World number one Iga Swiatek beat Victoria Azarenka 6-4 6-1 to progress to the quarter-finals of the Internazionali d'Italia in Rome on Thursday. 

Swiatek, who became the first female player to win 25 consecutive matches since Serena Williams in 2015, will face Bianca Andreescu in the last eight after she eased past Petra Martic 6-4 6-4.

"I didn't start well, and everybody could see that," Swiatek told reporters. "I'm really happy with the way I reacted and how I improved in the first set.

"Also how different the second set looked to the first one because I could really reset and really change the way I played. That's the most positive thing for me."

There was a shock in the final game of the day, though, as Daria Kasatkina dumped out number two seed Paula Badosa 6-4 6-4. 

Third seed Aryna Sabalenka sealed a third straight win over Jessica Pegula, easing to a 6-1 6-4 victory, while fourth seed Maria Sakkari defeated Coco Gauff 6-4 7-5.

Seventh seed Danielle Collins was knocked out by unseeded compatriot Amanda Anisimova, the 20-year-old cruising past the Australian Open finalist 6-2 6-2.

There were also victories for Jil Teichmann, who overcame Elena Rybakina 6-7 (3-7) 6-3 7-5, and ninth seed Ons Jabeur, who beat Yulia Putintseva 6-3 6-2.

Naomi Osaka joined several other big names in falling to a second-round exit at the Madrid Open, although Emma Raducanu cruised to a routine straight-sets win over Marta Kostyuk.

Four-time grand slam winner Osaka crashed to a resounding 6-3 6-1 loss to Spain's Sara Sorribes Tormo, exiting her first tournament on clay since the 2021 French Open, where she withdrew citing mental health issues.

Osaka, who had posted an underwhelming 20-15 record on the surface prior to this week, looked uncomfortable throughout and appeared to struggle with a leg injury during a disappointing second set display.

The 24-year-old was not the only high profile player to be on the receiving end of a shock during a day of drama in the Spanish capital, as several of the competition's seeds failed to secure places in the last 16.

Another home favourite, Garbine Muguruza, fell to a resounding loss of her own as Anhelina Kalinina raced to a 6-3 6-0 victory over the seventh seed, while sixth seed Danielle Collins was thrashed 6-1 6-1 by Canadian Bianca Andreescu.

Fourth seed Maria Sakkari was the highest-ranked player in action, and although the world number five won the first set of her clash with Daria Kasatkina, the Greek eventually fell to a 3-6 6-3 6-1 loss, while 2021 US Open runner-up Leylah Fernandez went down 6-4 6-4 to Jil Teichmann.

One big name who did make comfortable progress, however, was Fernandez's US Open conqueror Raducanu, who eased to a 6-2 6-1 win over Kostyuk to set up a last-16 encounter with another Ukrainian in Kalinina. 

The 19-year-old, who has been quoted as saying she believes clay could prove to be her best surface in the future, was delighted with her victory and enjoying the tournament after dropping just one game in the second set.

"I'm definitely happy with my performance," Raducanu said on court. "Marta's a great opponent - I knew it was going to be a really tough battle. I went out there trying to be really aggressive and it paid off.

"It's my first clay court season and I'm really enjoying it. Madrid is such a cool city and it's got such a great vibe about it. I definitely want to try and stay here for as long as possible."

Naomi Osaka will make her first Miami Open semi-final appearance after defeating Danielle Collins 6-2 6-1 on Tuesday.

The Florida native and the 2022 Australian Open finalist were worlds apart on serve, with Osaka putting up 13 aces, while Collins served seven double faults and had a meagre first-serve rate of 37.8 per cent.

While dropping only three games provides ample reflection, Osaka was in almost total control, winning 28 of 38 total points on serve and over half of the points on return with 26 out of 45. Her 25 winners to three unforced errors only reinforced the dominant nature of the win.

The Japanese former world number one has not dropped a set en route to the semi-final, and did not face a single break point against Collins, who called a medical time-out to address a neck issue after the first set.

