Ash Barty claimed her second Adelaide International title in the past three years thanks to a masterful performance against Elena Rybakina in Sunday’s women’s singles final.
The world No.1 cruised to a 6-3 6-2 win over Rybakina in just 64 minutes for her 14th career singles title.
It was an identical scoreline to Barty’s win in her only previous meeting with the Kazakh, at Australian Open 2020 – just a week after she won her first Adelaide title.
“It’s never easy starting the season off the back of a tough pre-season, but it was really fun to play out here with you today and I wish you the best of luck for the rest of the year,” Barty said to Rybakina during the trophy presentation, before addressing the crowd.
“You guys have made this week exceptional for me. You’ve made it so much fun, and you’ve brought that spark back into my tennis, and I thank you so much for that. I really do appreciate it.”
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 9, 2022
After dropping the first set in her opening match of the tournament against Coco Gauff, Barty stormed through eight consecutive sets to hoist the trophy in the South Australian capital.
It is her eighth triumph from her last nine finals, and means she has now won 21 of her past 25 matches on home soil.
Rybakina, meanwhile, has now lost six of her past seven finals, and committed twice as many unforced errors (26-13) as the Australian star in the Adelaide decider.
Barty completed a dream week at Memorial Drive when she teamed with countrywoman Storm Sanders to win the doubles title later on Sunday.
She and Sanders combined to defeat Darija Jurak and Andreja Klepac 6-1 6-4.
— wta (@WTA) January 9, 2022
Early on the match was a tight affair with games going on serve, with Rybakina making the first move toward break the deadlock.
After winning an incredible 18-stroke rally with a forehand winner on the run, she earned two break points at 15-40 in the seventh game after Barty double faulted.
But the Aussie responded strongly, slotting an ace to level scores at deuce, a forehand winner on the next point, and an unreturnable first serve to escape with a hold.
This sequence completely changed the course of the match; Barty went on to win seven straight games to assume total control.
She arrived at a 6-3 4-0 lead thanks to back-to-back aces, and delivered another ace to improve her lead to 5-1.
Rybakina forced Barty to serve for the championship, and competed well to ensure the final game was tight.
But Barty played an off-forehand winner to reach match point, and she needed only one to seal an impressive triumph.
“It’s been an extraordinary week,” Barty reflected.
“We’ve been able to play lots of matches in singles and doubles. I think we’ve had plenty of court time, which is great.
“I’m looking forward to what’s to come for this Australian summer. I love playing at home. I’ve said it time and time again. I take every opportunity as best I can.”