Home favourite Ash Barty claims first Australian Open title

Jonathan Davies in Australian Open 29 Jan 2022
Barty captured the third Grand Slam singles title of her career (DAVE HUNT/AAP/PA Images)

Ash Barty won her first Australian Open singles title after defeating Danielle Collins 6-3, 7-6(2) in the final on Saturday.

The world number one ended Australia’s 44-year wait for a women’s singles champion at Melbourne Park, with Chris O’Neil enjoying the last such success in 1978.

Barty hit 10 aces on the way to sealing a third Slam in just under an hour-and-a-half – adding to her victories at Roland Garros (2019) and Wimbledon (2021) – meaning she has now triumphed on all major surfaces.

The first female Australian singles finalist since Wendy Turnbull in 1980, Barty had achieved the feat without dropping a single set along the way.

The top seed landed the first blow of the final in game six; an untimely double fault from Collins at 30-40 resulting in a crucial break.

Winning 94 per cent of points behind her first serve, Barty held to love in the ninth to take the opening set.

Collins had recovered from losing the first set against Clara Tauson and Elise Mertens on the way to reaching her maiden Slam final.

And the 27th seed responded in an ideal manner; breaking in game two of the second to take early command, while pressing home that advantage after rescuing two break points for a 3-0 lead.

The American then broke to 15 in the sixth for 5-1 and the pressure on Barty was appearing to tell.

But roared on by the raucous home crowd on Laver, the world number one hit back immediately and reduced the arrears to 5-4 when Collins sent a loose backhand into the tape.

The next three games went with serve to force a tie-break, but it was one-way traffic from there.

Indeed, Barty dominated proceedings before a huge forehand winner – her 30th of the contest – completed leg three in her quest for a Career Grand Slam.

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