Barty relishing partnership with ‘easygoing’ Vandeweghe

Published by Matt Trollope

CoCo Vandeweghe (L) and Ash Barty are among the tour's in-form doubles duos; Getty Images
The developing doubles partnership of Ash Barty and CoCo Vandeweghe continues to impress as they reach the Madrid Open quarters.

Ash Barty and CoCo Vandeweghe teamed up for the first time in March, were defeated in their first match at Indian Wells, and haven’t lost since.

The Aussie-American duo took their winning streak to seven thanks to a thumping 6-0 6-1 win over Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova in Madrid.

The victory moved them through to the quarterfinals where they will face Australian Open champions Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic.

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Babos and Mladenovic were among the teams Barty and Vandeweghe beat en route to the Miami Open title in March. They also beat Krejcikova and Siniakova in a one-sided final.

The pair are shooting for their second straight Premier Mandatory title – despite being an unseeded team.

“CoCo is a very easygoing chick,” Barty told Tennismash last month.

“Obviously she’s an amazing singles and doubles player – had massive success in doubles before. And I knew probably more so than anything that we would have a great personality match.

“We’re pretty much polar opposites. But I think we both know each other well enough to know when to go, and stop, and when to chat, and not to chat – we just have a little bit of a connection that way, when we just sort of know what to say and do. Almost being polar opposites helps in that way.”

Indeed, Barty and Vandeweghe are an increasingly rare breed of team made up of two stellar singles players; both are in the top 20.

Vandeweghe has enjoyed successful stints on the doubles court with fellow Americans, winning titles in Stanford last year (with Abigail Spears) and Indian Wells in 2016 (with Bethanie Mattek-Sands). She also partnered Martina Hingis to reach the 2016 Cincinnati final.

Barty enjoyed a hugely successful and long-running partnership with fellow Australian Casey Dellacqua; they reached the final at all four Grand Slam tournaments, most recently at Roland Garros in 2017.

That partnership ended when Dellacqua retired earlier this season.

With impressive doubles credentials to complement their singles success, it’s hardly surprising it’s taken Barty and Vandeweghe little time to gel.

“In Indian Wells we got a bit of a stiff draw and drew a very established doubles pair (in Gabriela Dabrowski and Yifan Xu),” Barty said.

“It was sort of our first taste, and we really weren’t far off; we were a couple of points from winning that match.

“And I think it was much the same in Miami, against Babos and Mladenovic in the first round. We were sort of like, man, can we have a team that’s maybe not so established so we can get our feet wet?”

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But they won that match, and have been unstoppable since.

They could develop into one of the world’s more dominant combinations, but Barty cautions against expectations that they will become a full-time duo on tour.

“We’ll play a little bit but both of us are very heavily invested in our singles,” she said.

“So I think doubles will be more used as an opportunity. Obviously when we play we want to win and do well, but we certainly won’t be playing a full schedule.”

Barty and Vandeweghe will face Babos and Mladenovic in the Madrid Open quarterfinals on Thursday.

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