There’s no Ashleigh Barty at Wimbledon this year, but that hasn’t stopped some fans from branding Harmony Tan a ‘reincarnation’ of the retired Australian.
Barty announced she was stepping away from tennis back in March, despite being ranked number one in the world at the time.
The 26-year-old won Wimbledon last year and was renowned for the completeness of her skillset, which saw her excel across all facets of the game.
And Tan, who pulled off a thrilling upset against Serena Williams on centre-court earlier this week, is beginning to draw the same comparisons.
Tan produces faultless performance
After stunning Williams on Tuesday, Tan then saw off Sara Sorribes Tormo in straight sets.
Today, up against Britain’s Katie Boulter, who produced a fine upset of her own on Thursday against Karolina Pliskova, the 24-year-old took her game to a new level.
The world number 115 made just five unforced errors and dropped two games all match on her way to a crushing 6-1 6-1 victory.
Boulter had hoped to emulate her compatriot Emma Raducanu and launch a fairytale run deep into the competition, but she had little answer for Tan’s relentlessly accurate groundstrokes.
An audacious tweener through the legs on break-point in the second set epitomised Tan’s newfound confidence and she appears to be in the form of her life right now.
The French star had never previously reached the third round of a major but has now won three successive tour matches for the first time.
Next up for Tan will be either Coco Gauff or Amanda Animisova. Both players are seeded, but given the 24-year-old’s form right now, it’s hard to tell who will start as the favourite.
Fans highlight Barty link
Tan is far from a big hitter, nor does she possess a mightily quick serve like some women on the WTA Tour.
Yet, her return game has been impeccable, her groundstrokes inch-perfect and her speed variation almost unplayable at times.
As a result, fans have been quick to compare her to Barty, who possessed many of these attributes herself.
One fan wrote: “Another incredible performance from Harmony Tan. Her ability to hit big and mix up pace reminds me of Ash Barty. Honestly, the way she handled that match was just as impressive as her win over Serena [Williams.]”
Another incredible performance from Harmony Tan. Her ability to hit big and mix up pace reminds me of Ash Barty. Honestly the way she handled that match was just as impressive as her win over Serena— Nick Carter (@nick_bcarter) July 2, 2022
Another echoed this idea and said: “Harmony Tan reminds me a lot of Ash Barty. The way she plays, the shot selection, the calmness, the game IQ, everything. And it’s her first ever #Wimbledon.”
A third added: “ Harmony tan is actually [an] Ash Barty reincarnation.”
Barty is a three-time Grand Slam champion and Tan still has a long way to go reach the same heights. But right now, she is the form of her life and it will be a tough ask to try and stop her.