” Barty said after Sabalenka’s 6-0, 3-6, 6-4 win.
“She takes the ball out of my court, essentially takes the racquet out of my hand when she serves the way she did in the first set.
“There wasn’t much in it. We both had two or three breakpoints in that third set; she grabbed her opportunity, I didn’t grab mine. Not a lot in that match at all.
“There’s certainly no shame in losing a close one to a top-10 player. I have absolutely no shame about that, no regrets.
“I’m really proud of the time we’ve had since we’ve been away. It’s been a great start. We look to bigger and better things.”
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