The Australian Open has crowned its new women’s singles champion.
Ashleigh Barty won the Grand Slam final on Saturday at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, defeating Danielle Collins in two sets: 6-3, 7-6.
With Barty’s victory, she becomes the first Australian to win the tournament in over four decades. Australia’s last home win came from Chris O’Neil in 1978.
Barty, 25, went into the match as the WTA’s No. 1-ranked player. She previously won the 2019 French Open women’s tournament, as well as the 2021 Wimbledon Championship.
Saturday’s final was Collins’ first career Grand Slam final. She’d previously only made it to a quarterfinal at the French Open in 2020.
In a post-match interview, Barty said, “I’ve said numerous times I’m so lucky tonight to have numerous people here that love and support me,” per CNN.
“I’m a fortunate and lucky girl to have so much love in my corner, we started together right from the start. We did it all together, nobody has changed from our team,” she continued. “I love you to death.”
Noting that “the most important part of this tournament” for herself as a native Australian has been “being able to share it with so many people and the crowd,” Barty added, “you have been nothing short of exceptional.”
“This crowd is one of the most fun I’ve ever played in front of and you guys brought me so much joy today and helped me play my best tennis, so thanks for all your love and support over the last couple of weeks,” she said. “This is a dream come true for me and I am so proud to be an Aussie. See you next time.”
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Speaking to Jim Courier after the quarterfinal, Barty discussed feeling the pressure to deliver for her home country, ESPN reported. “I just have to hope that everyone understands that I’m giving it my best crack,” said Barty. “It doesn’t always work out exactly how you want to. But you go about it the right way, you do the right things and try and give yourself the best chance, that’s all you can do.”
Prior to Saturday’s match, American Collins, 28, had been reveling in her own performance throughout the tournament.
“I think especially after some of the health challenges I’ve had, and to be able to get back to this level and be able to compete the way I have been, and being able to be as physical as I have been, has been so rewarding,” she told reporters after securing her spot in the semifinals, according to ESPN.
Collins grappled with debilitating endometriosis in 2021, ESPN said. By the spring, she had undergone emergency surgery to remove a large cyst from her ovary and other “material” from her bowel and bladder. She only returned to the tour in June 2021.
“It’s just been a lot more consistency throughout the year with just being able to get through workouts, be able to get through training sessions, and to not be dealing with the injuries that I was dealing with partly because of the endo,” said Collins, per ESPN.
The men’s singles tournament concludes on Sunday with a final between Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev.