Melbourne, Australia, Jan 29 (EFE).- Ashleigh Barty rallied from 5-1 down in the second set to defeat Danielle Collins in the final of the Australian Open on Saturday.
Barty needed nearly an hour and a half to defeat the 27th seeded US player 6-3, 7-6 to become the first Australian to win a singles title in Melbourne since Chris O’Neil in 1978, to the delight of the home crowd.
“I’m a little stumped here,” Barty said after winning her third Grand Slam title, following her victories at the 2019 French Open and 2021 Wimbledon.
Addressing the Rod Laver crowd, she said: ”You relax me. You forced me to play my best tennis and against a champion like Danielle.
“I know I had to absolutely bring that today. So, thank you so much for all your love and support in the last couple weeks.
“This is just a dream come true for me. I’m so proud to be an Aussie,” she said.
The world No.1’s plan was clear: avoid Collins’ lethal backhand and use her powerful serve to dominate.
And it paid off, as Barty carved out a breakpoint on one of 11 winners she hit in the first set.
A double fault from Collins handed the Australian the break in the sixth game.
But the momentum swung in early in the second set as the number one seed’s serve let her down in key moments and Barty committed more unforced errors, allowing Collins to grow in confidence.
The American was leading by score 5-1 and a third deciding set looked all but certain.
The 25-year-old Australian, however, regained her composure to win six out of the subsequent seven games, forcing a tiebreak that Barty won 7-2.
Despite the defeat, Collins’ second place finish will see her enter the top-10 for the first time in her career. EFE