"I'm glad I was able to get through quickly," Osaka said post-match. "I focused on trying to hit a lot of really good returns.

"This is actually my first night match too, so I didn't know what the conditions were going to be like."

Osaka will face reigning Olympic champion Belinda Bencic, who comfortably saw her way past Daria Saville with a 6-1 6-2 win.

The Tokyo gold medallist progressed to her first WTA 1000 semi-final since Madrid in 2019, needing just 69 minutes to defeat the unseeded Australian.

With Saville serving at 51 per cent for the match, Bencic was all over the second look, winning 18 of a total 23 points in those scenarios.

The critical element of the match was the Swiss 22nd seed's ruthlessness on break point, converting seven out of total eight times.

World number two Iga Swiatek showed why she is next in line to occupy the top ranking as she comfortably handled the challenge of 14 seed Cori Gauff 6-3 6-1 to earn a spot in the quarter-finals at the Miami Open.

Swiatek, 20, will become the first Polish-born man or woman to earn the number one singles ranking when it is next updated on April 4, after Ash Barty's retirement, and she never gave Gauff a chance.

She won all eight of her service games in the match, and broke Gauff's serve four times in eight chances to rattle off five consecutive games to close the match.

After a walkover in her last fixture, Naomi Osaka was strong on her way to a 6-3 6-4 win against Alison Riske.

Both women produced break points throughout the match, but while Osaka saved seven out of eight, coming back to double-break after her slip-up in the second set, Riske could only save nine of 12.

In a clash between top-10 seeds, Danielle Collins was terrific in her 6-2 6-4 win against Ons Jabeur.

The match was decided by each woman's success on their second serve, as Jabeur had the better first serve, but could only win 31 per cent of her second serves (8-26), while Collins was an even 73 per cent on both her first and second attempts.

Daria Saville continued her march back up the rankings with a 5-7 6-4 7-5 win against Lucia Bronzetti, making it nine wins from her past 10 matches for the Australian ranked 249 in the world after recently returning from a long-term achilles injury.

Saville will play Switzerland's Belinda Bencic after she breezed past Belarus' Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-2 6-3, while Petra Kvitova got the better of higher-ranked Veronika Kudermetova 7-6 (7-5) 6-4.

American Jessica Pegula was nearly flawless on her way to a 6-0 first set before Ukrainian Anhelina Kalinina retired due to injury, while world number six Paula Badosa beat wildcard Linda Fruhvirtova 6-2 6-3.

 

Naomi Osaka moved into the fourth round at the Miami Open without even taking the court on Saturday, getting a walkover victory as Karolina Muchova withdrew.

The former world number one claimed straights sets victories coming into Saturday and had her run eased even further, with Muchova citing abdominal injury after almost five hours on court in her opening two matches.

Muchova has been sidelined due to the injury for the last seven months, missing the US Open in 2021 as well as the Australian Open this year.

"I'm sad that I cannot put up a battle against Naomi today." Muchova tweeted. "After a long break from tennis, two tough matches in [a] row have been a lot for my body and I need longer to recover."

While Lucia Bronzetti also won in a walkover, Osaka will face Alison Riske, who defeated fellow unseeded American Ann Li 6-2 3-6 6-3.

In her third match since losing to Ash Barty in the Australian Open final, Danielle Collins defeated Vera Zvonareva 6-1 6-4 in 78 minutes.

The American world number 11 has had to deal with numerous niggling injuries this season, including a viral illness that left her with significant neck pain.

"There was obviously an emotional moment for me, the pain I'm dealing with right now with this injury," she said post-match.

"Just trying to work through that, I think is one of the hardest things we go through mentally when we're on court."

Fellow seeds Belinda Bencic and Ons Jabeur also made their way through to the fourth round, defeating Heather Watson and Kaia Kanepi respectively.

Both won with relative comfort, with Bencic winning 6-4 6-1, and Jabeur only dropping three games in the opening set to triumph 6-3 6-0.

