Ash Barty wins Australian Open, ending 44-year drought

Ashleigh Barty is the first Australian Open women’s champion in 44 years coming from Australia.

In front of a cheering home crowd, the world No. 1 beat fierce upstart Danielle Collins 6-3, 7-6 (7-2) on Saturday to become the first Australian woman since Chris O’Neil in 1978 to claim the most wins in the country. famous tennis title.

Barty, who had to defeat three straight Americans to reach the title match against Collins, had been on a blistering streak heading into the final. Prior to her match against Collins, she hadn’t dropped a single set and had only lost 21 games – and only one of those losses was a service game.

But Barty had a much harder time against Collins, one of the fiercest competitors on the circuit. It took Barty 1 hour and 27 minutes to defeat Collins, far longer than the 1 hour and 1 minute average Barty had in his other six matches in the event.

“The most important part of this tournament is being able to share it with you,” Barty told the home crowd after the victory. “This crowd is one of the most fun I’ve played in front of. … You forced me to play my best tennis.

“It’s just a dream come true. I’m so proud to be Australian.”

Australia’s Ashleigh Barty makes a comeback against Danielle Collins in the Australian Open women’s final. (Photo by AARON FRANCIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Barty rebounds from 5-1, second set deficit

After Barty won the first set, Collins – who appeared to be dealing with a lower back problem – held on to open the second set.

Then Collins had a break.

The American broke Barty – the second break for Barty in the entire tournament – for a 2-0 lead, sealing it with a winner over the head. Collins survived a few break points in the next game – one from a fine cross winner – for a 3-0 lead.

Both players held their next service games as Collins took a 4-1 lead and then she beat Barty again to make it 5-1 as Rod Laver Arena got really quiet.

Then Barty started.

Barty was able to salvage one of the breaks in the next game to cut Collins’ lead to 5-2 and then hold it at 5-3.

Collins led 30-0 before Barty hit a pair of forehand winners and capitalized on Collins’ second serve to earn a break point, which she capitalized on to cut Collins’ lead to 5-4 and recover the service set.

Barty held the serve – finishing it with an ace – to make it 5-5.

Collins hit a wide forehand to open the next game on his serve, but regrouped and won the next four points to keep. Barty trailed 15-30 on his serve in the next game but won the next three points to force a second-set tiebreaker – the first tiebreaker for either player in the tournament .

The tiebreaker was all Barty.

Barty took a quick mini-break on the first point. Collins then hit a backhand while Barty took a 2-0 lead, and a forehand winner made it 3-0.

An overhead smash made Barty 4-0 as the crowd went wild. Collins eventually won a point to make it 4-1 but then hit a backhand into the net as they changed ends with Barty leading 5-1.

Barty and Collins traded points, leaving Barty with four match points. She only needed one as the forehand winner gave Barty the championship.

“Big congratulations to Ash,” Collins said on the field after the game. “I really admire you as a player. … Hopefully I can implement some [of your game] in mine.”

Barty’s party pending at the start of the first set

Barty went 40-0 in his first two service games to hold on fairly easily, but Collins showed no nerves and held his first two service games. Barty was taken at two in her next service game but again held for a 3-2 lead.

Then Barty got the break she needed.

With the score at 30-30, Barty delivered an easy forehand to make it 30-40. Then Collins – with the wind at his back at Rod Laver Arena – double faulted to give Barty the game and a 4-2 lead.

Barty rolled in his next service game – despite double faulting at 40-0 – for a 5-2 lead. Collins responded with an 0-15 deficit to hold to make it 5-3, but Barty had no trouble closing the first set on his serve with the wind at his back, winning it at love.

Barty was unbeatable

This is Barty’s third Grand Slam victory. She won the French Open in 2019 and last year won Wimbledon. Coincidentally, Barty had to beat Amanda Anisimova, Jessica Pegula and Madison Keys to win the French Open in 2019 – the same three women she beat last week to make it to the Australian Open final .

But no one really needed a mere coincidence to confirm what everyone has seen over the past two weeks. Barty was sharp, efficient and relentless, and she made everything look effortless. She looked set to reach the final from the moment she stepped onto the court for her first-round match.

Barty, who was the world No. 1 for more than 100 weeks in total, hasn’t given up the top spot in the WTA rankings since September 2019. With her victory at the Australian Open, she now has a grip of iron on the world n°1. 1. There’s a lot of incredible talent in women’s tennis at this level, but a lot of players lack the one thing it would take to knock Barty off the top: consistency. That’s what Barty has, and that’s what makes her so dangerous. And if she maintains the same level of performance and consistency, she could be nearly unbeatable this year.

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