'What a season': Ash Barty wins title with remarkable feat

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·Sports Reporter
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Ash Barty (pictured) has won the Southern & Western Open after defeating Jill Theichmann in the final. (Getty Images)
Ash Barty (pictured) smiling and holding the trophy after winning the Southern & Western Open . (Getty Images)

World No.1 Ash Barty produced some of her best tennis to take home the Southern & Western Open after defeating surprise finalist Jill Teichmann in the final.

Barty managed to defeat Naomi Osaka's conquerer Teichmann 6-3, 6-1 to win the prestigious Cincinnati Open and did so without dropping a set at the tournament.

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Australia's World No.1 again looked in a different league to her opponent, winning the 13th title of her career at a seeming canter in one hour 12 minutes.

Teichmann, at No.76, was the lowest-ranked Cincinnati finalist for 13 years and looking to continue a giant-killing week which had already seen her beat Olympic champion Belinda Bencic, World No.2 Osaka and Wimbledon finalist Karolina Pliskova.

The athletic left-hander reckoned she would "go for it" against Barty but found the Queenslander a quite different proposition as she largely failed to dent the Aussie's devastating, accurately-placed serve while having her own broken on five occasions.

Barty, with the help of eight aces which took her tally for the week to a tournament-leading 42, reeled off eight games in a row with what seemed a surgeon's precision after the shared first six games had suggested it could be a tough afternoon in the heat for the Wimbledon champion.

But Teichmann, looking increasingly lost as Barty dictated proceedings, also needed a medical timeout for treatment to her right foot while 3-0 down in the second set, an interruption that only delayed the inevitable.

Barty, serving for the match at 5-0, did suffer a blip as Teichmann earned her first break points and cracked the Aussie's delivery.

Jil Teichmann (pictured left) congratulates Ashleigh Barty (pictured right) during the final of the Western & Southern Open at Lindner Family Tennis Center on August 22, 2021 in Mason, Ohio.
Jil Teichmann (pictured left) congratulates Ashleigh Barty (pictured right) during the final of the Western & Southern Open at Lindner Family Tennis Center on August 22, 2021 in Mason, Ohio. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Yet the reprieve was short-lived as a Teichmann forehand, clouted wide, gave Barty the first singles triumph by an Australian woman at Cincinnati since Evonne Goolagong in 1973.

It was Barty's 40th match victory of the year, another tournament-leading figure, and took her record in finals this year to 5-1, the only defeat coming from Aryna Sabalenka in Madrid while she's lifted titles in Melbourne, Miami, Stuttgart, Wimbledon and now Cincinnati.

The tennis world rightfully pointed out Barty's class on tour this year, which she has left little doubt to who is the best player in the world.

Barty also became the first Australian woman in 48 years to win the Cincinnati Open title.

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What made the win more impressive was it was her third hard-court title of the year.

She has already won a title on all three surfaces this year.

Ash Barty's rival praises the World No.1

As she collected her runner's-up trophy, Teichmann, who's come through injury battles to demonstrate that she could well go on to join the elite, gave an indication of what Barty's opponents think of the Australian.

"Congratulation Ash, you're an exceptional number one, you're great on court and off court, so very, very good for you and your team and keep it going."

To which Barty responded later: "First of all, Jil, what a week, mate! This is where you belong with your level and it's so nice to see you play your best tennis this week."

Pointing to her trophy, she added: "I know over the next few years, you'll win many of these."

For the moment, though, it seems Barty doesn't intend to let anyone else annex the big prizes as she gets set to enter yet another week as world No.1 with a remarkable 3,175-point advantage over the No.2, Sabalenka.

with AAP

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