Naomi Osaka is through to the third round of the Miami Open after beating former world number one Angelique Kerber in straight sets.

Osaka won the first three games of the match to jump out to an early lead, securing the set with a double-break before breaking early in the second to cruise to a 6-2 6-3 win.

The story of the match was Osaka's ease in winning points against Kerber's serve, winning 41 per cent (15/37) of Kerber's successful first serves, while the German could only win 11 per cent (3/27) in the same category.

Britain's top-ranked woman Emma Raducanu suffered another early exit, on the wrong end of Katerina Siniakova's comeback 3-6 6-4 7-5 win.

Two of the top-ranked players on the WTA tour have spoken about world number one Ash Barty's shock retirement, with Danielle Collins calling it "badass".

Barty announced she had retired through a post on her Instagram account, where she had a sit-down interview with former Australian tennis player Casey Dellacqua about her decision to walk away.

In her interview, Barty discussed accomplishing the goals she set out for herself in her tennis career, capped off with wins at Wimbledon and this year's Australian Open, as well as having other dreams she would like to work towards.

Barty, 25, has played professional cricket in Australia's Big Bash League, and has been linked with her beloved Richmond Tigers if she were to try her hand at Australian Rules football.

She is also recently married, and has discussed her desire to start a family.

Collins, currently the world number 11, spoke about how incredible it is that Barty is able to walk away at such a young age, with so many accomplishments under her belt.

"I am a little bit surprised because I think at 25 and being at the top of her game and in achieving everything that she's achieved and being so young she would certainly continue to achieve what she's been achieving," Collins said.

"But I think it really speaks to the way that our game empowers women, because how many other professions would you be able to retire at 25? 

"I mean, this is incredible, it's so badass, and I really have a lot of respect for Ash making the decision to do what's best for her, and to live out her life on her terms. It's really special."

Rising star and world number two Iga Swiatek also weighed in, saying her first reaction was an outpouring of emotion about what a loss it was for the game of tennis.

"Well, I mean, it is so fresh and it's so sudden that it is something that I need to digest," the 20-year-old said.

"I cried for like 30 minutes, actually, when she posted that video and that interview. 

"It's very hard to describe it because on one hand… if you know Ash, it's not a surprise at all, because she's like that kind of person who's looking for challenges also in other aspects of life. 

"I mean, you can see that she's pretty confident with her decision. But on the other hand, it's new for me to see athletes retiring so early. 

"I'm pretty new on tour and I feel like I wanted to play more matches against Ash, and also compete against her and have a chance to actually understand how she plays and how she uses the different skills that she has. 

"I mean, for me, I feel kind of sad that I'm not going to be able to do that because I think it would be a great rivalry. And also, she's a great person to look up to and to kind of chase. 

"But I'm also happy for her, and I think she's really brave that she made that decision because there would be many people who, I don't know, kind of stay in this place because you were first in the world. 

"But if you're not feeling happy with what you're doing or if you're feeling satisfied as she did after winning the Australian Open, then it's your own decision. And I think she's pretty brave that she made that decision."

Danielle Collins was in optimistic mood despite losing to Ash Barty in straight sets in Saturday's Australian Open final at Melbourne Park.

Barty was made to work for it by unlikely finalist Collins and had to come from 5-1 down in the second set to prevail 6-3 7-6 (7-2) on Rod Laver Arena.

Collins had raced to within one game of taking the second set, only for Barty to rally back with a quite sensational fightback that ended with tie-break success to secure the trophy.

At a media conference following the final, Collins said she was happy with her efforts against Barty and declared it a "fun battle".

"Not the result that I wanted obviously tonight, but I gave it my best effort," the American told reporters. "I did everything that I could.

"I was pushed to the max, and I gave myself a chance there in the end. Unfortunately, it didn't go my way, but I did everything I could, and that's all you can do at the end of the day.

