Let the Barty Party begin.
Australia’s Ashleigh Barty completed her dominant two-week run in Melbourne and captured the Australian Open title, defeating American Danielle Collins 6-3, 7-6(2) on Saturday.
The win gives Barty her third career Slam title, and she becomes the first Australian woman to win the title in her home country since Chris O’Neil in 1978.
“As Aussies, we’re exceptionally lucky to be a Grand Slam nation,” said Barty. “To get to experience to play at home is really special, and to be here as a champion of the tournament is really exciting. We’re extremely lucky to have the tennis history and the rich history that we do, particularly here at the Australian Open. But across all Grand Slams, we’ve had champions that have stemmed back years and years and years, and have really set the platform for us to come through and try to do what we do and create our own path.
I think I’m a very, very small part of that. I’m still trying to figure out what I’m doing myself, but to be a very small part of an amazing history in tennis as an Australian is really, really neat.”
Barty’s dominant serve, which has guided her through to the final, was once again in top form in the final against Collins. She won 82 percent of the points on her first serve, and despite being broken twice in the second set, was able to fire 19 winners in that final set to outlast Collins in the tiebreaker.
Collins had raced out to a 5-1 lead in the second set, but was unable to see it out to force a deciding third. Barty broke back twice to even things in the second, and jumped out to an insurmountable 4-0 lead in the tiebreaker. A forehand pass on match point clinched the title for Barty.
“It was a little bit surreal,” said Barty. “I think I didn’t quite know what to do or what to feel, and I think just being able to let out a little bit of emotion, which is a little bit unusual for me. Being able to celebrate with everyone who was there in the crowd, the energy was incredible tonight.”
Barty now has titles at the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the French Open, and has 15 WTA titles overall in her career.
It’s a disappointing end to her fortnight in Australia for Collins, who reached a major final for the first time in her career. But Collins will take the positives away from her time Down Under, and she made her Top 10 debut on Monday.
“I think it hasn’t really fully set in yet, because for a while I’ve wanted to be a Top 10 player, it was a goal of mine last year, I fell a little bit short,” said Collins. “To reach it this early on in the season has meant the world to me. I think that I just have to keep going day by day, and just work towards my goals. There’s other things that I’m going to want to achieve moving forward.”