In front of the home fans in Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, the hot title favorite, Australia’s Ash Barty wins over the American no.1 Daniel Collins 6-3, 7-6 (2) to claim the Australian Open women’s singles crown. It was her first Grand Slam victory in the home country. The top-seeded Barty takes home $2.875 million with the title, and No. 27 Collins $1.575 million.
The 25-year-old world No.1 accomplished her dream campaign at Melbourne Park with a resolute 6-3 7-6 (7-2) victory over American Danielle Collins in the most-anticipated women’s Open final in nearly half a century.
The glorious victory ended a 44-year drought for Australians winning the title dating back to Chris O’Neil clinching the women’s crown in 1978.
The Australian Open was First held in 1905, and this year starting from 18 – 30 January, concludes its 110th edition. The grand slam nicknamed ‘the happy slam’ is the first major tennis tournament of the year and the highest attended grand slam.
Barty became the first player since Serena Williams in 2017 to win the title without dropping a set and the first since Sloane Stephens at the 2017 U.S. Open to clinch the win her home slam.
Barty equals the record set by the tennis great of all times Serena Williams as only the second active player in the history of women’s tennis to have bagged grand slam titles on clay, grass, and hard courts. Barty is all set to head towards New York in August hoping to win the US Open, only the grand slam she has yet to capture and equal William’s record of winning all four grand slams.
She was also the first Australian finalist since Wendy Turnbull in 1980 and also the first player to face a breakpoint in the final.
Barty also enjoys the honour of being the fifth Australian in the Open era to win the Australian Open women’s singles title and the first local competitor to hold aloft the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup since Chris O’Neil in 1978.
— TennisAustralia (@TennisAustralia) January 29, 2022
Just opposite to Barty’s journey through to the championship decider, Saturday night’s victory was hard-earned as she was put under serious pressure forcing her to fight back from 5-1 down in the second set before she managed to overcome the tough challenge after one hour and 27 tension-filled minutes.
Absolutely dominant since her 6-0 6-1 first-round win over Lesia Tsurenko, Barty did not drop a single set all tournament, conceding modest 30 games in seven matches just six more than Graf lost 33 years ago. In the final, she found herself in a huge hole when she surrendered serve for a second successive time to fall behind 5-1. With her mental toughness and supreme confidence, she set aside the threatening challenge and won four consecutive games to force a tiebreaker. She sealed the celebrated victory with her 14th forehand winner. The home crowd who was already in the grip of tennis fever both inside Rod Laver Arena and outside in Melbourne Park’s Garden Square were sent into a hypnotic state by this phenomenal victory.
Although she had to go through the upsetting swaying in the second set, the straight-set win lent her the most commanding campaign since Steffi Graf in the second-ever Open at Melbourne Park in 1989.
She has been in incredible form for the last two years and is almost unbeatable. Barty had lost in the quarterfinals in two of the previous three years, and in the semi-finals once. She had won and US Open Tennis Women’s Doubles in 2018 the French Open in 2019 and Wimbledon in 2021, but she had yet to win Australian Open and she achieved the dream of winning the grand slam in front of the home crowd by capturing the Australian Open 2022. The exceptionally gifted and hard-working player also proved that if we handle the pressure, success in the big stage is possible.
Amidst the emotional atmosphere, Barty’s mentor and indigenous idol Evonne Goolagong Cawley, the Australian legend who won four of her seven major singles titles at her home Slam, made a surprise appearance to present Barty with the prestigious trophy. She said, “Super talent Ash Barty destined for greatness.”
Chris O’Neil, who had the distinction of being the last Australian to win the Open women’s singles championship in 1978, handed the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup to Rod Laver Arena for the presentation. Barty who was overwhelmed by the exceptional support said, “This is just a dream come true for me and I’m just so proud to be an Aussie,”
— TennisAustralia (@TennisAustralia) January 29, 2022
After the remarkable win, she said, “I’m so lucky to have so many people here tonight that love me, support me. Pretty bloody special that mom, dad, and my sisters are here and I’m pretty [psyched] that they could come down here today.” “I’m an incredibly fortunate and lucky girl to have so much love in my corner. We did it all together, no one’s changed from our team, it’s been incredible. I love you guys to death, you’re the absolute best in the business and I can’t thank you for all the time and love you’ve put into me.”
She further said, “And as an Aussie, the most important part of this tournament is being able to share it with so many people and you guys today in the crowd have been nothing shy of exceptional. This crowd is one of the most fun I’ve ever played in front of, and you guys brought me so much joy out here today. You relaxed me, you forced me to play my best tennis and against a champion like Danielle, I know I had to absolutely bring that today.”
She concluded, “ It’s absolutely incredible. I think as Aussies, we’re exceptionally lucky to be a Grand Slam nation. To get to experience playing at home is really special, and to be here as a champion of the tournament is really exciting. This is just a dream come true and I’m so proud to be an Aussie.”