Australian Open: Barty 'a little stumped' after maiden Melbourne success

By Sports Desk January 29, 2022

Ash Barty was "a little stumped" after she beat Danielle Collins to claim her maiden Australian Open title.

The world number one had to come from 5-1 down in the second set to defeat her American opponent – a first-time grand slam finalist – 6-3 7-6 (7-2) on Rod Laver Arena.

Buoyed on by a partisan home crowd in Melbourne, Barty made light work of a drained Collins in the tie-break to become the first Australian since 1978 to win the men's or women's singles in the season's first major.

Barty is also the first woman to win her home grand slam since Sloane Stephens triumphed in the 2017 US Open, and the first woman since Serena Williams in 2015 to win the Australian Open while ranked number one.

The 25-year-old has won 11 straight matches in 2022 and now has three grand slam titles to her name, after winning the French Open in 2019 and Wimbledon in 2021. 

She is the first Australian Open Women's singles winner with 30 or fewer games dropped on her way to secure the title since Mary Pierce in 1995.

"I'm a little stumped here," Barty said at the on-court presentation.

"I would love to thank everyone who does so much work behind the scenes. This last couple of years has been extraordinarily tough for everyone.

"It takes a really big village to put on an event like this. I think this tournament has been one of my favourite experiences.

"To my team... wow. I'm so lucky to have so many people here that love me, support me, my mum, dad and sisters here, so happy 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. Nobody's changed from my team, you guys are the best in the business, I can't thank you enough for all the time and love you put into me.

"As an Aussie, the most important thing is to share this with so many people and this crowd is one of the most fun I've ever played in front of.

"You guys relaxed me, forced me to play my best tennis. Against a champion like Danielle, I knew I had to bring that today. Thanks for all your love and support the last couple of weeks.

"This is just a dream come true for me, and I'm so proud to be an Aussie."

Collins will be heading into the top 10 for the first time in her career after her run in Melbourne. The 28-year-old looked primed to take the match to a decider when she raced ahead in the second set, before Barty's sensational comeback.

"Congratulations to Danielle and your team, it's been an amazing fortnight for you," Barty told the runner-up.

"You're in the top 10 and that's absolutely where you belong. I know you'll be fighting for many more of these in the future."

Collins, who was aiming for a third career singles title on the WTA Tour, is the seventh different American player to reach the final of the women's singles at the Australian Open since the turn of the century.

She beat Barty in Adelaide in 2021 but has now lost four of their five meetings in total.

"Well, first, I owe a big congratulations to Ash, on a phenomenal two weeks here, a really phenomenal couple of years," the 28-year-old said.

"It's been tremendous to watch her climb her way up the rankings all the way to number one and live out her dream.

"I really admire you as the player that you are, the variety of your game – hopefully I can implement some of that into mine."

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