TennisSection previews the 2022 Australian Open as Ashleigh Barty takes on Danielle Collins in the final on Saturday, January 29th, 2022.
Ashleigh Barty is on the verge of another history-making moment. The World No. 1 will play to win the 2022 Australian Open title, and consequently, become the first home champion in 44 years. Can she get the job done when she takes on the surprise finalist Danielle Collins?
There is something so peculiar about watching Ashleigh Barty play tennis. She is not the tallest player in the women’s roster, but possesses inarguably the best serve amongst the current generation. Barty is also not the most ostentatious tennis player, but she has the game that can soothe sore eyes. Even the occasional tennis fan would find her game so appealing to watch. In saying that, the World No. 1 remains tantalizingly close to win her third Grand Slam title and simultaneously end Australia’s 44-year wait for a home champion at the Australian Open. Will Barty get over the line or will she stumble at the final hurdle against in-form Danielle Collins?
Remarkably, Danielle Collins will be Ashleigh Barty’s fourth American opponent at this year’s Australian Open. So far, the Aussie hasn’t looked remotely close to losing, dropping a mere 21 games en route to the final and clocking about six hours of playing time in six matches. Those are ridiculous stats, but Collins enters Saturday’s contest with optimism. The American certainly looks like she could be Barty’s biggest obstacle in her quest to win a maiden Australian Open title. But the power-hitting Collins is not going to rest on her laurels as she targets her very first Grand Slam title.
Ashleigh Barty leads Danielle Collins 3-1 in their head-to-head. But it is pertinent to note, the American was the victor in their last showdown at the 2021 Adelaide International last season. While Collins did upend Barty on home soil 12 months ago, the stage and venue is completely different this time. The decibel levels inside Rod Laver Arena will hit fever pitch on Saturday. Aside from the crowd potentially getting under Collins’ skin, Barty has a big advantage in this match-up due to her court graft and variety. Players like Pegula and Madison Keys are not too dissimilar in playing style to Collins, and Barty delivered a masterclass in beating them both. Barty will need to be on guard against Collins firepower which can wreak havoc should she have any nerves in the early exchanges. Nonetheless, it would be cruel to pick against the Aussie in this one given how dominant she has been this fortnight. Collins might get another bite of the cherry later during the season, but this rightly feels like Barty’s time to shine on home soil.
Free Tennis Pick and Prediction: Ashleigh Barty in straight sets
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