Mon, 29 May 2023

Ashleigh Barty, Danielle Collins to meet in Australian Open final

Field Level Media
28 Jan 2022, 02:19 GMT+10

World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty continued her dominant run through the Australian Open field, defeating Madison Keys 6-1, 6-3 on Thursday to move into the final of the Australian Open in Melbourne.

She became the first Australian woman to reach the final of the home-country major since Wendy Turnbull in 1980. And when she meets American Danielle Collins on Saturday in the championship round, she'll be looking to fulfill her quest to become the first Australian to win the title since Chris O'Neil did so in 1978.

Collins, who will be playing in her first Grand Slam final, defeated No. 7 seed Iga Swiatek of Poland 6-4, 6-1.

"It's just unreal," Barty said after the match.

"As an Aussie, we are spoiled that we are a Grand Slam nation, and now we have a chance to play for a title."

In six matches in the tournament, Barty has lost just 21 games and been on the court a total of six hours and six minutes.

Keys entered Thursday's semifinal on a run of her own, having defeated three of the top 11 seeds to earn the right to face Barty. But what worked in previous matches didn't faze Barty, who won 86 percent of the points on her first serve compared to 49 percent for Keys.

Barty also cashed in on four of her six break opportunities, and Keys couldn't convert either of her two chances. Barty smashed 20 winners against just 13 unforced errors, compared to eight and 24, respectively, for Keys.

Barty has won both of her previous Grand Slam finals -- at the French Open in 2019 and Wimbledon in 2021.

For Collins, the No. 27 seed, her defeat of Swiatek was the seventh victory of her career against a Top 10 player. Against Barty, she has won just one of four career meetings.

Collins hit 27 winners in the match with Swiatek, including seven aces, and committed just 13 unforced errors. Swiatek also had 13 unforced errors but just 12 winners.

No matter the outcome against Barty, Collins will reach the Top 10 of the rankings next week for the first time. And it's particularly gratifying for her as she rebounds from serious health issues that impacted her last season.

"It feels amazing. It has been such a journey," she said after the match. "It is so many years of hard work. Yesterday, I spoke about all the early mornings my dad would get up and practice with me before school. It is incredible to be on this stage, especially after all the health challenges. I couldn't be happier."

--Field Level Media

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