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Tennis-Master coach Cahill plots Barty demise at Australian Open

Randy Mancini 3 Jan 22
Australian Open
Tennis - Australian Open - Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia - January 19, 2022 Australia's Ashleigh Barty in action during her second round match against Italy's Lucia Bronzetti REUTERS/James Gourley

January 22, 2022

By Courtney Walsh

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – As Ash Barty was ascending the ranks of women’s tennis, renowned Australian coach Darren Cahill regularly predicted the Queenslander was a champion in the making.

Leading into the 2019 Australian Open, when Barty was still to reach a Grand Slam quarter-final, Cahill described her as “the real deal” and she ended the year as world number one having claimed a maiden major title at Roland Garros.

But now, working with Amanda Anisimova, the champion coach is tasked with plotting the downfall of the player seeking to become the first local to win the Australian Open since 1978.

Anisimova ended the Australian Open defence of Naomi Osaka with a stunning upset on Friday night and will now play Barty in the fourth round on Sunday.

While commentating on Australian television on Friday night, Cahill downplayed the impact he has had on Anisimova, noting he had only been part of her team for a month.

But American John McEnroe said on Eurosport he is certain Cahill, who coached Simona Halep, Lleyton Hewitt and Andre Agassi to the world’s top ranking, has already helped her.

Florida resident Anisimova, 20, is unbeaten this year and claimed the Yarra Valley Classic the week prior to the Australian Open.

“He’s been a great addition to my team the last couple of weeks,” Anisimova said.

“He tries to help me stay calm and relaxed and … does a great job of, you know, telling me those things.” 

With Osaka out of the way, Barty’s path to the title is clearer and she has won 14 of the 18 matches she has played against the women left in the top half of the draw.

That includes a victory over Anisimova in the semi-finals of the French Open in 2019.

(Reporting by Courtney Walsh in Melbourne; Editing by Peter Rutherford)