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Ashleigh Barty defeats Danielle Collins to clinch title


Ashleigh Barty celebrates victory (AFP via Getty Images)

Ashleigh Barty celebrates victory (AFP via Getty Images)

Follow all the action as Ashleigh Barty takes on Danielle Collins in the final of the women’s singles at the Australian Open.

Barty, the world No 1, is attempting to become the first Australian to win the grand slam on home soil since Chris O’Neil in 1978 and has been in tremendous form throughout the tournament. The 25-year-old has not dropped a single set and required just 62 minutes to race through her semi-final against Madison Keys to reach the final in Melbourne for the first time.

Collins, the No 27 seed, has defied expectations to reach the first grand slam final of her career. The American, who underwent surgery for endometriosis last year, is a significant underdog heading into the match but proved she is very much a threat to Barty’s coronation with an emphatic victory over Iga Swiatek in the semi-finals. It took Collins just 78 minutes to complete a 6-4 6-1 rout of the former French Open champion.

Follow live updates from the women’s final below:

Australian Open women’s final

10:16 , Tom Kershaw

 (AFP via Getty Images)

(AFP via Getty Images)

Australian Open 2022: Barty wins!

10:14 , Tom Kershaw

Ashleigh Barty is the Australian Open champion! A fantastic passing shot winner seals it. It was far from her best tennis, but she fought back with such strength from 5-1 to clinch a second set that looked all but certain to escape her.

Australian Open 2022: Barty 5-1 Collins (second set tie-break)

10:12 , Tom Kershaw

A fantastic point sees Barty produce a spectacular drop shot. Collins somehow manages to reach it at full-stretch. Barty backpedals to reach the high ball and smashes it down with precision. Collins gets her first point on the board but then snatches at a second serve.

Australian Open 2022: Barty 3-0 Collins (second set tie-break)

10:09 , Tom Kershaw

A few nerves creep in for Collins, who makes two unforced errors to hand Barty the ascendancy in the tie-break. The Australian then hits a thunderous forehand winner to bring the finish line into view.

Australian Open 2022: Barty 6-6 Collins

10:07 , Tom Kershaw

An ace gets Barty off to a great start but Collins then throws everything at the second serve. She forces two errors and the pressure is on at 15-30. Barty is more than equal to it, though. Two service winners seal the hold. We’re heading to a tie-break.

Australian Open 2022: Barty 5-6 Collins

10:04 , Tom Kershaw

Collins is under pressure at 0-15 but times a backhand winner to perfection before matching Barty blow-for-blow in a long rally. It’s the Australian who blinks first, with Collins able to deflect that low, skidding slice, and Barty then produces a weak forehand that catches the net. Collins holds. Barty will now serve to take this set into a tie-break.

Australian Open 2022: Barty 5-5 Collins

10:00 , Tom Kershaw

And now this is something more like the Barty we’re used to seeing. After breaking Collins down in a long rally, she then delivers a service winner and a great forehand that the American doesn’t even attempt to chase. Collins tries to slow the pace of the game, taking time between points, but that tactic brings few rewards. An ace seals the hold. That’s Barty’s fourth game in succession.

Australian Open 2022: Barty 4-5 Collins

09:55 , Tom Kershaw

Collins has a word with the umpire at the start of the game, but it’s not clear why as of yet. There are few immediate signs of a problem, though, as she moves to 30-0 as Barty makes more uncharacteristic errors. The Australian then comes fighting back, though. She attacks Collins’ second serve and then unleashes two huge forehands to bring up break point. Collins complains to the umpire about noise during the points before sending a backhand into the net. From 5-1 down, we’re back on serve in the second set!

Australian Open 2022: Barty 3-5 Collins

09:52 , Tom Kershaw

Barty races to 40-0 after a poor Collins backhand, an ace, and a forehand winner. Collins fight back to 30, though, forcing Barty into a pair of errors on her backhand. A weak Collins forehand then hands over the game. The American will have a second chance to serve out this second set.

Australian Open 2022: Barty 2-5 Collins

09:46 , Tom Kershaw

Barty finds two great forehand winners to put Collins under a little pressure at 15-30, but having taken the ascendancy in the next rally she strays long again. It’s Collins who wobbles next, though, as a backhand error brings up break point. Barty attacks the second serve and Collins can’t respond. Barty gets one of the breaks back!

