Ash Barty has won the Australian Open, becoming the first Australian to do so in 44 years.
The world No.1 had to work hard for her third grand slam title, mounting an incredible second set comeback in front of adoring home fans on Rod Laver Arena to win 6-3, 7-6.
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American world No.30 Danielle Collins emerged as a surprise challenger to Barty, overcoming Iga Swiatek in the semi-final to make her first grand slam final.
Barty controlled the first set, but had to work hard to secure a break from the determined American.
Things appeared to fall apart in the second though, with Collins breaking Barty's serve twice to take a 1-5 lead and almost certainly force a third set.
But a determined Barty rallied, first holding her own serve before finally breaking back to get to 4-5, before both held serves in successive games to force a tiebreak.
From there Barty was well in control, holding four championship points and converting the first of them to make Australian tennis history.
The 25-year-old won all of her matches in straight sets, a dominant run from the fan favourite Australian.
On social media, fans simply couldn't believe what they were seeing as Barty somehow worked her way back into the second set.
— Ashley Browne (@hashbrowne) January 29, 2022
Barty was 1-5 down in the second set and was being out-hit by Collins but she found a way back into the match and into Collins' head too. Incredible play by an incredible champion!
— Ashish Magotra (@clutchplay) January 29, 2022
That’s was worse all the stress. Ash Barty you’re a champion. I’m feeling all the emotions now 🥰🎉😭
— Lucy Bladen (@lucybladen) January 29, 2022
Barty wins. Hell of a fight in the second set. First Australian woman to win the Australian Open in 44 years. The whole country can celebrate.
— Damien Cave (@damiencave) January 29, 2022
What a match.
Tears streaming down my face.
Ash Barty is a legend!!! #AusOpen
— Meg Coffey (@TexanMeg) January 29, 2022
That’s one of the sporting achievements of our lifetime
Satisfying and unifying #Barty
— Gerard Whateley (@GerardWhateley) January 29, 2022
Ashtralia Day. The world’s best rattles off 28 of the last 44 points to convert a 1-5 deficit to a crushing victory, breaking Australia’s 44-year home drought without dropping a set. A hug with Casey Dellacqua, who Barty played the women's doubles finals with nine years ago.
— Sam Landsberger (@SamLandsberger) January 29, 2022
God WHAT A SHOT to win the championship with 🎉🎉🎉 Ash Barty you absolute ICON #AusOpen
— Alex Anastassiou (@alexanasta_) January 29, 2022
Hell of a second set from Ash Barty. Give the opponent a glimpse of hope, then crush it like an ant. Australia bout to be lit 🔥 #AusOpen
— Christopher Reive (@ChrisReive) January 29, 2022
Ash Barty wins Australian Open after immense comeback
Amid all the Barty fever, former Australian champion Alicia Molik says some credit is due for Barty's coach, Craig Tyzzer, who brought Barty back from tennis obscurity to the world No.1.
Her vanquished semi-final opponent Madison Keys says the top seed is proving almost unplayable this summer and Australia's Billie Jean King Cup captain Molik believes that's as much down to Tyzzer as Barty herself.
"Such a huge amount of credit needs to be given to 'Tyz' because it can be delicate with a world No.1," Molik told AAP prior to the final.
"You can just say, 'Right, let's just keep things the same'.
"Well, no, they as a team, the two of them, work that well that they keep getting better. It's unbelievable, it's mind-blowing.
"She's very wise, she's such an astute tennis player and person that when she's on court she knows what she's working on and why.
"It's not a matter of hitting balls for no reason. There's always purpose and reason behind what's she's doing both for her and for Tyz as well.
"He's been amazing because he's found such a complete player, but he's found so many ways for Ash to get better.
"He's really an unsung hero."
Anything but unsung to Barty, the dual grand slam champion lauded Tyzzer as a "magician" for his ability to devise game plans to break down her opponents.
"He's able to look at a lot of different matches, some key matches, some recent, some old, and work our plan out, looking at different conditions," Barty said.
"He's the man that does all the work. I just get to go out there and try and have fun with it."
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