Photo: Martin Sidorjak
There was never a doubt that Ash Barty, who’s been the world No. 1 since September 9, 2019, was going to be the favourite heading into the 2022 Australian Open. Prior to the event, the 25-year-old Australian already had two Grand Slam titles to her name (Roland Garros in 2019 and Wimbledon in 2021) and reached the semi-finals of the Aussie Open in 2020. However, some fans were still concerned over Barty’s chances at this year’s tournament due to a highly-publicized, 44-year drought: An Australian hadn’t won the event since 1978.
Well, the dry spell is officially over. Barty, the home-country hero, captured the third Grand Slam of her career and her first on a hard court, joining Serena Williams as the only active players on the women’s tour to win a major on all three surfaces. The Australian superstar didn’t drop a single set and only lost her serve three times – twice in the finals against American Danielle Collins – en route to claiming the title.
After dismantling qualifier Lesia Tsurenko 6-0, 6-1 in her opening match in Melbourne, Barty went on a tear and soared past Lucia Bronzetti, Camila Giorgi, Amanda Anisimova, Jessica Pegula, and Madison Keys to punch her ticket to the finals on Rod Laver Arena. The only time Barty faced any adversity during her championship run was in the finals, as she trailed Collins 5-1 in the second set.
In her clash against Collins, Barty took the first set with ease but found herself in a big hole in the second set. The Aussie clawed her way back to level the set at five games apiece and eventually won the second set tiebreak to win the contest 6-3, 7-6(2).
Once the on-court celebrations concluded, Barty was asked by a reporter how she felt to be part of such an exclusive list of players with Grand Slam titles on all three surfaces. “It’s amazing to be able to have this experience and this opportunity on three different surfaces and be really consistent across the board,” the 2022 Australian Open champion said. “So to have a Grand Slam title on each surface is pretty amazing. I never probably thought it would ever happen to me. So very, very lucky and very humbled and privileged to be able to be a part of it.”
While Barty ended a 44-year drought and added another major title to her resume, Collins had quite the dream run of her own. The 28-year-old American reached her first Grand Slam final and has now entered the Top 10 for the first time in her career. She’s currently the highest-ranked American in singles.