Australian Open: Barty's variety to be tested by Collins' aggression in intriguing final

By Sports Desk January 28, 2022

Ash Barty's form at the Australian Open gives her deserved favourite status for the final, but in Danielle Collins one of the most dangerous players on the WTA Tour stands between her and history.

Barty has ruthlessly cruised into Saturday's final – the first Australian to reach the women's singles decider in 42 years – in brilliant form.

The two-time grand slam champion has lost just 21 games on her way to the showpiece, dropping serve just once.

Barty, the world number one, has appeared a class above at the year's first grand slam, where she is bidding to become the first Australian singles champion since Chris O'Neil in 1978. But she faces a huge test in the final against American 27th seed Collins, who is into her first major decider.

After three straight losses to Barty, two of which were on clay, Collins beat the Australian in straight sets in Adelaide last year in a sign of what she is capable of. Collins, who came from a break down in both sets in that win, possesses the power to threaten Barty on Rod Laver Arena.

 

Barty's variety – her serve, backhand slice and ability to construct points – has been much talked about in Melbourne this year.

Her 35 aces for the tournament are the second most, and exactly half of her first serves have been unreturned at the event, the highest percentage of any player in the women's draw. While Barty will try to unsettle Collins with her variety, the American is likely to respond with power. Collins has crushed 32 return winners at the event, a tally that is eight more than the next best.

Collins has also delivered 164 winners to 149 unforced errors, showcasing her aggressiveness, while Barty is at 106 and 96 respectively.

If Barty can extend the points, she will fancy her chances of a first Australian Open title. Collins has spent 10 hours, 37 minutes on court compared to Barty's 6:06, but shorter points would also suit the 2019 Australian Open semi-finalist.

Of points between zero and eight shots this tournament, Collins has won 458 of 809 (56.6 per cent), while Barty is 331-202 (62.1). But of rallies of nine-plus shots, Collins is 23-31 compared to Barty's 30-19 at the 2022 event.

Barty will be well aware of what Collins is capable of, but should have confidence her best is more than good enough to end Australia's long wait.

Related items

  • Poland 1-2 Netherlands: Weghorst the hero in comeback win for the Dutch Poland 1-2 Netherlands: Weghorst the hero in comeback win for the Dutch

    The Netherlands came from behind to beat Poland and start their Euro 2024 campaign with a 2-1 victory in Hamburg. 

    Substitute Wout Weghorst completed the turnaround for the Oranje late on, having gone behind to Adam Buksa's early effort. 

    The Poles would settle quicker than their opponents, and took the lead in the 16th minute as Buska rose highest to meet Piotr Zielinski's delivery into the box, the third consecutive goal the Netherlands have conceded from a corner kick, as many as in their previous 83 conceded goals.

    Despite record top-scorer Robert Lewandowski watching on from the bench, he would have been pleased by his side's start to the contest as they aimed to secure their first win over their opponents since 1980. 

    However, Gakpo hauled the Netherlands level with the aid of a deflection from Bartosz Salamon, his effort bouncing over the helpless Wojciech Szczesny. 

    Both sides continued to exchange blows in their search for an important three points ahead of France's meeting with Austria in Dusseldorf on Monday.

    But with seven minutes of the contest remaining, Weghorst emerged from the bench to score his seventh goal in his last 11 international appearances, finishing smartly after being picked out by Nathan Ake inside the box. 

    Data Debrief: Weghorst to the rescue as the Netherlands continue Poland streak

    Gakpo's strike took him into double figures for his nation, and he has now scored in each of his last four group stage games at the European Championships and World Cup, becoming the third European player to do so this century, after Cristiano Ronaldo and Alvaro Morata.

    Poland are now winless in their last 13 meetings with the Netherlands in all competitions (D5 L8), since a 2-0 home win in EURO 1980 qualifying.

     

  • Draper claims first career title as Berrettini beaten in Stuttgart Draper claims first career title as Berrettini beaten in Stuttgart

    Jack Draper won his first ATP Tour title by fighting back to beat Matteo Berrettini in the BOSS Open final in Stuttgart, ahead of becoming British number one for the first time on Monday.

    Draper had already ensured he will become Britain's top player in the ATP rankings by reaching the showpiece match in Germany with back-to-back wins over Americans Francis Tiafoe and Brandon Nakashima.

    Former Wimbledon runner-up Berrettini took Sunday's opener in just 33 minutes, but Draper fought back in a near-hour-long second set as the momentum shifted.

    Draper failed to convert two set points at 5-4 and the first of two in the tiebreak, but he never looked back after levelling things up.

    A break in the seventh game was enough to take the decider as Draper triumphed 3-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-4, serving a huge ace – his 12th of the contest – on match point.

    Data Debrief: Draper follows in Murray's footsteps

    Draper will crack the world's top 30 after claiming his maiden title in his third ATP final, having previously lost to Adrian Mannarino at last year's Sofia Open and Jiri Lehecka at January's Adelaide Open.

    He will also become his country's top male player at the age of 22 years and 269 days, making him the youngest British number one since Andy Murray in November 2009.

  • De Minaur beats Korda to capture Libema Open crown De Minaur beats Korda to capture Libema Open crown

    Alex de Minaur overcame Sebastian Korda in straight sets to win the Libema Open title on Sunday, clinching a career-high placing in the ATP rankings in the process.

    The Australian needed one hour and 31 minutes on court to defeat Korda 6-2 6-4, meaning he triumphed at 's-Hertogenbosch without dropping a set in any round.

    Back-to-back breaks got De Minaur through the opener, and though Korda hit straight back following another break early in the second, De Minaur kept the pressure on and got his reward in the sixth game.

    De Minaur forced 14 break points overall while saving four of the six he faced, with Korda producing 26 unforced errors in an erratic performance.

    Data Debrief: De Minaur enjoying productive year

    After beating Casper Ruud to win the Mexican Open final in February, De Minaur has won multiple ATP crowns in a single year for the third time, also triumphing at Sydney, Atlanta and Zhuha in 2019 and in Antalya and Eastbourne in 2021.

    He had already clinched a new career-high ATP ranking of eighth with his semi-final win over Ugo Humbert, but he will now rise to seventh on Monday after lifting the trophy.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.