World number one Ash Barty was in compelling form on Sunday as the Australian handed Elena Rybakina a 6-3 6-2 loss at Memorial Drive to win Adelaide International and claim the 14th WTA title of her career.
Barty, who won the event in 2020, dominated against the 22-year-old seventh seed from Kazakhstan to win in just over an hour, as she returned to form just over a week before the start of the Australian Open in Melbourne. “The work I do with my team behind the scenes puts me in the best possible position to play a good time in tennis, and again whenever we are asked,” Barty told reporters. “I feel really good heading into summer.
“I feel great going into an Australian Open like I have done every year. Every build is unique, every build is different. So we take it for what’s coming and what it is, move on, try to do the best we can at every opportunity, whether it’s here in Adelaide or Melbourne. “
The 25-year-old took command midway through the first set after being forced to save two break points in Game 7, firing back to win despite a double fault. The home favorite capitalized on an opponent’s mistake after putting what should have been a simple winner into the net and Barty then hit an ace to hold on.
When the failed conversion of that opening rocked Rybakina, the Wimbledon champion ruthlessly took the opportunity to put herself in a winning position. Barty carved out a breaking point opportunity in the next game which she immediately converted. From there, the Australian took command.
Rybakina’s difficulties increased early in the second set, with a double fault giving Barty another break in the opener. Barty, who hasn’t given up his serve since doing it against Coco Gauff in the tournament’s opening round, scored seven straight games with another break, to take a 4-0 lead before concluding a comfortable victory.
MONFILS TRIUMPH In the men’s Adelaide ATP 250 event, French seed Gael Monfils beat Russian second seed Karen Khachanov 6-4 6-4 for her 11th tour title.
Former world number six Monfils hasn’t lost a set all week in Adelaide and the 35-year-old couldn’t have hoped for better preparation for the Australian Open, which begins on January 17. Monfils, who was reduced to tears when he left the Australian Open in the first round last year, was pleased with his consistency in Adelaide.
“I think I played all these matches very solidly, that I was playing well,” he said, adding that the pandemic had “affected him quite badly”. “For me that’s a key, always moving well, so I can be more aggressive, use my forehand more, use my serve more.
“The goal is to keep all that confidence, to bring in next week. Not starting tomorrow, but next week, to be ready to try and compete for the big AO.”
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