It’s been a long time coming, but Australia’s Ashleigh Barty secured victory on home soil, making her the first singles champion to do so for forty-four years. And while that feat is impressive enough, Barty has also positioned herself as Australia’s most successful singles player over the last forty years.
Barty, 25, headed into the women’s singles final as favourite against American Danielle Collins. And, after cruising to victory in the first set 6-3, Collins was on fire in the second and steaming ahead to level the tie. But Barty hit back, taking the deciding set to a tie break, with the final result 6-3 7-6 (2).
It's the first time since 1978 that the feat of an Australian winning on home turf had occurred when Chris O’Neil secured the grand slam title. On the other hand, Barty adds this crown to success at the French Open in 2019 and last year at Wimbledon. It's fair to say after dominating the sport for several decades, Australia has fallen off the map in recent times, but Barty is changing all that.
Before Barty came along, success at the top level of tennis had become scarce for Australia. Sam Stosur managed to win the US Open in 2011, over a decade ago, but before this, the only Australian woman to pick up a singles title was Evonne Goolagong Cawley in 1980. So, it was fitting to Goolagong Cawley stepping up to present Barty with the latest addition to her haul of Grand Slam crowns.
The target now for Barty will be to continue in the same vein moving forwards. Chasing down Goolagong Cawley’s record of seven Grand Slam singles titles is a target that Barty is on course to surpass, with only another four required to equal her compatriot's achievements.
And, the world number one also has Serena Williams in her sights. Williams remains the only female player still active in the sport to complete the prestigious career Grand Slam. But, if Barty can win the US Open, she will take over the reins. And, in doing so, would also become only the second Australian, after Margaret Court, to complete the clean sweep.
Queensland-born Barty, who is cemented in her position as world number one, will now be turning her Grand Slam attention and ambitions to Roland Garros and the French Open in May. After her success in 2019, and a second-round exit last year, Barty will be keen to impress, adding another Grand Slam title to her running total of three.
After what we saw in Australia, it promises to be another hugely successful year for Barty. And, at twenty-five years old, the sky really is the limit. She is more than capable of going on to become of the greatest female tennis stars of all time, which would be excellent for her home country, which has been very much in the tennis wilderness for far too long, not to mention for those who've decided to back her when betting on her tennis game.