Barty Sweeps Adelaide Championship Sunday

Ashleigh Barty (photo: James Elsby / Tennis Australia)

ADELAIDE/WASHINGTON, January 10, 2022 (by Michael Dickens)

World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty capped a great week to start the 2022 season after winning both the singles and doubles titles of the WTA 500 Adelaide International 1 Sunday in South Australia.

First, Barty rolled past seventh seed Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan, 6-3, 6-2, to win at Memorial Drive for the second time in three years. Then, she teamed with fellow Aussie Storm Sanders to win the doubles title over Darija Jurak Schreiber of Croatia and Andrea Klepac of Slovenia, 6-1, 6-4, in 61 minutes to complete the sweep of titles. It was Barty’s 12th doubles title and Sanders’ third, and their first together as a team. It was also the second straight season that Barty has swept the singles and doubles at a tournament after accomplishing the feat at Stuttgart last April.

In the singles final, Barty needed just 64 minutes to beat the 14th-ranked Rybakina and improve her career head-to-head to 2-0. She’s now won 17 of her last 18 matches against Top-20 opponents.

From 3-all in the opening set, Barty reeled off seven straight games en route to winning her 14th career WTA singles title and third in Australia.

“We’ve obviously had a brilliant week, been able to work progressively through each match,” Barty said in press following her title win. “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.”

With a week to go before the start of the Australian Open, Barty has pulled out of the Sydney Tennis Classic, which started Monday, to have more time to prepare for the year’s first major. She was to have been the No. 1 seed among a field that includes five players in the current Top 10.

“I feel good leading up to the Australian Open like I have every year,” Barty said. “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.”

Halep wins 23rdcareer title at Melbourne Summer Set 1

Second seed Simona Halep of Romania beat No. 3 seed Veronika Kudermetova of Russia, 6-2, 6-3, to win the WTA 250 Melbourne Summer Set title on Rod Laver Arena Sunday.

Halep (5-0) came from a break down in both sets and secured the title victory in an hour and 14 minutes against the 31st-ranked Russian. It was the 20th-ranked Halep’s 23rd career title and first since winning at Rome in 2020.

“Definitely, it’s great to win a tournament at the beginning of the year,” Halep said during her post-match press conference. “After a tough year, it’s always nice to have a trophy in my hands. We are all happy, and I’m very pleased with the way I played. I’m very pleased with the way I’ve been on court. It was a beautiful week.”

After playing an abbreviated schedule last season due to calf and knee injuries, in which she appeared in just 13 tournaments and withdrew or retired from four of them, Halep has started the new season with a five-match winning streak.

“The body is great, I feel good,” Halep continued. “I had a tough five matches, and my body is good. I don’t feel that tired. Physically, I’m in the right place. Confidence is growing. I feel confident. I feel that I have the game to win matches.”

En route to the Melbourne Summer Set 1 title, Halep defeated qualifier Destanee Aiava of Australia, Elena-Gabriela Ruse of Romania, No. 6 seed Viktorija Golubic of Switzerland, qualifier Zheng Qinwen of China and Kudermetova, whom she is 3-0 against over the past two seasons.

Anisimova wins Melbourne Summer Set 1 for second career title

Twenty-year-old American Amanda Anisimova earned her second career title and first since 2019 with her 7-5, 1-6, 6-4 victory in two hours and nine minutes over qualifier Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus to win the WTA 250 Melbourne Summer Set 2 event on Rod Laver Arena Sunday.

The No. 78 Anisimova fought back from down a break in the final set before holding off the 107th-ranked Sasnovich, who was appearing in her third career tour-level final and is still seeking her first WTA title.

“To start off the year playing my first tournament with a title, it’s a really amazing feeling,” Anisimova said in press after her title win. “I’m just so happy with my title and starting off the year on a good start. Hopefully, I’ll have a good season and I’m really looking forward to playing in the Australian Open.”

Anisimova strung together wins over Alison van Uytvanck of Belgium, Romanians Sorana Cirstea (No. 5 seed) and Irina-Camelia Begu, No. 3 seed Daria Kasatkina of Russia and Sasnovich.

After her semifinal win against Kasatkina, Anisimova said: “Honestly, I’m in a really good headspace to the start this year and I’m just really grateful for every tournament I get to play.”

In the off-season, Anisimova reached out to Darren Cahill, who previously coached former World No. 1 Simona Halep. Anisimova said she’s really enjoyed his help this week in Melbourne. “We’re just starting out and getting to know each other. We’ll see how it goes and hopefully it could become a long-term thing. I’m hoping that will be the case.”

By the numbers

How dominant was World No. 1 and top seed Ashleigh Barty in Adelaide? Consider this: In her quarterfinal, semifinal and title matches, against Sofia Kenin, Iga Swiatek and Elena Rybakina, Barty served a combined 28 aces and saved all four break points she faced.

“Quotable …”

“I feel comfortable all around Australia. I’m very lucky to get support all around the 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.”

– World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty of Australia on her success return home, where she won her first tournament of the year.