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Ash Barty makes Australian Open history with victory over Danielle Collins


The world No1 bounced back from 5-1 down in the second set to claim a 6-3 7-6 (2) victory over the American in Melbourne on Saturday, for her third Grand Slam title.

She ends the long reign of 1978 champion Chris O’Neil as the last home winner of the women’s or men’s singles and, by maintaining her perfect record in slam finals, becomes the only active player other than Serena Williams to have won major titles on three different surfaces.

Having shrugged off the pressure to breeze through to the final, Barty had to use all her competitive instincts to overcome 30th-ranked Collins, who brought the best out of her opponent in a terrific second set.

Barty now just needs the US Open to complete a career Grand Slam having won the French Open in 2019 and Wimbledon last summer, and it seems clear that women’s tennis has found its consistent champion.

Organisers were permitted to increase ticket sales to 80 per cent of capacity and it was a terrific roar that greeted the arrival of Barty on court.

This was a huge occasion for Australian sport and among the crowd were two people who could put themselves in Barty’s shoes – Sydney Olympic heroes Cathy Freeman and Ian Thorpe – as well as Hollywood star Russell Crowe.

Barty understandably looked nervous while Collins settled reasonably well and immediately sought to pounce on Barty’s second serve.

At 2-2, the home favourite found herself staring at a break point but whipped a forehand winner to save it and from there Barty, and the tense crowd, relaxed into the occasion.

A wild double fault from Collins on break point in the next game gave Barty the advantage, and the top seed was untroubled through the rest of the first set.

REUTERS

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