"It was a great event for me. [I] accomplished some new things, learned a lot of new things. I certainly have some areas to improve, which is a good thing. Yeah, [I] played against a great competitor tonight, and it was a fun battle."

Barty won in front of a passionate home crowd, and Collins explained where in particular she had struggled against her.

"I think she started to push me back in the court a little bit more," Collins added. "I was having some issues really being able to fully rotate on some of my shots to be able to get my shots to where I needed them to be.

"It was really unfortunate, but I did everything I could, tried to push through it. Fell short. She definitely came up with some great shots in some of those big moments, especially with her serving and pushing me back in the court."

The 28-year-old – who hit the same number of unforced errors as Barty (22), but only 17 winners to the Australian's 30 – also had further words of gratitude for her mentor Marty Schneider, whom she also thanked along with her boyfriend in her post-match comments on court.

"We were joking about some tournaments that he had attended with me," she added. "25K in Orlando where I did not have the best performance, and thinking about the way that I'm playing now versus then, it seems like a lifetime ago, but it really wasn't that long ago.

"Other situations that I was in playing some of those smaller tournaments and facing challenges and bumps in the road and how I used to go about things and think about things, how clueless I was sometimes and how much I have learned and grown from those moments.

"Now we can kind of look back and laugh, but during those moments we had some tough conversations. Marty was always on call for all of those.

"I think we've shared some incredible memories over the years, but especially this week to see all of those baby steps come together now and being on the biggest stage in the world, it's just been so special."

Ash Barty said she focused on enjoying herself to avoid getting hampered by the pressure and expectation of delivering an Australian Open title.

The 25-year-old ended Australia's 44-year wait for a singles champion in Melbourne by beating Danielle Collins 6-3 7-6 (7-2) on Saturday.

World number one Barty claimed her third grand slam title, landing the trophy without dropping a set.

All the talk at the tournament focused on Barty ending Australia's drought, but the reigning Wimbledon champion said her ability to just enjoy herself was key.

"I think the expectation was that I would always come out and give my best, and that's all I've ever done," she told a news conference.

"I have been close before, but I think now that we've been able to achieve this, I think you guys don't need to talk about it anymore.

"You were the ones who added fuel to the fire, because for us it was just the same processes and the same enjoyment, regardless of where we're playing in the world, what round it is. That has no impact on how much I enjoy my tennis and go out there or how much I try and compete.

"I think it's being able to really simplify that and then just come out and enjoy it. I mean, this fortnight, seven times I got to walk out onto a beautiful court with incredible fans and try and do the best I can do, and that's all I could ask of myself.

"Now to be able to have this part of my dream kind of achieved is amazing, and I think I have to really understand that that came from the processes that we put in with my team and the people that are around me, because without them, I wouldn't be half the person that I am."

Barty came from 5-1 down in the second set to overcome Collins, sealing her victory with a forehand cross-court passing winner.

After a successful fortnight, Barty screamed in delight to celebrate her win.

"It was a little bit surreal. I think I didn't quite know what to do or what to feel, and I think just being able to let out a little bit of emotion, which is a little bit unusual for me, and I think being able to celebrate with everyone who was there in the crowd, the energy was incredible tonight," she said.

"I think being able to understand how much work my team and I have done behind the scenes and over the last few years, to get to this point to be able to have this opportunity was really special.

"I think it just kind of all came out at once, and yeah, it was a really, really special moment."

Ash Barty can still get better but she will not win the US Open unless a change that is out of her hands is made, according to coach Craig Tyzzer.

Barty became the first local in 44 years to win the Australian Open, beating Danielle Collins 6-3 7-6 (7-2) in the final on Saturday.

The 25-year-old dealt with the pressure and expectation in Melbourne to win her third grand slam title.

But Tyzzer said there was still growth left in Barty, who came from 5-1 down in the second set against Collins.

"There's still areas we continue to work on still, she's got to get better at. I'm not going to tell what you they are because that's giving away a few too many secrets. But there's still room for improvement," he told a news conference.

