By Peter Argent
Winning both the Women’s Single and Double’s Final at the third edition of the Adelaide International has been a perfect way to start the 2022 season for world number one tennis player, Australia’s own Ash Barty.
Playing 22-year-old Russian born -Kazakhstani tennis player Elena Rybakina in the Single’s decider Barty was in control from the outset, taking her second Adelaide International crown in straight sets, 6-3, 6-2 last Sunday.
Then in the final fixture of the tournament, Barty teamed up with Storm Saunders and grabbed an equally commanding win in the double’s final, getting home against Croatian tennis veteran, Darija Jurak Schreiber and her team mate Slovenian Andreja Klepač.
This was an emphatic two set 6-1, 6-4 triumph.
“We’ve obviously had a brilliant week, been able to work progressively through each match,” Barty said, referring to her and her team.
“I got better and better.
“I felt like today there were really a few key moments early in the first set to gain momentum.
“I was really happy to be able to get a couple of early breaks in the second and run away with it.
“I feel comfortable all around Australia.
“I’m very lucky to get support all around this nation.
“It’s just exciting to be back playing tennis here in Australia.
“It feels like an eternity since I have been back on Aussie soil playing.
“Yeah, (I) had a lot of fun this week.
“It was a bonus that I was able to get a few matches (in).”
Barty got to the final, but beating the Adelaide International winner last year (2021) Iga Świątek from Poland in the key semi-final clash last Saturday, in a classy two set performance, which saw victory 6-2, 6-4.
The only time it looked like Barty was stretched was in her opening game, against 17-year-old American Coco Gauff, who started strongly and was a set and a break up in that contest.
Barty displayed plenty of resilience, coming back to win the match, 4-6, 7-5, 6 -1.
This was Ashleigh Barty’s 14th tournament win of her singles career, which included the two Grand Slam’s, last year’s Wimbledon and the French Open of 2019.
Teaming up with Storm Saunders in the doubles, this pair started with a strong win over Gauff and Caty McNally, 6-0, 7-6.
They had a walkover in their second round match, before being tested in their semi final match against Nadiia Kichenok and Sania Mirza. After two sets the match was locked up, 6-1, 2-6.
In an intriguing semi-final tie breaker to decide the game, Barty and Saunders got up in a thriller, 10-8.
In the final, the pairing of Barty and Saunders were dominant, winning the contest and lifting with the specially designed coolamon (a traditional Aboriginal carrying vessel with curved side), designed by Indigenous master wood carver Patrick Ferguson.
Saunders confirmed the pair have played a lot together from junior ranks.
“Yeah, it’s been a lot of fun with Ash,” she continued.
“We’re really good friends.
“To come out here and play, get a win, is absolutely amazing.
“We both really enjoy playing here in Adelaide.
“Obviously Ash has been playing really well this week in singles and doubles.
“It was a lot of fun.
“We really enjoyed it out there.
“We tried to stick to our game style and patterns, it really paid off today.”
Barty had the perfect preparation to finish a 44-year hoodoo and see an Australian win the women’s singles crown at the Australasian Open latter in the month.