Ash Barty will no longer have to think about the 1970s to prepare for the Australian Open.
Top-ranked Barty defeated Danielle Collins 6-3, 7-6(2) in the final on Saturday night after going 5-1 in the second set, ending a 44-year drought for Australian women at her home Grand Slam. done. Tournament.
The pressure is on the 25-year-old Australian, who has made a remarkable career comeback after taking time off – missed every Grand Slam tournament in 2015 and ’16 – and briefly flirted with taking a professional cricket career after three first rounds in 2014 exits from large companies.
Barty, usually reserved since Chris O’Neill won the women’s title in 1978, let out a sigh of joy when she finally made sure she was the first Australian singles champion here.
“Yeah, it was a little surreal,” she told Melbourne. “I didn’t know what to do or what to feel, and I think just to be able to take out a little bit of emotion, which is a little unusual for me, and to be able to celebrate with everyone out there. The crowd, the energy tonight was incredible.”
look | Barty ends Australian drought with final win
Barty now has Grand Slam singles titles on three surfaces, on grass at Wimbledon last year and adding hard courts at Melbourne Park to her victories on clay at the 2019 French Open. She joined Serena Williams as the only active player on the women’s tour with majors on all three surfaces.
“It’s just like a dream come true for me,” said 25-year-old Barty. “I am very proud to be Australian.”
Tennis icon with seven Grand Slam singles titles and a trailblazer for Australia’s Indigenous athletes, Ivonne Gulagong Kawle was a surprise guest to present the champion’s trophy to Barty, who is part of the new generation of Indigenous stars.
‘So much love’
O’Neill was also involved in the night, after carrying the trophy to the stadium for the pre-match ceremony.
“I am an incredibly lucky and lucky girl to have so much love in my corner,” Barty thanked her coach and support team, her family, the tournament organizers and the crowd.
Barty did not miss a set and won only one service game in six matches against American Amanda Anisimova in the fourth round.
The 28-year-old Collins was the fourth American to face Barty in four consecutive rounds. Barty defeated Anisimova, Jessica Pegula and 2017 US Open runner-up Madison Keys in straight sets.
Collins had spent more than four hours on the court than Barty in her last six matches, coming back from a set and rallying from a set to defeat Danish teenager Klara Tosson in the third round and Alice Mertens. broke for. Fourth.
Barty secured the first set by saving a break point in the fifth game and then applying the break in the next game.
Not wanting to advance, Collins returned quickly, took off with his powerful ground strokes and, relying on his high-intensity play, broke Barty’s serve in the second and sixth games to take a 5–1 lead. .
Collins worked for the set twice and was within two points of leveling the match twice and leading his first Grand Slam final to a deciding set.
She took a 30–0 lead in the seventh game of the set, but began to lose momentum when Barty jumped on second serve and sent the returner down the line. Another forehand winner grabbed the baseline and then Barty got a breakpoint opportunity with another powerful forehand.
Collins went to the chair umpire to complain about people making noise during Point and he was thrashed by the crowd. The umpire asked the fans to refrain from shouting during the game as a courtesy to both the players.
When Collins hit a backhand wide to leave the game, he got another loud boo from the crowd.
Despite government restrictions on ticket sales in the COVID-19 pandemic, Barty draws energy from almost the entire house at Rod Laver Arena.
He forced a tiebreaker by winning five of the next six games and then took control by running to a 4–0 lead.
“As an Australian, the most important part of this tournament is being able to share it with so many people,” Barty said. “This crowd is one of the funniest games I’ve ever played in front of me. You relaxed me, forced me to play my best tennis.”
Barty had reached the quarter-finals in her home majors over the past three years and was the top seed for the third year in a row, but her best performance as of Saturday was a semi-final loss to eventual champion Sofia Kenin in 2020 at Melbourne Park. Pressure house expectations had taken a toll in the past. This time, she said, she was just rolling with it.
The gold shirts had fans’ pockets, with Barty printed in red, copying the logo of the famous Australian condiment Vegemite. Other fans wore canary yellow shirts from the national World Cup-winning limited-overs cricket team – a nod to one of Barty’s other sporting passions.
Australian flags and red, black and yellow Aboriginal flags were waved around the crowd. Cathy Freeman, who wrapped both flags around her to celebrate her gold medal in the 400 meters at the Sydney 2000 Olympics – one of the defining images of those Games – sat near the baseline at Rod Laver Arena in full support.
Barty congratulated Collins and said he was “absolutely” in the Top 10, adding: “I know you will fight for many of these in the future.”
The race to the final was the best at a Grand Slam so far for Collins, who reached the semifinals in Australia in 2019 and the quarterfinals at Roland Garros.
She paid tribute to her longtime mentor Marty Schneider and her boyfriend, Joe Wollen, who stood by for support.
“Thank you for believing in me,” she said, crying. “I don’t have a ton of people who believe in me in my career. Everything matters to me to support me every step of the way.”
‘Special KS’ won men’s doubles title
Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokinakis – that so-called Special KS – have won the Australian Open men’s doubles title with a 7-5, 6-4 victory over fellow Australians Matt Ebden and Max Purcell.
It was the first win by a home pair at Melbourne Park since Mark Woodford and Todd Woodbridge in 1997 – widely known as the Woodies.
Kyrgios and Kokinakis entered the tournament on wild cards and became huge crowd favorites as they knocked out the semi-seeded teams from the second round.
He received the winning trophy from Woodford and Woodbridge.
“I don’t know how we’re doing it, to be completely honest,” said Kyrgios, who lost in the second round of a singles draw to US Open champion Daniil Medvedev.