Ash Barty has take a little longer than expected to settle into the women’s final where she is being pushed all the way by Danielle Collins. FOLLOW LIVE HERE.
Ash Barty is playing for the women’s title in the Australian Open final in front of sporting royalty.
Ian Thorpe, Rod Laver and Cathy Freeman are among the big names watching on as the world No 1 goes for glory.
Electing to serve first, barty looked cool, calm and collected in front of a 12,000 strong crowd on Rod laver Arena.
BARTY 4-2 COLLINS*
I take it all back Ash, I don’t know what I was thinking. Tennis switches gears so fast and a DOUBLE FAULT from Collins gives Barty the break, now can she consolidate?
BARTY* 3-2 COLLINS
The Collins backhand is INSANE. How anyone has managed to return that this tournament is beynd me it’s unbelievable. Another clinical hold. Both players settling into this first set very well.
Also kids, don’t wear jewellery while playing sport.
Collins right not looking ever so slightly more comfortable, Ash strugling a little with her own serve and she’s pushed to deuce in this fifth game and then up against a break.
This isn’t the direction we all expected whatsoever.
She holds but it’s wobbly.
BARTY* 2-1 COLLINS
Close to the perfect start for Ash stormng to 40-0 but the Collins backhand – as it has been all tournament – is going to cause problems. And she’s bring int out early. A few wobbles early but Ash with the early hold.
Unusual ground for Barty who has broken her opponent in every match early on, Collins with a strong hold.
Eight minutes and we are three games deep. Clinical at both ends pretty much. Who blinks first?
7:22pm THE TEXT THAT CHANGED THINGS FOR ASH
Back in 2015, Ash Barty and Serena Williams were living in different worlds.
One had left the professional circuit and was dabbling in cricket and helping schoolchildren learn tennis. The other was helping herself to three Grand Slams as part of a rampaging 53-3 win-loss year.
One was No.1 in the world – with daylight second — and the other had slid, through inactivity, to the mid-300s.
Different world? Try different solar system.
Then something interesting happened. They connected.
“Ash was in a restaurant I think and Serena sent her a message saying ‘you are too good a player to retire … you have to come back’,” Barty’s first coach Jim Joyce said.Trust Serena to say what everyone else was thinking.
7pm HOW TO BEAT ASH
Madison Keys has some advice for her American counterpart Danielle Collins, get ready to be looking at your shoelaces a lot.
According to Ash Barty’s semi-final victim she is in complete control of her game which spells big trouble for the debutant grand slam finalist.
“You have a game plan in your head but she’s just executing everything so well,” Keys said.
“She is serving incredibly well so you don’t get any free points on that and her slice is coming in so much lower and deeper than it was in the past so it’s hard to do anything on that.
“It feels like you can’t really get in a rhythm off the forehand side and then on her backhand side, I mean, everything is coming in at your shoelaces on the baseline. So it’s not like you can really do anything with that.
“I think she’s playing some really, really good tennis and she just seems so locked in and focused. I mean, I have played her a handful of times and this is easily the best I think she’s ever been playing.”
5pm THE COUNTDOWN IS ON
Ash Barty is looking to end a 44 year wait.
The world No 1 goes into tonight’s final against Danielle Collins as the red hot favourite but it will be no walkover according to Sam Stosur.
“Just because the American isn’t a household name in Australia, she cannot be underestimated,” Stosur said in her preview column for News Corp.
“You don’t fall into the world’s top 30 rankings by mistake. You have to be an insanely good tennis player to not only reach that level but to also consistently remain there.
“Write Collins out of this final at your peril. Believe me, Ash won’t be”
1-ASHLEIGH BARTY v 27-DNews Today 24ELLE COLLINS
HEAD TO HEAD: Barty leads 3-1
2021: Adelaide International 2nd round, Collins wins 6-3 6-4
2020: Adelaide International semi-final, Barty wins 3-6 6-1 7-6
2019: French Open 2nd round, Barty wins 7-5 6-1
2019: Madrid Open 2nd round, Barty wins 6-1 1-6 6-1
WORLD RANKING: 1
GRAND SLAMS: 2 (2019 French Open, 2021 Wimbledon)
SINGLES TITLES: 14
CAREER PRIZEMONEY: $21,539,750
WORLD RANKING: 30
GRAND SLAMS: 0
SINGLES TITLES: 2
CAREER PRIZEMONEY: $3,750,894
ROAD TO THE FINAL
1R: def Lesia Tsurenko 60 61
2R: def Lucia Bronzetti 61 61
3R: def 30-Camila Giorgi 62 63
4R: def Amanda Anisimova 64 63
QF: def 21-Jessica Pegula 62 60
SF: def Madison Keys 61 63
TIME ON COURT: 6 hours, 6 minutes
1R: def Caroline Dolehide 6-1, 6-3
2R: def Ana Konjuh 6-4, 6-3
3R: def Clara Tauson 4-6, 6-4, 7-5
4R: def 19-Elise Mertens 4-6, 6-4, 6-4
QF: def Alize Cornet 7-5, 6-1
SF: def 7-Iga Swiatek  6-4, 6-1
TIME ON COURT: 10 hours, 37 minutes
Originally published as Ash Barty women’s final v Danielle Collins: Australian Open 2022 live schedule, score