Ash Barty's telling move after Australian Open final opponent set

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·Sports Editor
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Ash Barty, pictured here admitting she wasn't going to watch Danielle Collins' match before the Australian Open final.
Ash Barty admitted she wasn't going to watch Danielle Collins' match before the Australian Open final. Image: Getty/Channel Nine

Ash Barty will meet Danielle Collins in the Australian Open final after the American crushed Iga Swiatek in their semi-final showdown on Thursday night.

Not that Barty watched any of the match.

The World No.1 swept past Madison Keys 6-1 6-3 on Thursday night to become the first Australian in the Open final in 42 years.

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Collins was then equally impressive as she powered her way into the decider with a 6-4 6-1 demolition of World No.9 Swiatek.

But speaking in her on-court interview with Jim Courier, Barty said she wasn't going to watch the second semi-final to scout her opponent for the final.

“It will be a hell of a match tonight. I probably won’t watch it though,” Barty said with a cheeky grin.

“Tyzz (coach Craig Tyzzer) can watch that. We keep doing our thing, our routines and come out here on Saturday, enjoy it, a massive smile on my face and see what happens.”

Barty later explained that she hardly ever watches her rivals play because she's battled most of them on the court already.

The Australian star has played Collins four times previously, winning on three occasions.

However Collins won the most recent of their battles, beating Barty in straight sets in Adelaide last February.

“Occasionally I’ll have a peek at some matches if I haven’t seen someone play, but I don’t usually last too long,” she said.

“There aren’t too many secrets out here anymore. A lot of the time you’ve practised with girls or played girls.

"It’s about who can execute the plan better on the day.

“When I haven’t seen someone play, that’s when I’ll really lean on Tyzz because I know that he’s the best at what he does in a sense of giving me a really clear picture of what to expect but also the possible changes and things that can happen."

Danielle Collins aiming to join list of shock slam champs

Collins is hoping she'll become the latest surprise grand slam champion when she takes on home favourite Barty in the final on Saturday.

Few people imagined World No.30 Collins would make the Australian Open final after her recent health struggles.

But the 28-year-old, who has endometriosis and last April underwent emergency surgery to have a cyst the size of a tennis ball removed, is now one way away from achieving her childhood dream of becoming a grand slam champion.

Although Barty is the hot favourite to triumph, Collins is taking heart from the recent trend of shock grand slam winners.

Ash Barty, pictured here after beating Madison Keys in their Australian Open semi-final.
Ash Barty celebrates after beating Madison Keys in their Australian Open semi-final. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Swiatek bucked the odds to win the 2020 French Open, while Barbora Krejcikova was also unseeded when she won Roland Garros the following year.

The biggest shock came at the 2021 US Open, when in only her second major and ranked 150th, teenager Emma Raducanu became the first qualifier ever to win a grand slam.

"One of the special things on the women's side of the game is the depth across the board," Collins said.

"There's been so many women in the last couple of years who won slams that were not expected to win slams, and that gives hope to all the players.

"Whether you're outside the top 50 or the top 100, or if you're in the top 10, everyone has a chance of making deep runs.

"I've used that mentality and just tried to do the best I can, and tried to believe in how I'm playing."

Barty is trying to become the first local singles champion at the Australian Open since Chris O'Neil in 1978.

"It's unreal. Honestly, it is just incredible," Barty said.

"To be in the finals weekend of your home grand slam is what a lot of Aussie players dream of.

"I love this tournament, love coming out here and playing in Australia and, as an Aussie, we are exceptionally spoiled that we are a grand slam nation (and) we get to play in our backyard and I am just happy that I get to play my best tennis here.

"I enjoy it, I've done well before and now we have a chance to play for a title. It's unreal."

with AAP

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