| By Long Island Tennis Magazine Staff
Ash Barty and Danielle Collins will face off for the Australian Open title on Saturday.
Photos courtesy of the USTA

 

The women’s singles final is set at the 2022 Australian Open, and it will feature top-seeded Australian Ashleigh Barty facing off against 27th seeded American Danielle Collins.

The American was up first and powered her way into the first major final of her career with a 6-4, 6-1 victory over seventh-seed Iga Swiatek of Poland.

“[It] feels amazing,” said Collins. “It’s been such a journey and it doesn’t happen overnight. It’s so many years of hard work and hours in an early age on court. All the early mornings with my dad would practice with me before school, and it’s just incredible to be on the stage. Especially with the health challenges, I’m just so grateful. I couldn’t be happier.”

Collins fired 27 winners and was in control of the match from the onset, breaking Swiatek’s serve in the opening game of the match. In all, she converted on six of her 10 break point chances to nail down the seventh Top 10 victory of her career.

“I have certainly added a little bit more variety to my game over the last couple years, but this is my plan A and I wanted to go out and try to execute this game plan as best as I could,” said Collins. “In the zone is the best way to describe it. So it was a bit of a shock I guess at the end when I finally closed it out.”

Collins’ victory means that for a third straight year, an American woman will compete in the Australian Open final, following in the footsteps of Sofia Kenin in 2020, and Jennifer Brady in 2021.

In the final, she will face off against Barty, the Aussie native who has looked practically unbeatable thus far in Melbourne.

On Thursday, Barty downed American Madison Keys 6-1, 6-3 to reach the Australian Open final for the first time in her career.

“It’s unreal. It’s just incredible,” said Barty on-court. “I love this tournament and love competing out here and playing in Australia. As an Aussie, we are exceptionally spoiled that we’re a Grand Slam nation, we get to play at home and in our backyard. I’m just happy that I get to play my best tennis here. I enjoy it, I’ve done well before and now we have a chance to play for a title.”

In six matches, Barty has lost just 21 games, the lowest amount of games lost for a Slam finalist since Serena Williams reached the 2013 U.S. Open final with just 16 games lost.

Barty saved the only two break points she faced against Keys on Thursday, and ripped 20 winners to just 13 unforced errors, to become the first Australian woman to reach the final here since Wendy Turnbull in 1980. Her next goal is now to become the first Aussie woman to hoist this title since Chris O’Neil in 1978.

“We keep doing our thing, our routines, come out here on Saturday and enjoy it, massive smile on my face and see what happens,” Barty added.

Barty is 3-1 all-time versus Collins, but the American won the most recent match, a straight-sets victory in Adelaide in 2021.