Australian Open 2022: Barty 1-5 Collins

09:43 , Tom Kershaw

If Barty’s nerves weren’t already obvious, she starts the game with a double fault. She then takes a drive volley too late to make it 15-30 before another double coughs up two break points. A really timid Barty backhand slice limps into the net and Collins breaks again!

The world No 1 really needs a spark to get out of this slump because we’re almost certainly heading for a deciding set.

Australian Open 2022: Barty 1-4 Collins

09:41 , Tom Kershaw

Collins is playing fantastically now, pumping her fists and shouting every time she comes out on top in a tense rally. There’s a hint of a wobble at 30-0 after an unforced backhand error but then two magnificent forehand winners seal the hold. She hits those shots with such confidence and Barty is struggling to find an answer right now.

Australian Open 2022: Barty 1-3 Collins

09:37 , Tom Kershaw

Barty holds off the tide with a fine service game to love. A great backhand winner seals it.

Australian Open 2022: Barty 0-3 Collins

09:36 , Tom Kershaw

A huge hold for Collins in a five-minute game. She faced a first break point at 30-40 after a pair of unforced backhand errors but managed to draw a mistake from Barty to alleviate the danger. She soon faces another though and, while Collins does brilliantly to keep the ball in play from well behind the baseline, Barty misses what would normally be a simple backhand volley to break. Collins takes full advantage, holds, and roars loudly again. The momentum has really turned.

Australian Open 2022: Barty 0-2 Collins

09:30 , Tom Kershaw

Collins breaks! It’s somewhat self-inflicted by Barty, whose forehand goes awry on three points in succession. She’s still not moving at her best on the baseline. An ace safely navigates one break point but, on the second, Collins takes control of the rally with a brilliant forehand. Barty can only deflect it with a high lob that sits up for a huge smash. Collins thrashes it away and lets out a huge roar. That’s the first time she’s shown her emotion in the match.

Australian Open 2022: Barty 0-1 Collins

09:26 , Tom Kershaw

That’s a better start to the second set from Collins. A winner off either side seals a comfortable hold. She has to try and disrupt Barty’s rhythm before this match slips away.

Australian Open 2022: Barty wins first set

09:19 , Tom Kershaw

A brilliant cross-court forehand on the run catches Collins a little static and she frames her return into the crowd. That was Barty at her best and she’s managed to subdue the American so well after a somewhat shaky start. A forehand winner draws more applause from the crowd before an ace clinches the first set in 32 minutes.

Australian Open 2022: Barty 5-3 Collins

09:17 , Tom Kershaw

Collins makes a nervy start to the game with another double fault and is under pressure on serve again at 30-30. This time the American steadies herself well, though, drawing Barty into an error before a terrific forehand winner ensures the world No 1 will have to serve out the set.

Australian Open 2022: Barty 5-2 Collins

09:13 , Tom Kershaw

Barty quickly consolidates the break. She races to 40-0 courtesy of more fine serving and another forehand winner. A double fault offers Collins a faint hint of hope but it’s extinguished instantly.

Australian Open 2022: Barty 4-2 Collins

09:10 , Tom Kershaw

Now it’s Collins whose serve is put under pressure. She’s pushed way behind the baseline by Barty, where the American is not at her most comfortable, and an awkward forehand strays wide. That makes it 15-30 and the crowd senses an opportunity. A fine Barty forehand winner then brings up break point at 30-40 and it’s Collins who cracks first. A double fault hands over the break and that will really help to settle Barty.

Australian Open 2022: Barty 3-2 Collins

09:06 , Tom Kershaw

Barty looked to be cruising towards another routine hold of serve but, from 40-15 up, she’s taken to deuce by Collins after another huge backhand winner. The world No 1 still seems a little nervous and isn’t covering the court quite as well as normal. A loose forehand then flies way long of the baseline and Collins has break point. Barty rises to the pressure, though, with a high-risk forehand winner that alleviates the danger. She closes out the game with an ace.

Australian Open 2022: Barty 2-2 Collins

09:02 , Tom Kershaw

There are few signs of weakness from Collins either, though. The American shows all her power and precision in a terrific rally at 0-15, dragging Barty across the baseline and bludgeoning a backhand winner. A no less emphatic forehand winner seals a fourth point in succession and the hold of serve.

Australian Open 2022: Barty 2-1 Collins

08:58 , Tom Kershaw

Barty races to 40-0 on serve again. The Australian is still warming into her groundstrokes a little but her serve has been as deadly as ever. A forehand drifts long but there’s no trouble as the world No 1 closes out another simple hold.

