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Preview: Australian Open 2022 women's final: Ashleigh Barty vs. Danielle Collins

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Australian Open women's singles final between Ashleigh Barty and Danielle Collins, including predictions, route to the final and head-to-head records.

Ashleigh Barty will have the Australian nation behind her when she heads into Saturday's women's singles final of the 2022 Australian Open against America's Danielle Collins.

Barty has become the first Australian woman in 42 years to reach the final of a home Grand Slam, while Collins is appearing in her first ever Grand Slam final.


Match preview

Ashleigh Barty pictured at the Australian Open on January 27, 2021© Reuters

For a tournament which began with the host country in the spotlight for less-than-ideal circumstances amid the Novak Djokovic saga, Ashleigh Barty's run to the final has been a much-needed breath of fresh air.

The 25-year-old has so far lived up to her status as number one seed and world number one, reaching the showpiece in style and dropping just 21 games in her six matches.

Indeed, Barty is yet to drop a single set at this year's tournament and needed just over an hour to beat Madison Keys 6-1 6-3 in Thursday's semi-final.

Doing so saw Barty become the first Australian to make the women's singles final since 1980, and another victory on Saturday would end an even longer wait for a home Grand Slam champion.

Not since 1978 has an Australian player - male or female - won this particular tournament, and Barty now has a historic chance to replace Chris O'Neil as the most recent.

Already a French Open and Wimbledon winner, Barty could also move within one major of claiming the career Grand Slam by triumphing on Saturday, although she does already have a US Open doubles title to her name too.

Danielle Collins reacts at the Australian Open on January 27, 2022© Reuters

All of that makes for a pretty daunting challenge for first-time finalist Collins, who will be looking to spoil the party this weekend.

The 28-year-old has already punched above her weight in this year's tournament, and her achievement is made all the more impressive coming less than a year after undergoing surgery for endometriosis.

Thursday's straight-sets semi-final win over seventh seed Iga Swiatek is a career highlight which she will hope to swiftly outshine on Saturday, despite the odds being stacked against her.

Collins's run to the final has already guaranteed that she will end the tournament with a career-high world ranking, but the prospect of a first Grand Slam crown will be the main goal for the American.


Route to final

Ashleigh Barty pictured at the Australian Open on January 25, 2021© Reuters

ASHLEIGH BARTY

Semi-final: 6-1 6-3 vs. Madison Keys
Quarter-final: 6-2 6-0 vs. Jessica Pegula
Fourth round: 6-4 6-3 vs. Amanda Anisimova
Third round: 6-2 6-3 vs. Camila Giorgi
Second round: 6-1 6-1 vs. Lucia Bronzetti
First round: 6-0 6-1 vs. Lesia Tsurenko

DANIELLE COLLINS

Semi-final: 6-4 6-1 vs. Iga Swiatek
Quarter-final: 7-5 6-1 vs. Alize Cornet
Fourth round: 4-6 6-4 6-4 vs. Elise Mertens
Third round: 4-6 6-4 7-5 vs. Clara Tauson
Second round: 6-4 6-3 vs. Ana Konjuh
First round: 6-1 6-3 vs. Caroline Dolehide


Head To Head

These two players have met four times in the past, with Barty leading their head-to-head record 3-1.

However, on hard courts the record is level at one win apiece, and Collins will take great confidence from winning the most recent showdown between two.

The American won in straight sets in the second round of last year's Adelaide International, beating the defending champion 6-3 6-4 on home turf.


SM words green background

We say: Ashleigh Barty to win in straight sets

Barty is the overwhelming favourite coming into this match - both for the bookmakers and the home crowd - and it is difficult to see her slipping up with history now within reach.

The world number one has been imperious on her own serve, being broken just once, and is on a 10-match winning streak.

Perhaps most crucially, Barty has a 100% record in Grand Slam finals and is facing a first-time finalist, experience which could give her another advantage in a match already seemingly stacked in her favour.

Win or lose, Collins's tournament has already been a roaring success and she is guaranteed to break into the world's top 10 regardless of the result, which may help to appease the disappointment of defeat.



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Ashleigh Barty pictured at the Australian Open on January 27, 2021
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