Ashleigh Barty is into the Australian Open final, the first female home player to do so since Wendy Turnbull in 1980.
Barty breezed past Madison Keys in the semi-finals, defeating the American 6-1, 6-3. Her performance was symbolic of her journey at the Australian Open – unstoppable.
If she is to triumph in the final on Saturday, Barty will become the first Australian to win the title since Christine O’Neil in 1978.
“I love this tournament and I love coming out here and playing in Australia,” Barty said.
“As an Aussie, we’re exceptionally spoiled that we get to be a Grand Slam nation and that we get to play at home, in our own backyard.
“I’m just happy that I get to play my best tennis here. I enjoy it and I’ve done well before and now we have a chance to play for a title. It’s unreal!”
With Barty looking to earn the third Grand Slam title of her career, GiveMeSport Women recaps her impressive tournament so far.
Impressive start to 2022
Last year, Barty won at the Melbourne Open, Miami Open, Stuttgart Open, Cincinnati Open and Wimbledon, earning more WTA titles than any other female player on the Tour.
After ending her year early to return to Australia and spend some time at home, Barty was straight out of the blocks as the new season got underway.
The 25-year-old triumphed at the Adelaide International, but her path to victory was not easy. She overcame Coco Gauff, Sofia Kenin, Iga Świątek and Elena Rybakina to send out a warning shot to her fellow Australian Open contenders.
As world number one, Barty was already considered the favourite to win the Australian Open. Her impressive form in the build-up to the Grand Slam only consolidated this status.
Setting the standard at the Australian Open
Backed by a supportive home crowd, Barty has seemed unflappable during the Australian Open so far. She is yet to drop a set and has conceded just 21 games on her way to the final.
The top seed started with a 6-0, 6-1 victory against Lesia Tsurenko, before moving on to thrash Lucia Bronzetti 6-1, 6-1.
A 6-2, 6-3 win against Camila Giorgi came next, followed by a match-up against Amanda Anisimova of the United States.
Anisimova had stunned defending champion Naomi Osaka in the third round, but Barty was unfazed, triumphing 6-4, 6-3.
Next up was a quarter-final clash against Jessica Pegula. Barty hardly broke a sweat as she beat her opponent 6-2, 6-0.
Who is Ashleigh Barty facing in the Australian Open Final?
After her resounding semi-final victory against Keys, Barty will take on another American for the Australian Open title.
Danielle Collins reached the first Grand Slam final of her career after seeing off Świątek 6-4, 6-1.
The 28-year-old, currently ranked 30th in the world, underwent emergency surgery to treat endometriosis in April 2021.
This seems to have been of massive benefit to her career. Since surgery, Collins won her first two WTA titles – the Palermo International and Silicon Valley Classic – and she is now in a Grand Slam final.
Collins overcame Caroline Dolehide, Ana Konjuh, Clara Tauson, Elise Mertens and Alizé Cornet to reach the latter stages of the Australian Open.
The star revealed she was looking forward to taking on Barty on Saturday, even though the Australian has won three of their four previous encounters.
”We’ve had some incredible battles over the years and to play against the number one player in the world in her home country is going to be really spectacular,” Collins said.
“The energy the fans bring, whether they’re for me or for my opponent, we’re just so grateful [to have them] after everything with COVID-19.
“I’m just excited for it. I’m looking forward to hopefully having a great match and battling away with Ash.”