Ashleigh Barty news: Barty Party underway as Australia crown first home women’s winner in 44 years

Australian Open
Ashleigh Barty celebrates with the Australian Open trophy

Australia’s long wait for another women’s Australian Open winner is over after Ashleigh Barty defeated Danielle Collins in straight sets in the final on Rod Laver Arena.

It had been 44 years since Christine O’Neill gave Australia a home winner when she won the title in 1978, but the drought was ended on Saturday as Barty joined fellow Australian greats O’Neill, Margaret Court and Evonne Goolagong as winners of the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup.

It was not a typical Barty masterclass – well not the second set anyway – but it was still a comfortable victory for the world No 1 as she won 6-3, 7-6 (7-2) in under 90 minutes.

Barty found herself in a hole in game five as she had to save a break point, but things turned around in a flash as he went on the attack in the next game and eked out a break point of her own. And Collins handed it to her on a plate with a double fault.

Three games later Barty came out to produce a smooth service game as she won it to love to take the opening set.

Collins did well to reset at the start of the second set as she dropped only one point to get on the scoreboard.

And the trademark “Danimal” celebration came out in the second game as an excellent return game – coupled with some uncharacteristic Barty mistakes on the forehand – earned her a break of serve.

But the Australian upped the pressure in game three and put Collins on the back foot as she fashioned two break points, but the American’s defensive game was up to the task as she held serve.

The swing in momentum continued as Barty continued to make errors and Collins capitalised, leading her to break for a second time to race into a 5-1 lead.

However, Barty was not ready to give up so easily as she hit back in game seven to claim one break back and, after a solid hold of serve, the pressure was on Collins to serve out the second set and take it to a decider.

After opening a 30-0 lead, Collins found herself struggling as the world No 1 produced three brilliant points to get a break point and there was no comeback from the American as her second break was gone in the blink of an eye.

The next three games went according to serve and so it went to a tie-breaker.

Barty was in control of the tie-breaker from start to finish as she opened up a 6-2 lead and she took her opportunity on the first match point.

And shortly after the umpire called game, set and match, Barty let out a couple of big screams and went over to the adoring spectators to savour the moment with her.

With the formalities out of the way, the trophy was finally presented to Barty by her tennis idol Goolagong to complete a truly memorable fortnight at Melbourne Park.

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