WTA Birmingham Classic Final Prediction: Ashleigh Barty vs Julia Goerges

Barty Birmingham Classic
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There are just two players left standing at the WTA Birmingham Classic as world #2 Ashleigh Barty looks to surpass her good friend and sometime doubles partner Julia Goerges in the final. But who will be the player holding the trophy on Sunday?

WTA Birmingham Classic final prediction

Ashleigh Barty vs Julia Goerges

Head to head: Barty 1-1 Goerges

This looks to be a fascinating grass-court matchup. Both players will surely consider themselves as having a real chance to deliver in the final. The story of the week for Barty has been keeping her level high and serving well in the big moments. Thus far she has managed to take everything in her stride despite the obvious pressure brought by the chance to end the week as world #1. While Goerges’ week started rather slowly against the talented Dayana Yastremska, where she was just two games from losing the match, she has gradually found her rhythm from the baseline. In her last two matches she has been in devastating form.

Barty’s tactical approach to this match will doubtless be fascinating to try and unpick. She’s going to have to be able to soak up some pressure. But Barty will need to be wary of not becoming too patient in this encounter. Her exceptional movement at the back of the court and solidity off both wings is something that has won Barty a lot of her matches, but offering too much of the initiative to Goerges in the baseline rallies could prove extremely costly for Barty.

If she gets stuck simply making balls, Goerges will be able to play the sort of aggressive first-strike tennis she excels at and push Barty around at will. The depth Goerges is able to manufacture with her backhand is also going to be key. Barty will need to stay away from the powerful Goerges forehand and do her best to neutralise the German’s big serve. That is easier said than done, but Barty will surely have to find a way to upset the rhythm of Goerges’ serve and forehand to come through.
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The key to Goerges’ tactical approach lies in its simplicity. She typically looks to dominate off the first serve, with her first delivery one of the best on tour. Indeed, the German compiled some of the best serving numbers on the WTA tour last year. She won a tour-best 73.8% of the points behind her first serve and also saved the highest percentage of break points. Two phenomenal statistics from the 30-year-old, which really illustrate how effective she is from the line.

Goerges beat Barty at this very tournament in the round of 16 last year, which could give her a valuable mental edge in the final. Goerges will know that she has the game to cause maximum damage and seems unlikely to lose focus in the face of Barty’s consistency. Often players can lose their conviction in their own game plans against the versatile Australian, falling prey to her attempts to draw them into a game of cat and mouse. But Goerges should be able to rely on her powerful strokes to overwhelm Barty.

On top of that it’s effectively a free hit for Goerges at the Birmingham Classic. Barty has all the pressure. She’s the form player after her French Open win and she’s the one that has to make things happen in order to get that world #1 ranking. As a result, the weight of expectation on the 23-year-old is extremely heavy. Goerges, in a marked contrast, has nothing to lose, which could well make her a dangerous opponent for the world #2.

But Barty has handled those pressures magnificently all week and should be able to do so again in the final. She’s got that winning feeling and nothing seems to be able to faze her. This match doesn’t seem likely to be the one where she loses control of the momentum she’s gained. Goerges does have the weaponry to take the racquet out of Barty’s hands, which should make for an entertaining contest, but Barty has sufficient quality off both wings and at the net to play on the front foot herself. Moreover, Goerges’ game is the more one-dimensional of the two. In the vital moments in this final, expect Barty’s greater variety to prove the difference.

Prediction: Barty in three.

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