Australian Open 2022: Barty 1-1 Collins

08:53 , Tom Kershaw

Collins is equal to it, though. A tame second serve is pounced on by Barty at the start of the game but Collins responds emphatically with a brilliant forehand winner that just clips the line. A service winner is then followed by an unusually tense Barty slice backhand that drifts long. That betrayed a little of the tension that must be there, despite how well Barty conceals it. Collins closes out the game.

Australian Open 2022: Barty 1-0 Collins

08:50 , Tom Kershaw

An assured start for Barty. The world No 1 races to 40-0, courtesy of three fine serves. She’s pegged back to 30 after a pair of loose backhands but closes out the game confidently.

Australian Open 2022: Barty gets huge reception

08:43 , Tom Kershaw

Barty gets a huge reception as she walks out onto Rod Laver Arena. This is a final Australian tennis fans have been anticipating for several years. Collins doesn’t look flustered, though. We’re just minutes away from the start of this match.

Australian Open 2022: Players make final preparations

08:37 , Tom Kershaw

The players have entered the warm-up area and will be out on court very shortly. Collins will never have faced an atmosphere quite like this in her career, but she does carry the confidence of victory the last time these two met. It was in Adelaide in 2021 and Collins won somewhat comfortably even in straight sets. The world No 1 had prevailed in all of their three previous contests up until then, though.

Australian Open 2022: Collins’s route to the final

08:19 , Tom Kershaw

Collins has only dropped one set herself en route to the final, against Elise Mertens back in the fourth round. Her semi-final victory over Iga Swiatek was the most emphatic and impressive, though, beating the former French Open champion 6-4 6-1.

Australian Open 2022: Barty’s route to the final

08:08 , Tom Kershaw

Barty’s route to the final has been seamless and she required just 62 minutes to sweep aside Madison Keys in the semi-finals.

Australian Open 2022: Collins’ comeback from endometriosis

08:01 , Tom Kershaw

Few would have predicted Collins would be Barty’s opponent in this final, not least because of the health challenges the American has faced.

In the middle of the Australian summer last year, Collins was struck by such a severe pain that she collapsed on court. MRI scans failed to detect the cause of the pain until April 2021, when she underwent a major operation to remove “a cyst the size of a tennis ball” on her ovary.

“At Wimbledon in 2018, I was walking to practice and I started having the sharpest pain in my lower back and stomach. I actually fell over and I couldn’t get up. I had to have a cart to take me to transportation so I could get home. My hitting partner was looking at me, thinking, ‘Is she being over-dramatic, making a scene?” Collins told The Telegraph last year.

“It was the same in Australia [last] year, during the quarantine, when I fell over on the practice court and I was lying there on my back.”

“When I found out what it was, I was shocked – but also hopeful, because I was at rock bottom with the physical agony, and I didn’t know how I was going to keep playing tennis.”

Australian Open 2022: Barty locks out media ahead of final

07:40 , Tom Kershaw

Barty has been typically calm throughout the fortnight but made the rare step of closing her final training session to the media earlier today.

The Australian is hoping to block out the public’s excitement and anticipation, with close friend Casey Dellacqua saying Barty may even “be a little bit oblivious” to the pressure.

TV commentator Sam Smith said Barty’s decision to move her practice session was a “good idea”.

“She’s the world No 1, the top seed, it’s in Australia, and it’s a grand slam final. That’s like the trifecta of pressure, isn’t it,” she said.

“Why not keep as much out as possible. I think what we’ve learnt from Ash since she’s come back… she’s much older, confident, mature, and she’s very clear about what she wants and she needs.”

Australian Open 2022: Barty faces Collins in women’s final

07:30 , Tom Kershaw

Welcome to The Independent’s live coverage as Ashleigh Barty faces Danielle Collins in the women’s singles final.

Barty, the world No 1, is bidding to become the first Australian to win on home soil since 1978 but has rarely exhibited any signs of that pressure, cruising through to the final without dropping a set.

Collins, the 27th seed, is likely to be more susceptible to nerves, with the American competing in her first grand slam final. She will have to contend with a partisan crowd on Rod Laver Arena, but Collins was mightily impressive in the semi-final victory over Iga Swiatek and certainly has the skill to cause what would be a major upset in Melbourne.


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