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Ashleigh Barty and Danielle Collins will meet in the Australian Open final

MELBOURNE, Australia – It’s all about choice, this game of tennis and this game of life.

Down the line or the intersection? Rip or chip? Stay at home or hit the road in search of points and glory?

The coronavirus pandemic has broken old stereotypes and created new problems that have made some choices more complicated, but Ashleigh Barty is on a rampage, as is anyone who’s played with her in Australia. This open can all confirm.

Madison Keys was the last to leave the field and trailed behind as Barty continued to throw shots and change tactics that Keys couldn’t handle. Barty won the first set of Thursday night’s semi-final in 26 minutes and won the match in just over an hour, 6-1, 6-3.

She is the first Australian since Wendy Turnbull in 1980 to reach the women’s singles final at the Australian Open.

“Honestly, it was unbelievable,” Barty said. “I love this tournament. I love coming here and playing in Australia. As Australians, we are particularly spoiled. We are a Grand Slam nation and are played at home in our backyard. ”

“Now I have a chance to play for a title,” she added.

She will face Danielle Collins of the United States, who defeated Iga Swiatek of Poland, 6-4, 6-1, in the second women’s semifinal. Barty will be the favorites based on coolness and precision under pressure over the past 11 days, but Collins has been one of the fiercest opponents in women’s tennis and has served and returned particularly well in Melbourne. . She took 86 percent of the score before Swiatek’s second serve on Thursday.

Barty led their head-to-head series 3-1, but Collins won their most recent match in straight sets in Adelaide, Australia last year, and has also pushed her to three sets in two matches. their other.

“We’ve had some incredible battles over the years,” said Collins, 27th seed. “To play against the number one in the world in her hometown, I think it will be really spectacular. I love the energy the fans bring whether they’re for me or for my opponents.”

Collins, 28, is a two-time NCAA singles champion from the University of Virginia who turned pro later than most of her opponents in the pro tournament. She is a cranky, protestant player but also has the power to end points and has convincingly back for the past nine months after struggling with endometriosis. Since July, she has had a 32-7 singles record and will rise to 10th in the rankings on Monday, becoming the top-ranked American.

Collins fought several more in Melbourne with tough three-set wins over Clara Tauson in the third round and Elise Mertens in the fourth. Barty still hadn’t come close to dropping a set, and Keys met Barty at the internet bar after Thursday’s show with a smile on his face as if to say, “You’re in the area, Ash, enjoy yourself it”.

“She is playing very well. I mean, you have a game plan in mind, but she’s doing things really well,” Keys said in a post-match press conference. “She serves extremely well, so you don’t get any free points for that. Her cut is going in a lot lower and deeper than before so it’s hard to do anything on it. Then you try to play with her forehand and she might open up for you there. “

Barty’s variety is her forte, and as the game with Keys grows, she rarely gives the strong American the same long shot, combining two-handed backhands with one-shots. hand; The front forearm has a deceleration angle with the pins aligned.

“I think things have improved a little bit,” Keys said. “I think she serves a little more accurately. I think she’s forehand she’s also doing a great job in combining tempo and spin. It feels like you can’t really get on with that forehand. I mean on her backhand, everything comes from your shoelace on the base line. So it’s not like you can really do anything with that. “

Keys, who is on a 10-game winning streak, looks more resigned than upset.

Tennis may no longer mean much to Australia, as it did in the days of Rod Laver, Ken Rosewall, Margaret Court and Evonne Goolagong Cawley. But a Barty win in Australia is sure to be a cultural hit. The 25-year-old from Brisbane is a particularly well-known figure here with her calm personality and deep inland roots: she is part of Indigenous heritage.

Coming in at No. 1, she won her first Grand Slam singles title at Extended Solution 2019 and she’s next at Wimbledon last yearprevailed in a moody final with Karolina Pliskova turning complicated before she won in three sets.

But there have been no thrilling bouts or protracted challenges to date in Melbourne, where she could become the first Australian to win the singles title since Chris O’Neil in 1978.

O’Neil has won and broken out of the top 100: one of the biggest surprise Grand Slam champions in tennis’ long history. Barty is in a very different position as the highest ranked player in the game and the center of attention in her country every time she competes.

But after deciding to cut her season short in 2021 and return home to Australia to recover from the US Open, where she has been upset in the third round, she’s started the 2022 season fresh, focused and focused on the goal. She’s dropped just 21 in six and is striking a good balance between dexterity and power.

Next challenge: her first Australian Open singles final on Saturday night in prime time at Rod Laver Arena. Is she ready?

“Sure,” she said after steaming the Unsealed Keys. “Let’s do it.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/27/sports/tennis/barty-collins-australian-open.html Ashleigh Barty and Danielle Collins will meet in the Australian Open final

Fry Electronics Team

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