"I think what she's done really well is just she's enjoyed it. She's been really composed and enjoyed playing. Like tonight, we knew what the challenges were going to be, like Danielle can just blow you off the court at times. So she was looking forward to that challenge, 'Okay, how do I figure out how to beat this girl who can just hit you into the corners and hurt you every time you drop it short?'

"I think for her that's the best part. She's enjoying playing, enjoying the challenges. There's still areas we'll work on with her game. I probably don't have to do too much with her serve now. It seems to be working really well.

"But, yeah, you're always looking for areas to get better."

Barty is the second active women's player to have won a grand slam on all three surfaces, joining Serena Williams.

But Barty's chances of completing a career Grand Slam by winning the US Open rely on something out of her control – changing the balls.

"The US Open really needs to change the ball for the girls, the fact they still use a different ball for guys and girls. It's a terrible ball for someone like Ash," Tyzzer said.

"Even in Cincinnati when they use the US Open ball outside she could actually get some loft out of the court, but the ball itself is so light. It was the only tournament last year and really for two years where she uses a gut racquet, but I had to change her to a poly just to get any sort of control of the ball.

"If they keep that ball the same, no one like Ash will win that tournament. So I think you see the result at the US Open, it was two players who, you go, 'Wow, that was, two different players won that?' There's no surprise when the ball is like it is. And I don't know the reason why. It's the only tournament that has separate balls for the guys and girls. So if they don't change the balls, she won't win the US Open."

Ash Barty was staring at a nervy deciding set in the Australian Open final before she turned the second on its head to end the locals' drought.

Barty became the first local Australian Open singles champion in 44 years by beating Danielle Collins 6-3 7-6 (7-2) on Saturday.

Such a scoreline looked unlikely when Barty fell 5-1 behind in the second set in front of an electric Rod Laver Arena crowd.

But, as she had all tournament despite the pressure and expectations, Barty stayed calm. She turned it around, riding a wave of momentum to seal victory in straight sets.

From Collins' 5-1 lead, Barty hit 13 winners and just four unforced errors. Collins was three and nine respectively. But what really hurt the American was making just three of 12 first serves in the two games she was broken in.

Stats Perform takes a closer look at what happened, with Collins two points away from forcing a third set on three separate occasions.

Collins serving at 6-3 1-5
Barty had served two double faults in the previous game to open the door widely to Collins. After the American missed a first serve, a loud cheer from the crowd was met by a disapproving finger wag from Barty, who followed that up with a forehand winner. Still, Collins found herself two points from the set at 30-30. But she sent a backhand well long before Barty forced another error with a powerful return. Collins made one of six first serves in the game.

Barty serving at 6-3 2-5
Barty raced into a 40-0 lead and, while Collins won the next two points, a long forehand helped her hold, putting pressure on the American.

Collins serving at 6-3 3-5
Collins again found herself two points from the set, leading 30-0. The response from Barty was phenomenal. Barty crushed a forehand return winner down the line before another forehand winner caught the back of the line to draw the game level at 30-30. Another big forehand return set up break point before Collins netted a backhand.

Barty serving at 6-3 4-5
Barty recovered from 0-15 to hold, with two big serves doing the damage, and Collins' momentum was well and truly gone.

Collins serving at 6-3 5-5
On the back of making four of five first serves, Collins steadied to end Barty's run of four straight games.

Barty serving at 6-3 5-6
For the third time, Collins found herself two points away from winning the set, with Barty in a 15-30 hole. But Barty came up big, delivering three consecutive unreturnable serves to force a tie-break.

Tie-break
Collins started the tie-break with a forehand that flew well long then returned a serve well long to fall 2-0 behind. That freed Barty up, the Australian crushing back-to-back winners, including a great smash, to open up a 4-0 lead she would not relinquish. Collins put a backhand return off a Barty second serve halfway up the net to fall 5-1 behind. A forehand cross-court passing shot winner sealed Barty's victory.

