ADELAIDE: World number one Ashleigh Barty showed why she is the favorite of the Australian Open when she defeated Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina in the Adelaide International final on Sunday.
It only took Barty 64 minutes to beat the seventh seeded Rybakina 6-3, 6-2 and take the 14th singles title of her career.
Australian! Australian! Australian! 🏆 🏆 🏆World number 1 @ashbarty wins her third career title on home soil 🇦🇺 https://t.co/W4c8CvDLmt
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The 25-year-old Australian was on top form this week, having to beat a number of top players in a stacked top half of the draw.
She received a bye in the first round, but then met Coco Gauff (world number 22), Sofia Kenin (12) and Iga Swiatek (9) on her way to the decision.
Against the hard-hitting Rybakina, number 14 in the world, Barty dominated every aspect of the game and took control of the game in the middle of the first set.
🏆 WINNER! 🏆World No.1 @ashbarty 🇦🇺 adds 2022 Adelaide International Women’s Singles Champion to their repertoire … https://t.co/m0dfS7943c
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Both players started well and only lost two points on serve in their first three games.
But Rybakina couldn’t implement either of the breakpoints and Barty made her pay.
She held her serve and immediately lunged when Rybakina seemed to lose focus, broke, and then held onto love to win the first set in 29 minutes.
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Barty at the time had complete control of a run of seven games in a row.
She interrupted Rybakina’s first two service games of the second set to keep the game in a stranglehold as she took the 4-0 lead.
As against Swiatek in the semifinals, Barty’s reach unsettled Rybakina, who had to struggle in particular with the cut backhand.
What’s it like to start a season? 😉 @ ashbarty is your Adelaide International Champion 2022! 🏆 https://t.co/ZARSmhgUkY
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Forced to bet on big winners instead of trying to outperform the Australian, she made 26 easy mistakes as a result.
Barty’s serve has also improved and the few times she has been under pressure she has been able to get out of trouble.
Both women will now travel to the Sydney Classic, the last warm-up before the Australian Open, where they will meet in the quarter-finals.
Before that, however, Barty will play in the double-finals together with his Australian colleagues Storm Sanders, where they will meet Darija Jurak Schreiber and Andreja Klepac.