WILL EVANS’ daily preview serves up Australian Open tips for the 2022 women’s final between dominant Ash Barty and the determined Danielle Collins.
History: Played 4: Barty 3 V Collins 1
Last meeting: Adelaide International, 2021 (R16): Collins d Barty 6-3 6-4
Final Thoughts: The Australian Open milestones keep tumbling for Ash Barty, who has become the first Australian to reach the final since Lleyton Hewitt in 2005 and the first Aussie woman to get to a decider since Wendy Turnbull in 1980.
The world No.1 is a red-hot $1.21 favourite to become the first homegrown Australian Open champ in 44 years with a victory over gritty American Danielle Collins.
Barty has carved one of the most dominant paths to the final in recent Grand Slam memory. She is yet to drop a set and has lost just 21 games in total in six matches – including just one on serve. Amanda Anisimova provided the 25-year-old with her biggest test in the fourth round, which she passed 6-4 6-3. Barty then destroyed 21st seed Jessica Pegula 6-2 6-0 in the quarters and Madison Keys 6-1 6-3 in the semis.
Every part of Barty’s game – her serve, powerful groundstrokes and mesmerising backhand slice – is at its zenith.
Collins has reached her maiden Grand Slam final in impressive style. The 27th seed came from a set down to beat Clara Tauson and 19th seed Elise Mertens, before overwhelming Alize Cornet 7-5 6-1 in the quarter-finals.
She then caused a semi-final upset with a 6-4 6-1 defeat of seventh seed Iga Swiatek. In just her second Grand Slam semi, Collins blasted 27 winners for only her second win over a top-10 opponent at a major.
Confidence for Collins from H2H
Barty has won three of her four clashes with Collins, including a straight-sets result in the second round of the 2019 French Open and a lengthy three-setter in the 2020 Adelaide International semis. But Collins’ sole victory came in their most recent meeting, a 6-3 6-4 win in Adelaide last February.
The pressure is all on Barty – she’s been capable of winning this tournament for the past three years but come up short. The expectation is immense. Meanwhile, Collins has nothing to lose and has proved very adept at seizing flat points in her opponent’s game.
The problem for Collins is Barty has hardly wavered from absolutely top-shelf form during the past fortnight. Barty’s performances in winning her two Grand Slam finals to date – against Marketa Vondrousova in the 2019 French Open and especially against Karolina Pliskova at Wimbledon last year – also hold her in good stead.
Only a serious meltdown can prevent Barty from fulfilling her Australian Open destiny on Saturday night.