Photo of Young Ash Barty Breaks the Internet After Triumph at French Open

By Reuters

PARIS—An adorable photo of a much younger Ashleigh Barty has gone viral on the internet after the young Australian smashed Marketa Vondrousova for six on Saturday to lift the French Open crown at Roland Garros.

Grinning with the smile of a future grand-slam winner, the photo was taken when Barty won a junior championship trophy at just 6-years-old.

One fan tweeted an edited photo with a small update, showing Barty holding her French Open trophy. That post went viral as well, to the point that it came up in one of Barty’s post-match interviews.

“That photo has gone far and wide across the world,” Barty said.

After ditching tennis to play professional cricket for a year, Barty’s game boasted a bewildering array of shots and spins as the eighth seed crushed her Czech teenage opponent 6-1 6-3 to win her first Grand Slam title, and Australia’s first French women’s singles crown in more than four decades.

“It’s unbelievable… I played the perfect match today. I am so proud of myself and my whole team… it has been a crazy two weeks,” said Barty in a touching speech when all was said and done. Thanking her coach and the team in her guest box, Barty said: “Thank you guys for sticking with me. It’s been the most amazing journey we’ve been on the last three years. And I feel like it’s just the start. Let’s go celebrate tonight.”

Barty also acknowledged former Australian tennis champion Evonne Goolagong Cawley for inspiring her to succeed. After Cawley in 1971, Barty is also now Australia’s second indigenous woman to win the French Open.

“This is a special place for Australian players… it has been a magical two weeks.”

“Evonne sent me a text a couple days ago and said this was her first grand slam,” Barty told the crowd. “I spotted her name on the trophy. I’ll give her a call a little bit later on.

“She’s created this path for indigenous tennis in Australia and I think now it’s becoming more nationwide.”

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Not since Margaret Court’s triumph in Paris in 1973 has an Australian won the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen but this victory was in very little doubt from the moment the final began.

In a match-up where guile and artistry always trumped power, Barty was simply smarter throughout.

Producing angles so sharp they might have come with a health warning, the 23-year-old carved apart Vondrousova in the opening set, clinching it in half an hour.

While the match was no classic, those fans who had taken a break after the conclusion of the Dominic Thiem-Novak Djokovic men’s semi-final which had caused the women’s final to run more than an hour late, missed some of the more thoughtful tennis played on the Roland Garros clay this past fortnight.

Vondrousova, who herself has bamboozled a succession of opponents here, repeatedly found herself outfoxed by Barty, whose doubles excellence was always on display with her net-play and cleverly angled serving.

Barty, who returned to tennis in 2016 after a successful stint with the Brisbane Heat in Australian cricket’s Women’s Big Bash League, took nary a backward step, breaking instantly in the second set to deprive her 19-year-old opponent any foothold.

Cracking a stiff-armed, two-handed backhand, in the manner of Jim Courier, Barty was able to counter Vondrousova’s attempts to pull her wide with her loopy left-handed backhand, and the Czech rapidly ran out of ideas.

Vondrousova turned to ever riskier strategies—her drop shots became finer, her drives more firmly struck—and she earned a little breathing space, holding serve three times after that early break.

But the irrevocable damage had been done and when Barty slammed a short smash high into the stands it was all over and she raised her arms in triumph.

Her boyfriend, Garry Kissick, shared a loving message on Instagram after the young champion’s win.

“Amazing! The puppies and I are so proud of you baby! Many more to come,” Kissick said.

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Amazing! The puppies and I are so proud of you baby! Many more to come ❤????

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He often posts photographs with Barty. A keen golfer, the pair have been dating for around two years.

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Gala goals ???????????? #hopmancup #perth #happynewyear

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By Ossian Shine. With reporting by NTD staff.