Ashleigh Barty takes on Danielle Collins in the final of the women’s singles at the Australian Open.
This is a chance for Barty to win the elusive grand slam on Australian soil for the first time since Chris O’Neil did it in 1978. Ashleigh Barty has been playing terrific tennis throughout the tournament. Despite not dropping a set to date, the 25-year-old took just 62 minutes to get through her semi-final against Madison Keys to reach the final in Melbourne for the first time.
Collins, the No 27 seed, has beaten expectations to reach her first grand slam final. Although the American underwent surgery for endometriosis last year, she proved she is very much a threat to Barty’s crown by sweeping her opponent Iga Swiatek in the semi-finals. Collins defeated the former French Open champion 6-4, 6-1 in 78 minutes.
After a Collins backhand, an ace, and a forehand winner, Barty reaches 40-0. Collins recovered to 30, forcing Ashleigh Barty into errors on her backhand. Collins then gave the game away with a weak forehand. The American will get another chance to serve out the second set.
As of yet, the reason Collins spoke with the umpire at the start of the game is unclear. While Ashleigh Barty continues to make uncharacteristic mistakes, there are few signs of trouble as she moves to 30-0. Nevertheless, the Australian comes fighting back. Collins’ second serve is attacked by her and she then unleashes two huge forehands to bring the point to a break. Before hitting a backhand into the net, Collins complains to the umpire about the noise during the points. We’re back on serve in the second set after falling behind 5-1 in the first.
And now we’re seeing something more like Barty that we’re used to. Collins is broken down in a long rally, and she then delivers an excellent forehand that the American doesn’t even attempt to chase. Collins attempts to slow down the game by taking a long time between points, but that tactic is not effective. A straight holds up the game. Ashleigh Barty has won his last four games.
At 0-15, Collins hits a backhand winner to perfection before matching Barty blow-for-blow in a long rally. Collins is able to deflect Barty’s low, skidding slice, and Ashleigh Barty then produces a forehand that catches the net. However, Collins holds on. As a result, Barty will serve for a tie-break.
In the second set, Collins throws everything he has at the second serve after Barty starts off with an ace. After forcing two errors, the pressure is on at 15-30. However, Barty is more than capable of handling it. The hold is sealed by two service winners. We’re heading to a tie-break.
Collins shows signs of nerves, making two unforced errors that give Barty the advantage in the tie-break. Bringing the finish line into view, the Australian hits a thunderous forehand winner.
Barty scores a stunning point with a spectacular drop shot. Colins somehow manages to reach the shot at full stretch. The ball is smashed easily by Barty backpedaling to reach it. A second serve is snatched away from Collins, who gets her first point.