Part one of the Barty party is complete! With a service winner, there are three set balls and she converts the first ones with the ace through the middle.
Rod Laver Arena gets loud as Ash Barty serves to win the set! And the Australian starts off very casually, first frees herself from the defensive and scores the points with the slice, then she waits a long time at the net and easily puts the forehand winner inside-in into the field.
Barty comes back, but Collins holds the serve, first pushes Barty deep to the baseline and forces her to make a mistake, then the ace smashes out into the field.
But the American is unimpressed, serves the winner directly afterwards and then even comes to the net, plays serve-and-volley – and is right. 30:15.
It continues with new balls – Collins picks up where she left off: with the double fault.
Barty can get over the one double fault, because afterwards she cleverly serves into the body again and Collins sends the return into the net.
The world number one follows up immediately, continues to serve so variably and shows three service winners in a row – 40:0.
But now! Barty pressured, forcing Collins deep behind the baseline and following up at the net with the forehand winner inside-out. Collins fails when serving against the break ball and hits the double fault.
On the backhand, Collins shows one or the other weakness, hits it in the net, but Barty can’t secure a breakball with the lob against Collins, who was lured to the net.
It’s actually Barty’s turn after the inside-out winner on the forehand side, but her backhand then gets centimeters too long.
The first little moment of shock is over. Barty hits the outside twice in a row and still secures the 3:2 with the free points.
For the first time it gets critical! Barty is in attack mode, Collins doesn’t have much to report in the rally, only defends, but the Australian shoots the forehand longline out of the field – but she fends off the breakball with a great forehand cross from the middle.
Barty gets a little too passive and Collins is right there! On the backhand she makes almost no mistakes, puts the cross winner in the corner and then pulls the forehand cross – Barty’s return lands in the net.
Barty is in demand again and is bad with the ball for the first time, makes the slight mistake, but immediately corrects it with three strong serves, follows and then makes it 40:15 with two loose winners.
The service winner at Collins also fits every now and then, then the American nails her backhand cross into the field again, doesn’t give Barty a chance to return and is a bit lucky with the edge of the net on the ball, but gets the 2: 2 deserved.
Collins has opened up her game very strongly so far, then counters Barty’s slices with aggressive attacking hits on her backhand – she crosses the winner into the corner.
And the Australian also makes the fourth point directly via the serve. Collins cannot return.
Here’s how you can serve: Barty hits two more aces after the service winner!
The American also starts the match well, serving the free point and forcing Barty’s slice error, then serves wide again and the Australian again fails to return.
Barty 1-0 Collins
Barty immediately aggressively attacked the second serve cross with the backhand and followed up the winner inside-in with the forehand, but then Collins also forehanded her first winner cross into the court.
Barty 1-0 Collins
But Barty holds the first serve, bringing it through the middle and forcing the error into Collins’ net.
Barty 0-0 Collins
But now Collins is playing along! Barty slices behind the baseline on the rally, then smashes a backhand return against the second serve longline back to the winner.
Barty 0-0 Collins
The next serve becomes a service winner, then Barty already manages the second ace. Collins still doesn’t get a bat on the ball.
The Australian couldn’t have started any better: The first ace hits the middle to thunderous applause from the fans.
The players are there, they’ve completed the coin toss and in a few minutes Ash Barty will open the match with service.
Ash Barty leads 3-1 in a head-to-head with Danielle Collins, but the American knows she can beat the Australian. Even at their most recent meeting last year in Adelaide. It took Collins just over an hour for a straight two sentences. Barty also won in Adelaide the year before, but much narrower in three sets. In 2019, the Australian won the first matches at the French Open and in Madrid on clay.
Former NCAA champion and UVA player Collins aims to become the first collegiate player to win a major in singles — women’s or men’s — in over 40 years. To do that, she would also need to become the fifth-lowest-seeded player to ever win this tournament. By the way, depending on how your year goes, that could be different at the upcoming Australian Open. Thanks to her reaching the final, Danielle Collins will be in the top 10 for the first time in her career after the tournament and at the same time be the best-placed American.
Standing in the way of the title is 28-year-old Danielle Collins. Only for the third time did the American survive a third round in a Grand Slam tournament and after a semi-final in 2019 at the same place and the quarter-finals in 2020 in Paris, her biggest coup follows today – can she crown it too? Until mid-2021, she had never won a single WTA tournament, was 0:6 in the finals, but then discovered winning for herself and won in Palermo and San José. On her way to the Australian Open final, she stumbled a little in the third round against Clara Tauson and then Elise Mertens, both of whom she won firsts from behind, but she survived those trials too, going on to show against Alizé Cornet and the former French -Open winner Iga Swiatek great performances in the semifinals.
This is at stake
The Australian fans’ long dry spell is over. For the first time since 1980 (Wendy Turnbull) an Australian is in the singles final. And if anyone should make it, it’s the dominant Ash Barty. Even before the tournament started, it was clear to the local fans that there can only be one winner at this Australian Open, but her compatriot always played that down and didn’t promise anything – that apparently helped her immensely, because you felt the pressure on Barty during the two weeks not at all. Will that also be the case in the final today? She wants to become the first Australian winner after Christine O’Neil in 1978, who ended the golden era of the 1970s. Additionally, Barty could become the first woman after Serena Williams to win a major on all surfaces. The Australian has already ticked off the French Open and Wimbledon.
The path of the local hero was made comparatively easy for her, as Barty did not have to play a player from the top 20 in any of her six matches. Still, her progress to the final is impressive. She was on the court for just six hours and six minutes, didn’t drop a set and only lost her own service game against Amanda Anisimova in the round of 16. With a total of 21 surrendered games, she follows in the footsteps of Steffi Graf (1989, 16 games) and Monica Seles (1993, 20 games), who stormed even more dominantly to the final. During the tournament, Barty has also become a US player specialist, making Danielle Collins the fourth straight US player she has faced. After Anisimova, Barty’s most difficult task so far, Jessica Pegula and the former world number seven Madison Keys were also unable to resist.
It’s already been two weeks Down Under and the field of participants has shrunk to two players. From a German point of view, the tournament was a clear disaster, none of the three DTB players even made it into the second round, and Angie Kerber also failed right at the start after she regained her strength towards the end of last season. And while Ash Barty defied the pressure, progressing lap after lap on home soil and living up to her reputation as number one in the world, her competition dropped like flies around her. And so she faces Danielle Collins, world number 30, a major final debutant. In 2019 she was surprisingly in the semifinals at the same place, but otherwise she never played a major role in Grand Slams.
Hello and welcome to the grand final of the women’s competition at the Australian Open. From 9:30 a.m. Ashleigh Barty and Danielle Collins will play for the coveted trophy in the Rod Laver Arena.