Adelaide | Classy Barty to meet Yastremska in final
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Australia’s Ashleigh Barty showed why she is the World No 1 when she produced a classy fight-back against America’s Danielle Collins to reach the final of the Adelaide International, winning through, 3-6 6-1 7-6(5), in just under 2 hours on Friday.
It was probably my first real taste [this year] of some adrenaline late in matches. And that is what we're after, to try and practice those things as best we can... I worked hard tonight, and we got the result that we're after. Ash Barty
Collins came out all guns blazing and shocked the young Aussie, taking the first set 6-3, but the 23-year-old fought back in style to win the second 6-1, and take the semi-final to a decider, which was a hotly contested battle of wits that went down to the wire with Barty emerging successful after taking the match on a tiebreak.
Barty will meet World No 24 Dayana Yastremska in Saturday’s final after the 19-year-old Ukrainian beat Aryna Sabalenka 6-4 7-6(4).
Collins was bothered by a back injury in the final set, but after receiving treatment she was able to continue and there was no visible evidence that this hindered her unduly.
Barty was forced to rally from a set down to beat the American, digging deep at times to fend off the Collins challenge.
Collins got an early break in the 4th game to take a 3-0 lead and while Barty earned a chance to break back when she held a 0-40 lead on the American’s serve in the 7th game, she won 5 consecutive points to hold on and rode out the set.
Barty changed gears to start the 2nd, breaking serve twice to race out to a 5-0 lead.
While Collins managed to save 2 break points to hold her serve and avoided the bagel, the Australian sealed the one-sided second set at 15 in the 7th game.
Both players traded breaks in the 7th and 8th games of the decider which did not feature a deuce game.
The top seed hit a return winner to take the 1st break for a 4-3 lead, but Collins broke straight back in the next game.
They held their respective service games to set up a final set tiebreak in which Collins saved the 1st match point with a return winner, but Barty took the win on her 2nd with a lethal slice.
“It was probably my first real taste [this year] of some adrenaline late in matches,” Barty said.
“And that is what we’re after, to try and practice those things as best we can. I felt like I did what I wanted to do well tonight and got over the line.
“I worked hard tonight, and we got the result that we’re after,” she added. “I felt I had a lot of clarity with what I wanted to do.
“Danielle has the ability to take the match out of your hands a little bit.”
Barty set up a final against the Ukrainian teenager Yastremska, who beat the No 5 seed, Sabalenka, after an hour and 44 minutes.
The unseeded Yastremska has reached her 4th WTA final and her 1st at WTA Premier level in Adelaide, beating the Belarusian for the 3rd time in their 3 head-to-head matches.
Barty defeated Yastremska in their only previous meeting last March in Miami.
“Dayana brings a lot of variety to her game, she’s an exceptional ball-striker. All of these young girls are hitting so hard, it makes me feel old,” the 23-year-old said.
Yastremska thrashed World No 20 Donna Vekic in the quarter-finals and was a set up against former Australian Open winner Angelique Kerber when the German retired from their last-16 match with back pain.
Ranked 24, Yastremska, who is bidding for the 4th title of her career, dropped her serve once, converted 2 of her 8 break point chances and hit 25 winners to 30 unforced errors.
“I had a good preseason. I work on a lot of things, and I think that’s, like, a payoff,” she said.
“I don’t know why exactly it’s this tournament. I guess Brisbane it was just, like, the tournament I had to feel everything myself.
“Here I started really to feel, with each game, that I’m playing better and better. I think that’s why it’s like this, like trying to play each match as good as I can. Here I am in the finals.”
Sabalenka fended off 3 break point chances in the 3rd game of the opening set before Yastremska earned her 1st break in the 5th game after a backhand error from the Belarusian.
The 19-year-old Ukrainian rallied from 0-30 down in the 10th game to serve out the opening set with an ace after 37 minutes, winning it without facing a break point and striking 9 winners to 9 unforced errors.
She earned an early break at the start of the second set with a return down the line winner in the first game, and consolidated it with a cross-court backhand.
Sabalenka saved a break point, as she was serving at 1-3, before pulling the break back in the next game after a double fault from Yastremska.
Both players held their next service games to set up a tiebreak in which Yastremska raced out to a 4-1 lead with a forehand winner and sealed the win with a service winner on her 3rd match point to book her spot in the biggest final of her career.
“It’s nice. I am very happy,” Yastremska said. “Especially at the beginning of the year, I think it brings me some confidence before the Grand Slam.
“In the second set when I was 3-1 up, I felt a little bit my legs were heavy, and I felt like I got a little bit tired.
“I lost my focus and then, after [coach] Sasha came on court, I got some energy, and I really tried to do what he told me. I think I just fought. That’s it.”
Before knowing who she would face in the final, Barty or Collins, Yastremska said: “Ashleigh is definitely a very great player.
“Collins is more aggressive. But I don’t have any preference. I will like to play with both of them.”