"This is unreal," the no. 1 WTA player Ash Barty exclaimed after her straight-set win over the Polish young woman Iga Swiatek at the Adelaide semifinal. But it was time to move on and do what she had to do, making it into her first final of a new tour year.
She didn't disappoint for one moment as she was successful at winning her first title of 2022 over Elena Rybakina in straight sets 6-3, 6-2. In the opening set, Barty grabbed the first game with Rybakina trying to keep a tight performance with a few cross-court winners over her opponent.
It looked promising that this may be a great competitive match. The games were tied 3-all but this only gave Barty the desire to whip up her magic formula of slices and spins, run her opponent around to win the opening set 6-3.
The second and deciding set gave Rybakina a bit of courage when she could give Barty great returns hitting corner shots and cross-court winners. But the Australian just so relaxingly guided returns down the line and angled placements to lead 3-0.
The crowd packed in as Rybakina did get a few games on the Australian but it was all Barty after that. She soon led to a 5-2 and the rest was history. "Supreme quality for the world's number one," you could hear the commentator say.
But Barty's playing isn't always a deep run. She hasn't been on the competitive courts since the U.S. Open in September. The Pandemic put a damper on the season for the Australian player as she refused to play due to rises in positive COVID-19 spikes in tournament locations.
She would only get to the third round at the Open being defeated by Shelby Rogers to get knocked out of competition. But she had managed well to capture the Cincinnati title in August. Barty didn't really have to prove anything to her fans or the tennis world and so stayed home with family before playing Adelaide.
"I love to test myself against the best in the world," Barty had exclaimed with a huge grin. She did indeed do her thing by defeating Coco Gauff, Sofia Kenin, Iga Swiatek and now Elena Rybakina. It was another day on the courts and with a lovely win as this, who knows what Barty will accomplish next.
"I have goals..." she said laughing with the on-court commentator. But what her goals are may be to do picture-perfect performances as she has just done at Adelaide.