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29 Jan, 2022 11:40

Barty rallies to claim Australian Open crown

The women's world number one became the first Australian tennis player to clinch the tournament in 42 years
Barty rallies to claim Australian Open crown

Women's world number one Ashleigh Barty is Australia's first Australian Open champion since 1978 after beating Danielle Collins in the final on Saturday.

Clinching her third Grand Slam crown in the process, Barty made relatively short work of Collins by clinching the match 6-3 7-6 (7-2).

As the scoreline suggests, however, the second set was more difficult for Barty, who at one point trailed her American foe 5-1.

In rallying back, however, Barty maintained a record of not dropping a single set in the tournament and was therefore awarded the trophy by fellow Indigenous Australian Evonne Goolagong Cawley who won the competition four times from 1974-1977.

Thanking her team and family, the 25-year-old said: "As an Aussie, the most important part of this is being able to share it and you guys have been nothing short of exceptional.

"This crowd is one of the most fun I have ever played in front of – you relaxed me and forced me to play my best tennis! Against a champion like Danielle I had to bring that today," she continued.

"This is a dream come true to me and I am so proud to be an Aussie, so thank you so much everyone – we will see you next time!" she vowed.

On Twitter, ex-Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd celebrated the win and said that Barty was "a hero to all Queenslanders, and a generation of aspiring young tennis players".

"Ash Barty. Meg Lanning. Sam Kerr. Australian sport is led by women. The sooner the country realizes it, the better we'll all be," claimed a female women's football writer. 

"Ash Barty been parking her car in a 1-hour zone the entire tournament," added someone else, of the way she dispatched opponents on the way to becoming Australia's first champion at its Grand Slam since Chris O'Neil in 1978.

In true Aussie fashion, Barty cracked the beers open on Channel 9 with her mentor Casey Dellacqua, who she thanked for changing her life when she was depressed and on the verge of an early retirement.

"She brought me into this sport again and allowed me to grow as a person. I love her," Barty stressed.

Elsewhere in the world, women's GOAT candidate Billie Jean King congratulated Barty and said it was a special day for Australia.

When she has recovered from a potential hangover after presumably partying Saturday night away in Melbourne, Barty can plan a bid to recapture the French Open title she landed in 2019 and set herself up for the Grand Slam of all the major trophies in a calendar year that Novak Djokovic narrowly missed out on in 2021 by losing the US Open final to Daniil Medvedev. 

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