Home favourite Ashleigh Barty to meet Danielle Collins in Australian Open final

Barty defeated Madison Keys while Collins saw off No 7 seed Iga Swiatek

Eleanor Crooks
Thursday 27 January 2022 13:59
Comments
<p>Barty (left) has reached her third grand-slam final after beating the American </p>

Barty (left) has reached her third grand-slam final after beating the American

Ashleigh Barty became the first Australian woman to reach the final of her home grand slam for more than 40 years and will take on first-time finalist Danielle Collins at Melbourne Park on Saturday.

World No 1 Barty went into her semi-final against Madison Keys on an expectant Rod Laver Arena having not come close to dropping a set all tournament and eased to a 6-1 6-3 victory in only 62 minutes.

Australia has been waiting for a women’s singles finalist since Wendy Turnbull back in 1980, with Chris O’Neal the last home champion in the women’s or men’s singles in 1978.

Keys had blasted her way through the draw, taking out two top-10 seeds in Paula Badosa and Barbora Krejcikova in the last two rounds, but Barty has looked a class apart all fortnight.

The 25-year-old and two-time grand-slam winner reads the game so well, glides around the court and possesses a complete arsenal of weapons.

Shots from Keys that would have been winners against almost anyone else came back with interest, forcing the nervous American to go for more, and to miss.

The first set was over in just 26 minutes and, while Keys steadied the ship a little at the start of the second, Barty broke again to move 4-2 in front.

Keys’s attempts to put pressure on her opponent by coming to the net simply gave Barty a target to pass, and the home favourite marched into her third grand-slam final.

Barty said: “It’s just incredible. I love coming out here and playing in Australia. I’m just happy that I get to play my best tennis here. Now I get the chance to play for a first title here. It’s unreal.”

Asked if she was ready for one more match, Barty said with a grin: “Absolutely. Let’s do it.”

Collins was almost as emphatic in defeating the No 7 seed Iga Swiatek the American powering her way to a 6-4 6-1 triumph.

Collins, ranked No 30 in the world, was playing in her second grand slam semi-final after also making the last four in Melbourne in 2019 and has returned to the top of the game following endometriosis surgery last spring.

The 28-year-old’s brand of first-strike tennis was simply too much for Swiatek, from Poland, who won only three points on her second serve during the match.

Swiatek fought hard to come back after losing the first four games but Collins held on to take the opening set and kept her foot firmly to the floor in the second.

“It feels amazing,” said Collins. “It’s been such a journey and it doesn’t happen overnight. It’s incredible to be on this stage and especially with the health challenges, I’m just so grateful. I couldn’t be happier.”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in