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Australian dreams come true as Barty breaks records to lift trophy

It was a memorable night in Melbourne as the world No 1 made many, many dreams come true

Ash Barty Tennis – Australian Open – Women’s Singles Final – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia – January 29, 2022 Australia’s Ashleigh Barty poses as she celebrates winning the final against Danielle Collins of the U.S. with the trophy || 219356_0027

Australian Open 2022 | Draw | Order of play 

The pressure was on, but Ash Barty rose to the occasion.

The 25-year-old is the new Australian Open champion, with a straight-sets win over the USA’s Danielle Collins – and in a surprise for everyone, her trophy was presented to her by her long-time mentor and inspiration Evonne Goolagong Cawley.

Barty is the first Australian woman to win her home Grand Slam since 1978 when Chris O’Neil achieved the feat.

“This is just a dream come true for me,” said Barty as she concluded her victory speech. “I’m so proud to be an Aussie.”

And she is also now one of only two women still active to have won Slams on all surfaces – along with Serena Williams.

The tension of the match was released upon striking the winning blow as Barty roared in a very uncharacteristic manner before heading to the net to thank her opponent.

And her next stop was the sidelines, where she hugged her former doubles partner Casey Dellacqua – the woman who persuaded her back on to court after taking a career break to try her hand at cricket.

Ash Barty celebrates with Casey Dellacqua after winning the final against Danielle Collins (Panoramic)

Barty used her winner’s speech to pay tribute in particular to her family, saying: “I’m so lucky to have so many people that love me and support me.

“You are the absolute best in the business – I can’t thank you enough for all the time and love you’ve put into me.”

Barty had to problem-solve

The first set indicated that it would be business as usual, with Barty dominant on serve and taking it in just over 32 minutes, 6-3.

The second set, however, was a very different matter. Barty showed her innate ability for problem-solving, with Collins breaking serve in the second game to take a 3-0 lead, and then extending it to 5-1. The world No 1 has that ranking for a reason, though, and found a way to fight through, cranking up her forehand to stop the American’s surge.

Collins had set points, meaning she was presented with the opportunity to take a set off Barty for the first time this tournament, but the Australian dug in. She dropped only 30 games en route to the title – the first women’s champion in Melbourne to achieve that figure or fewer since Mary Pierce in 1995.

Some might point to the fact that she beat a series of players ranked outside the top 20 – the third Grand Slam champion on the women’s side to do so in the Open Era, along with Li Na in Melbourne in 2014, and Naomi Osaka in New York in 2020. If she were inclined to engage, Barty might point out in return that she beat a Grand Slam finalist in the semi-final, that quarter-final opponent Jessica Pegula has previously been ranked in the top 20, and that after this fortnight Collins will be in the top 10.

The Australian Open is Barty’s third Grand Slam and her 15th career title. She has won 12 of her last 14 finals, with ten of those triumphs coming in straight sets. It is almost certain, though, that few wins in her career will ever have been sweeter.

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