Ashleigh Barty ends home drought with historic Australian Open title after win over Danielle Collins in final
Ashleigh Barty has now won three different Grand Slam singles titles after beating Danielle Collins to triumph in the Australian Open final. The 25-year-old has now won Grand Slam singles titles on clay, grass and hard courts as she became the first home singles champion at Melbourne Park for 44 years after beating the American in memorable fashion.
Highlights: Barty claims historic Australian Open title with win over Collins in final
Barty could hardly have made a stronger start to the match as she dominated Collins from the back of the court from the early stages and went on to win the opening set 6-3.
The world number one appeared to be cruising as she sat at the changeover following the first set as the fans celebrated her apparent coast to the title.
But Collins was written off by many much too soon. The American seized the initiative at the start of the second set with some inspired play. She immediately stamped her authority on proceedings with a break of serve and raced into a 3-0 lead.
Barty belatedly got back in the set, but the unforced errors continued to creep in under pressure following her serene progress early in the match.
Collins, appearing in her first Grand Slam final, relished being the underdog and began to express herself with a clenched fist after each winner as the final appeared to be destined for a deciding set.
Ashleigh Barty of Australia celebrates match point
Image credit: Getty Images
But Barty did remarkably well to stage a prolonged resurgence as she broke back twice at a crucial stage to force a tie-break with Collins left to complain to the umpire about the vociferous home support interrupting her service motions.
In the dramatic and topsy-turvy ensuing tie-break, it was the Queenslander who held her composure under the almost-unbearable pressure to claim a historic victory after one hour and 27 minutes on her favourite court.
'Let the Barty party begin!' - Watch the moment she wins Australian Open title
The 25-year-old has now won three different Grand Slam singles titles with Roland-Garros and Wimbledon crowns already in her collection and, most memorably, now ended the long wait for a home singles champion in front of the Australian fans.
"Thank you everyone so much! I have to say congratulations to Danielle, it has been an amazing fortnight for you. I know you will be fighting for many more of these in the future," Barty said in her moving speech.
"I am a little stumped! I would love to thank everyone who does so much work behind the scenes - it takes a real big village to put on an event like this. This tournament has been one of my favourite experiences, so thank you so much for that.
'Dream come true, I'm so proud to be an Aussie' - Barty in special speech
"To all the umpires, ball kids, everyone who makes it so easy for us players to do what we do - you guys makes it seamless and without you we would be lost!
"To my team, wow! I have said numerous times, I am so lucky to have so many people here who love and support me. Mum, dad and my sisters, I am an incredibly fortunate and lucky girl to have so much love in my corner.
"No one has changed in our team, we are the best in the business and I can't thank you enough for all the time you put into me.
"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.
"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!"
Collins added in her speech: "I think I owe a big congratulations to Ash on a phenomenal two weeks and phenomenal couple of years. I really admire you as the player you are, the variety in your game, and hopefully I can implement some of that into mine."
'How about that!' - Barty wins first set in dominant fashion as crowd go wild
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