Cruel blow for Barty's parents ahead of big dance

 

Ashleigh Barty's improbable charge to the French Open final has seemingly caught even her fondest two fans off guard.

Barty's parents will have to make do watching the biggest match of their daughter's life in Britain after failing to make it in time to Paris.

Planning to support the 23-year-old during the grass-court season, Josie and Robert Barty booked a flight to the UK last month and were only due to arrive hours before Saturday night's title match at Roland Garros.

Ash barty when she was just a bub
Ash barty when she was just a bub

Barty was the Wimbledon junior champion in 2011 at just 15 and most, including her devoted mum and dad, expected the All England Club to be the most likely setting for any grand slam breakthrough for the rapidly-rising 23-year-old.

The world No.8 - who is now assured of a rise to No.3 on Monday, or second in the rankings if she beats unseeded Czech teenager Marketa Vondrousova in the final - reached her maiden WTA Tour final on the Birmingham grass two years ago.

Barty then upended now-world No.1 Naomi Osaka en route to the title in Nottingham last year before a breakout third-round showing at Wimbledon - just two years into her comeback to tennis - confirmed her grass-court prowess.

WHAT TIME IS THE FINAL? 11pm AEST - weather permitting
HOW CAN I WATCH: Stream live on Kayo

Ash Barty has endured a wild ride at the French Open
Ash Barty has endured a wild ride at the French Open

While Barty's folks will have to wait to reunite with Australia's first grand slam finalist in almost eight years, the Queenslander won't be lacking support when she bids to have her name etched on the famed Coupe Suzanne-Lenglen. Barty's agent Nikki Craig has made a mad dash from Australia to France to be courtside on Saturday night.

Also in the Queenslander's courtside box will be long-time coach Craig Tyzzer, Australian Fed Cup captain Alicia Molik and performance coach Ben Crowe, a former sports psychologist for Barty's beloved Richmond AFL team.

If she wins, the champion's cheque for 2.3 million euros ($A3.72 million) should be enough to not have to place the champagne on ice for her jubilant parents.

Even the runner-up's 1.180 million euros ($A1.91 million) payday ought to be ample reward for the Barty party to celebrate Australia's best grand slam performance since 2010.

BARTY PROUD OF HER RESILIENCE

Her run to the final caps off an astonishing rise from No.623 in the world upon her return in 2016, to the cusp of being crowned the new queen of clay. "It's amazing. It's been an incredible journey the last three years," she said. 'I'm just so proud of myself the way we were able to go out there and handle it today.

"All things considered, we're in a pretty amazing place now." Barty survived a first set meltdown against Anisimova as she surrendered a 5-0 lead and two set points before losing a tiebreak.

She then found herself 3-0 down in the second set and staring down the barrel of of a crushing defeat to a player who doesn't turn 18 until August. But showing huge grit and determination the Ipswich native came from a break down in the second and third sets to set up the biggest match of her career. "I've probably never done that to myself before ... never been in that situation," she said.

"But I was really happy the way I was able to respond at a set and three-love (down) and really turn the match on its head.

Ash Barty could become Australia's first grand slam winner since Stosur in 2011
Ash Barty could become Australia's first grand slam winner since Stosur in 2011

"I'm just so proud of myself the way we were able to go out there and handle it today.

"All things considered, we're in a pretty amazing place now." After Wednesday's schedule was washed out in Paris, Barty will play her third match in as many days in the final.

But she believes the momentum will serve her well against a player that's enjoyed a break-out season of her own, reaching the last-eight at Indian Wells and Rome and the final at Istanbul.

"I think maybe a bit of a blessing in disguise that we're playing day after day after day just to keep the momentum going and to keep kind of the same routines ticking over," Barty said.

"Tyzz (coach Craig Tyzzer) and I and my whole team have worked so hard to try to get into these positions.

"Now that we're here, it's about enjoying it, embracing it, and having fun."


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