Ashleigh Barty is relishing the challenge of heading to the Australian Open as the world No.1 and fresh off of a “special” week in Adelaide, where she lifted her first ever tour-level singles trophy on home soil on Saturday.
The 23-year-old Aussie enjoyed a 6-2, 7-5 final victory over Ukrainian big-hitter Dayana Yastremska, to wrap up a memorable week at the inaugural Adelaide International.
After losing in the finals of this tournament’s predecessor in Sydney the last two years, Barty finally ended her drought at home, much to the delight of the sell-out South Australian crowd at the Memorial Drive Tennis Centre.
She is the first Australian woman to lift a WTA singles trophy at home since Jarmila Wolfe triumphed in Hobart in 2011.
“Third time lucky, I suppose, isn’t it? The best part about this week is I fought and scrapped my way through and got better and better in each situation, in each match,” said Barty, who took down four quality opponents en route to the title, all of whom are ranked inside the top-31.
“I just put myself in the position to play for another title, which is really exciting. It’s been incredible to play at home. Yeah, a really, really special week.”
The 19-year-old Yastremska entered the clash with a clean 3-0 record in career finals, and with three top-20 wins under her belt this week.
The pair exchanged love holds to start the contest but Barty made her move in game three to break en route to a 3-1 lead. Barty extended her advantage with a second break and served out the set in style, holding to love, to go up a set in 31 minutes.
A lengthy first game of the second set saw Barty break the Yastremska serve, but her 2-0 advantage was soon wiped out by the Ukrainian teenager.
Barty saved two break points to hold for 4-4 and then put pressure on her opponent the next game, however, Yastremska escaped to keep things on serve.
Yastremska fell behind 0-40 in game 11 and sent a wild backhand astray to give Barty the opportunity to serve for the championship. And the world No.1 did not blink, closing out the final with a love hold to claim the eighth singles title of her career.
“It’s been a great preparation this week. It’s been a great two weeks of preparation. I know that we play Monday night, so look forward to playing on Rod Laver Arena on Monday night,” said Barty, who faces Lesia Tsurenko in her Australian Open first round in two days’ time.
“It’s going to be exciting and a fresh tournament, as well. I have to start with my clean slate for the Australian Open. Looking forward to that first round.”
— Adelaide International (@AdelaideTennis) January 18, 2020
Barty will no doubt have a media frenzy around her at Melbourne Park, but she is confident she’ll be able to handle it all. She plans on sticking to her routines, which has certainly worked out well for her so far.
“I think I enjoy the challenge and I enjoy what next week will bring, regardless of what number is next to my name,” said the Queenslander.
“I think it’s a brilliant event to be a part of. You only get to play so many Australian Opens, so I think for me it’s about enjoying the competition and the challenge and focusing on what I can do. I think there is not really much else I have to worry about in that regard. If it’s a first round, if it’s a final, if it’s anything in between, it’s still an amazing experience. I think I just have to go out there and enjoy it.”
On her part, Yastremska can be pleased with her week in Adelaide, where she made the first Premier-level final of her career.
“I want to congratulate Ashleigh for the win. Great tournament, it was a pleasure to play against the world No.1, I wish you good luck in Melbourne and I wish we’re going to play many more times,” she said during the trophy ceremony.
“I want to say thanks to my team, it’s not the win, but it’s just the beginning.”