MELBOURNE, Australia — Ashleigh Barty ended a 44-year drought Saturday by becoming the first Australian to win an Australian Open singles title since 1978.
The world No. 1 and crowd favourite capped off a dominant fortnight at Melbourne Park, overcoming American 27th seed Danielle Collins 6-3, 7-6(2) on Rod Laver Arena, to clinch her home Slam without dropping a single set.
After wrapping up a comfortable first set in just 32 minutes, Barty found herself in a 1-5 hole when Collins began to apply her trademark aggression and fierce groundstrokes at the beginning of the second frame. But Barty was able to rally and reel off four consecutive games to quickly draw level at 5-5 and heap the pressure on her 28-year-old opponent.
The set would eventually require a tie-breaker and Barty displayed nerves of steel to win seven of nine points, letting out a roar of excitement after winning championship point.
Barty was presented the Daphne Akhurst Trophy by mentor and fellow Australian tennis great Evonne Goolagong Cawley, who won the tournament four consecutive times between 1974-77.
Barty, 25, has now won three of the four major trophies and is a perfect 3-0 in Slam finals.
Her maiden Grand Slam title came at the French Open in 2019 where she defeated Marketa Vondrousova in straight sets. Last year Barty added Wimbledon to her resume with victory over two-time tournament champion Karolina Pliskova.
Barty joins Serena Williams as the only active women’s player to have won at least three different majors and the season-ending WTA Finals.
Barty will also pocket AU$2,875,000 (US$2,009,000) for winning the tournament.
It was a phenomenal fortnight for Barty who won 14 consecutive sets en route to the title, only dropped four games in a set on two occasions.
More to follow…