Ash Barty was "a little stumped" after she beat Danielle Collins to claim her maiden Australian Open title.

The world number one had to come from 5-1 down in the second set to defeat her American opponent – a first-time grand slam finalist – 6-3 7-6 (7-2) on Rod Laver Arena.

Buoyed on by a partisan home crowd in Melbourne, Barty made light work of a drained Collins in the tie-break to become the first Australian since 1978 to win the men's or women's singles in the season's first major.

Barty is also the first woman to win her home grand slam since Sloane Stephens triumphed in the 2017 US Open, and the first woman since Serena Williams in 2015 to win the Australian Open while ranked number one.

The 25-year-old has won 11 straight matches in 2022 and now has three grand slam titles to her name, after winning the French Open in 2019 and Wimbledon in 2021. 

She is the first Australian Open Women's singles winner with 30 or fewer games dropped on her way to secure the title since Mary Pierce in 1995.

"I'm a little stumped here," Barty said at the on-court presentation.

"I would love to thank everyone who does so much work behind the scenes. This last couple of years has been extraordinarily tough for everyone.

"It takes a really big village to put on an event like this. I think this tournament has been one of my favourite experiences.

"To my team... wow. I'm so lucky to have so many people here that love me, support me, my mum, dad and sisters here, so happy that they could come down here today.

"I'm an incredibly fortunate and lucky girl to have so much love in my corner. We did it all together. Nobody's changed from my team, you guys are the best in the business, I can't thank you enough for all the time and love you put into me.

"As an Aussie, the most important thing is to share this with so many people and this crowd is one of the most fun I've ever played in front of.

"You guys relaxed me, forced me to play my best tennis. Against a champion like Danielle, I knew I had to bring that today. Thanks for all your love and support the last couple of weeks.

"This is just a dream come true for me, and I'm so proud to be an Aussie."

Collins will be heading into the top 10 for the first time in her career after her run in Melbourne. The 28-year-old looked primed to take the match to a decider when she raced ahead in the second set, before Barty's sensational comeback.

"Congratulations to Danielle and your team, it's been an amazing fortnight for you," Barty told the runner-up.

"You're in the top 10 and that's absolutely where you belong. I know you'll be fighting for many more of these in the future."

Collins, who was aiming for a third career singles title on the WTA Tour, is the seventh different American player to reach the final of the women's singles at the Australian Open since the turn of the century.

She beat Barty in Adelaide in 2021 but has now lost four of their five meetings in total.

"Well, first, I owe a big congratulations to Ash, on a phenomenal two weeks here, a really phenomenal couple of years," the 28-year-old said.

"It's been tremendous to watch her climb her way up the rankings all the way to number one and live out her dream.

"I really admire you as the player that you are, the variety of your game – hopefully I can implement some of that into mine."

Ash Barty is a class above her peers right now – and 2022 is hers to dominate even further on the grand slam stage.

Barty ended Australia's wait for a singles champion in Melbourne after a 6-3 7-6 (7-2) win over Danielle Collins in the final on Saturday.

The world number one dealt with the pressure of such high expectations to become the first local Australian Open singles champion in 44 years.

Barty had already ended another drought – becoming the first Australian women's singles finalist in 42 years.

The composure she showed during that semi-final win over Madison Keys was again prevalent in the decider against Collins, who predictably threatened and looked certain to force a deciding set on Rod Laver Arena.

Despite the expectations, there was a constant sense of calm and almost inevitability to Barty's success in Melbourne in 2022.

In every moment, Barty seemed unfazed by everything around her, in a zone of her own, even at 5-1 down in the second set in front of an electric home crowd. Barty would have been excused for some panic, the fear of letting down the masses awaiting and anticipating a local Australian Open singles champion. But she didn't, and her calmness was mostly mirrored by those in the stands, who eventually got what they came for.

And Barty's confidence was well-founded. She was far too good for each of her opponents, losing just 21 games on her way to the decider before facing a tougher test against Collins.

