World No 1 Ash Barty won her second Adelaide International title in 3 years with a 6-3 6-2 victory over Elena Rybakina on Sunday, bringing her tally of tournaments won on home soil to three, and improving her record against top-20 rivals to 17-1 since the beginning of 2021, having beaten Coco Gauff, 2020 Australian Open champion Sofin Kenin, and 2020 French Open winner Iga Swiatek en route to her 14th WTA tournament win.
I feel good leading up to an Australian Open, like I have every year. Each and every preparation is unique, each and every preparation is different. So we take it for what comes and what it is, move on, try and do the best that we can in every opportunity, whether that's here in Adelaide or it's in Melbourne. Ash Barty
Barty then teamed with fellow Aussie Storm Sanders to win the doubles title as well, defeating Croatia’s Darija Jurak Schreiber & Andreja Klepac from Slovenia, 6-1 6-4, to complete the clean sweep.
In the singles final, Rybakina and Barty were evenly matched over the first 6 games, but the contest quickly turned on the back of a crucial hold of serve by the top seed at 3-3 when Barty dug herself out of a 15-40 deficit ,and then ran off 7 straight games, wrapping up her singles title in a tidy 64 minutes.
“We’ve obviously had a brilliant week, been able to work progressively through each match,” Barty said after the match. “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.”
It was an emphatic win over the 7th-seeded Kazakh, and Barty has now won 21 of her last 24 matches in Australia.
While the 6-foot Rybakina had two chances to lead 4-3 in the opener, a missed forehand and a Barty ace brought the World No 1 back to deuce, and she hardly looked back from then on in.
Frustrated at missing her moment, Rybakina dropped her own serve in the very next game with a flurry of unforced errors, as Barty forged to a 5-3 lead and the 2020 champion closed out the set to love after 29 minutes.
Momentum firmly on her side, Barty gained another break in the opening game of the second set as Rybakina’s double-faulting proved costly.
The match was all but over when Barty clinched the double break to power to a 4-0 lead, and although Rybakina held onto her deliveries, she formally submitted after just 64 minutes.
After a second-round victory against Gauff, in which she had to come back from a set and a break down to win, Barty never lost her serve again in the tournament, a run of 35 consecutive games serving up a combined 28 aces, and saved all 4 break points she faced.
Against Rybakina, Barty lost just 13 points in 9 service games overall, hitting 17 winners to 13 unforced errors.
“I probably felt, like overall this week, my serve has been a real weapon,” Barty said. “I felt like I struggled with rhythm early on in the week, and I’ve been able to progressively get better and better.
“To go a few matches unbroken is really good.”
Barty feels she is on track for the Australian Open, adding: “I feel good leading up to an Australian Open, like I have every year.
“Each and every preparation is unique, each and every preparation is different.
“So we take it for what comes and what it is, move on, try and do the best that we can in every opportunity, whether that’s here in Adelaide or it’s in Melbourne.
“It has absolutely no effect on the way that I prepare or the way I’m thinking leading forward just because it’s a Grand Slam. Doesn’t change for us. We look forward, we do what we can, then we see how we go.”
After sealing the singles title, Barty capped off a perfect opening week by capturing her 12th doubles title, the second occasion that the Aussie has swept both the singles and doubles at a tournament for the 2nd straight season, having also done so at 2021 Stuttgart.
Partnering with Sanders, the unseeded Australian pair dominated the 61 minute final over No 3 seeds Jurak and Klepac.
The win was Sanders’ third career doubles title, and her first partnering with her close friend Barty.
The World No 1 is scheduled to play the Sydney Tennis Classic next week ahead of the Australian Open, which begins on Monday 17 January.