Classy Barty beats Yastremska for Adelaide crown

  • Matt Trollope

Ash Barty may have looked scratchy to begin her 2020 season, but she has quickly shed the rust to hoist a trophy in just the second week of the year.

The world No.1 put the finishing touches on her Australian Open preparations with a measured 6-2 7-5 win over dangerous teenager Dayana Yastremska in Adelaide on Saturday night.

Of Barty’s eight tour-level singles titles, five have come in the past 10 months, with this the first she has secured in her home country.

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Barty tasted tour-level tournament success in Australia for the first time

"This is incredible. It's been a pleasure playing here this week in Adelaide; it's been a beautiful tournament,” Barty said during the trophy presentation.

"I definitely feel the love out here. I love playing in Australia, I love playing at home, and it's been incredible for my team and I to enjoy this week.

"When we did our pre-season, we trained, we did all the work, and it was about coming out here this week and enjoying the competition.”

‘I think it was a great tussle. It's a final; you have to bring your absolute best’
Ash Barty

Barty endured a rather rude welcome to 2020 when ambushed in straight sets by 53rd-ranked qualifier Jennifer Brady in her first singles match at the Brisbane International.

And things remained difficult when she headed to Adelaide for her first match, where Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova closed the gap to 5-5 in the third set, after Barty had led 5-2.

MORE: Women’s draw: Barty’s quest for history 

Yet the top seed scraped to a 4-6 6-3 7-5 win over the Russian, and it was a victory that seemed to unlock something.

Methodical in dismantling Marketa Vondrousova in the quarterfinals, Barty elevated her game in the face of a Danielle Collins onslaught in the semifinals, beating the rampaging American in a third-set tiebreak. 

And she diffused the threat of Yastremska in Saturday’s final, with the 19-year-old unable to live with the magnificent variation within Barty’s game.

MORE: Osaka relaxed, Kvitova finds silver lining

Yastremska’s approach is about full-blooded, first-strike tennis and a love for pace – yet Barty gave her little of that, or any real rhythm.

She knifed sliced backhands at the Ukrainian to extract errors, and dragged her off court with heavy cross-court forehands, tempting Yastremska to pull the trigger from awkward positions.

A wild swinging volley error in game three handed Barty the first break of the match. Another Yastremska error delivered Barty a second break and a 5-2 lead. That became 6-2 following four more errors from the Ukrainian.

MORE: Hard work paying off for Collins after ‘complete disaster’

The steady Barty surged ahead 2-0 in the second, yet Yastremska dug in and began to deal better with Barty’s slice backhand at the set unfolded.

However, unforced errors proved her undoing once again. Yastremska dropped serve at love in the 11th game after four straight errors; Barty, now leading 6-5, held serve at love to close out victory, having won the final eight points of the match.

“I think it was a great tussle. It's a final; you have to bring your absolute best. And I was able to do that today and just get across the line,” Barty said.

"Congratulations to Dayana and your team – it’s been amazing (from you). Great start to the year, and I know we'll have many more matches in the future.

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Unforced errors thwarted Yastremska's quest for the crown

"This tournament here in Adelaide has been exceptional. I know that you guys as fans and the public have been craving tennis for many years now, and I hope we've brought the best this week.

“It's been a pleasure playing in front of you in this incredible centre court.”

Barty next heads to Melbourne Park, where she will kick off her Australian Open 2020 campaign against Lesia Tsurenko on Monday night at Rod Laver Arena.