Barty became the second active women's singles player to win a grand slam on every surface after adding the Australian Open to her 2019 French Open and 2021 Wimbledon titles, joining the great Serena Williams.

Her coach, Craig Tyzzer, warned on Australia Day that Barty had "played better at times" in her career. But there was a steely resolve about Barty, whose focus and concentration was even more impenetrable than her serve throughout the fortnight. The emotions were released after championship point was converted with a cross-court forehand pass.

The fact there could be more to come from Barty is a warning to the rest of the WTA Tour. That she managed all the pressure and expectation to win an Australian Open without dropping a set says a lot.

"She seems very focused, but she's playing very within herself, and it just seems like everything is really working for her right now without playing unbelievable tennis for her," said Keys after being crushed in the last four. "I think the rest of us are watching it thinking, 'Wow, this is incredible', but when you watch her, she seems completely in control of all of it."

Conquered by Barty in the quarter-finals, Jessica Pegula admitted the Australian was simply better than everyone else.

"Just to do it two out of three sets for somebody to beat her is tough because she just makes you play so much and does everything so well," she said. "Yeah, I think she's definitely living in everyone's head a little bit. I don't think anyone is going to feel great going out to play her because they know they have to play really well."

Barty has made history and delivered one of the iconic moments in Australian sport. She is a step above her opponents right now, and more history could await in 2022.

Ash Barty defeated Danielle Collins in an enthralling final to cap a supreme Australian Open campaign with a maiden title in her home grand slam.

Barty was made to work hard for her success by unlikely finalist Collins and had to come from 5-1 down in the second set to prevail 6-3 7-6 (7-2) on Rod Laver Arena.

It was to the delight of a partisan Melbourne crowd, who saw an Australian triumph in a singles event at the season's first major for the first time since Chris O'Neil in 1978.

Barty, who has now won 11 matches in a row in 2022, clinched her third grand slam title at the first opportunity, a sublime cross-court forehand sealing a sensational triumph.

Barty had offered the first sign of nerves and had to save the match's first break point with a brilliant forehand winner before recovering to hold.

Yet she turned the tables in the next game, Collins tensing up and conceding the first break when she sent two serves long.

With the crowd behind her, Barty got into her groove, holding with ease before two fantastic forehands paved the way for her to serve out the set.

Barty seemed primed to take the match away from Collins in the second set, yet the top seed was stunned as she slumped to a 3-0 deficit.

Having conceded serve for just the second time in the tournament, Barty squandered two immediate chances to break back, Collins coming out on top in a thrilling rally.

There were more fist pumps from Collins as she held to go 4-1 up. A brilliant passing shot gave Barty hope in the next game, but she rushed a volley and followed with a double fault to hand her opponent two break points.

Collins took the first to put herself on the brink of restoring parity, only for Barty to rally back with a break of her own and start a quite sensational comeback.

Having held for 6-3, Barty appeared to have left herself too much to do when she went 30-0 down on Collins' next serve but reeled off four straight points to send the crowd into raptures before levelling the set with a fine hold.

Collins needed to regain her composure and did so to reach the tie-break, but a foreland long put Barty in control, and the crowd were on their feet after a volleyed winner made it 4-0.

Collins struck the net and then missed the court to grand Barty four championship points, and the comeback was complete with her slick forehand.

DATA SLAM: Barty's home run

The first Australian woman since 1980 to reach the final of this major, Barty became the first woman to win a grand slam title in her home country since Sloane Stephens triumphed at the 2017 US Open.

She is also the first woman ranked world number one to lift the trophy since Serena Williams in 2015, ending a run of top-ranked players losing the Australian Open final, after Simona Halep in 2018 and Serena Williams in 2016.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Barty – 30/22
Collins – 17/22

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Barty – 10/3
Collins – 1/2

BREAK POINTS WON
Barty – 3/5
Collins – 2/4

Ash Barty ended the host nation's 44-year wait for an Australian Open singles champion after beating Danielle Collins in straight sets on Saturday.

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