Australia’s world no. 1 Ash Barty has consolidated her hold on the top spot in women’s tennis after completing a dominant Australian Open campaign.Embed from Getty Images
The Queenslander didn’t drop a set throughout the fortnight as she claimed her maiden Australian Open title after defeating USA’s Danielle Collins 6-3, 7-6(2).
After an even start to the match, it was Barty that surged away in the first set after breaking Collins in the sixth game. Barty would consolidate the break before Collins held to see the set at 5-3.
The Australian showed no nerves as she served out the first set to love.
In the second set, it was Collins that was looking more settled after a nervous first set. The world no. 30 held serve before breaking Barty’s serve in the second game.
Collins fought off several break points in the third game before holding for a 3-0 lead.
Barty looked to be struggling when broken for the second time in the sixth game to see Collins serving for the set at 5-1.Embed from Getty Images
Barty quickly hit back and won four straight games to level at 5-5. She had changed her tactics and played more aggressively.
“Once I was 1-5 down, I just wanted to try and shift and be a little more aggressive, adjust a couple of things tactically just to get momentum if we went to a third,” Barty said.
“Tennis is a funny game with the scoring system. Things can change so quickly it feels like at times.”
Collins held for 6-5 before a Barty hold saw the second set go into a tiebreaker.
Barty raced to a 4-0 lead in the breaker as Collins had two unforced errors and Barty hit two winners. Another unforced error from Collins saw the score at 5-1.
The Australian had to just wait a few more points before hitting a winner to claim the Australian Open title.
As Barty saw her shot head towards the backstop she let out an almighty roar, most unlike Barty, but a celebration fitting of such an occasion.
“It was a little bit surreal,” Barty said of that moment. “I didn’t quite know what to do or what to feel.”
Barty had sealed the title without dropping a set.
Fittingly the first person to hug Barty in the celebration was Casey Dellacqua. It was Dellacqua that encouraged Barty to have a hit to start her comeback after a period when Barty took a break and played cricket.Embed from Getty Images
Barty and Dellacqua also had a successful doubles partnership where they reached three Grand Slam finals in 2013 and they played their last match together at the Fed Cup tie in Canberra in 2018 against Ukraine.
“This is just a dream come true for me,” said an emotional Barty. “I’m so proud.”
“As an Aussie, the most important part of this tournament has been able to share it with so many people,” Barty said.
“The crowd has been nothing shy of exceptional. This crowd is one of the most fun I’ve ever played in front of and you brought me so much joy out here today. You relaxed me and forced me to play my best tennis.”
Barty joins Serena Williams as the only active players to have won Grand Slams on three different surfaces. She will be looking for a career Grand Slam when playing at the US Open later this year.
“To have a Grand Slam title on each surface is pretty amazing,” Barty admitted. “I never probably thought it would ever happen to me. So very, very lucky and very humbled and privileged.”
The occasion was capped off by a surprise visit by Evonne Goolagong Cawley to present the trophy.
Goolagong Cawley is herself a four-time Australian Open champion.
|Australian Open women’s singles – Aussie champions – Open era|
|Margaret Court||1969, 1970, 1971, 1973|
|Evonne Goolagong Cawley||1974, 1975, 1976, 1977|
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