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The enigmatic Australian has found new life in the doubles format this year, having battled hard but ultimately exited in the singles to men’s singles finalist Daniil Medvedev in four sets in the second round.
The pair have brought a fresh attitude to the game, prioritising entertainment and fun each match, with Kokkinakis saying after their semi-final win over third-seeded pair Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos: “It sounds stupid, but winning has been our second priority every time,” Kokkinakis told reporters. “We hope to have fun, enjoy ourselves, enjoy our time on court. Hopefully they (crowd) feel like they’ve paid good money to watch us.”
While Kyrgios, a controversial figure in the game, is eager to bring new fans to tennis: “If they flick on a match and they have Thanasi and I playing in an entertaining doubles match, they know nothing about tennis, if they watch that match just then, they probably would tune in next time. That’s what I’m about. That’s what I want to bring. I think that’s how the sport is going to survive.”
Follow all the live action from the men’s doubles final below:
Australian Open men’s double final
Kyrgios and Kokkinakis take first set 7-5 at Rod Laver Arena
Special Ks seal first-ever Grand Slam title in straight sets (7-5, 6-4)
Kokkinakis and Kyrgios react to historic win and prepare for celebrations
Legend Laver congratulates Aussie pair
13:26 , Dan Austin
Tennis legend Rod Laver has congratulated Kokkinakis and Kyrgios on their superb debut Grand Slam victory.
The court the pair took victory on this afternoon is named after the 83-year-old Aussie, who won 11 Grand Slam singles titles in the 1960s.
— Rod Laver (@rodlaver) January 29, 2022
Kokkinakis and Kyrgios victory was long in the making
13:16 , Dan Austin
Thanasi Kokkinakis and Nick Kyrgios have been friends since they were nine-years-old, after meeting on the junior tennis circuit and attending the same tournaments across Australia.
Kokkinakis said earlier this week he remembers Kyrgios as “the chubby kid from Canberra”, while Kyrgios said in the aftermath of their victory this afternoon that he “wouldn’t want to do this with anyone else”.
Both men talked up the prospect of competing together at more tournaments in the future.
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 29, 2022
Amazing day for Australian sport
13:07 , Dan Austin
What an amazing day this has been for Australian sport.
First up, Ash Barty beat Danielle Collins to become the first Aussie to win the Australian Open in 42 years. The 25-year-old is without doubt the best women’s player on the planet right now and will go into the rest of the year’s Grand Slams as a strong favourite.
While Barty was celebrating her triumph, four more home favourites took to the court at Rod Laver Arena to contest the men’s doubles final. Matt Ebden and Max Purcell are a smart pair of specialist doubles players, but in the end the pure talent of Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis took hold.
A stunning few hours of success for everyone Down Under to revel in.
Kyrgios has Grand Slam glory talent deserves
13:02 , Dan Austin
Nick Kyrgios is one of the most entertaining tennis players to have ever played the game, and the incredible level of talent he possesses is unquestionable.
His best results in Grand Slams had been underwhelming though, with quarter-finals singles appearances at Wimbledon in 2014 and in Melbourne in 2015 all he could muster.
Here, he played the best tennis of his career and harnessed the power of his world-class serve and superb forehand to finally take the major championship his ability deserves.
Kokkinakis and Kyrgios delighted after Australian Open victory
12:56 , Dan Austin
Thanasi Kokkinakis and Nick Kyrgios are delighted out on the court at the Rod Laver Arena as they collect their trophies.
“What a week!,” Kokkkinakis says. “First of all we’d like to congratulate Matt and Max. Great doubles pairing, difficult opponents. Secondly, Nick... I love your brother! I can honestly say we didn’t expect to get anywhere near this. But thanks to your support we did. Couldn’t ask for anything more.” The atmosphere, the crowd, you set such a high standard and I love coming back here.”
“This week has been a dream come true for me. I wouldn’t want to do this with anyone else. I’m just super happy. I wouldn’t have been here without my team and my beautiful girlfriend. I know this big boy [Kokkinakis] is going to be out tonight, so ladies... let’s go! I’ve got to stop now, I’ve crossed the line!”
Purcell and Ebden react to Australian Open final defeat
12:52 , Dan Austin
Max Purcell and Matt Ebden have bee reacting to their loss as they collect their runner-up trophies. “Firstly we have to congratulate our opponents, they played too well today,” Ebden begins. “We had a great couple of weeks and didn’t too much wrong tonight, but they played really well and I’m very impressed [by them].”
“Hopefully we’ll see you more on the doubles court this year because it’s hella fun to watch you two play,” purcell adds. “Thanks to Matty too, I can’t wait to pair up with him again. This is the biggest crowd I’ve ever played in front of and I hope to do it again.”
Purcell impress but Ebden struggles
12:48 , Dan Austin
The highly-rated Max Purcell did his reputation no harm here despite the defeat, serving well throughout the match and demonstrating plenty of smart play at the net to win a fair few points after being on the back foot.
34-year-old Matt Ebden, though, looked slow to react to often when volleying close-up, and struggled with his serve. Kokkinakis and Kyrgios targeted his service games and broke in each set, which was the difference in the end.
Kokkinakis and Kyrgios fully deserve win
12:46 , Dan Austin
This was an excellent performance from Kokkinakis and Kyrgios against a pair of experienced, specialist doubles players with plenty of nous and skill in their locker.
The Ks have known each other since they were nine-years-old and their combination of superb serving and pristine shot selection saw them through in the end.
A superb win.
*Kokkinakis/Kyrgios 6-4 Ebden/Purcell (7-5)
12:43 , Dan Austin
It’s all over!
Kyrgios’ serving hits an unreturnable serve and two aces to race into a 40-0 lead in the deciding game, before Kokkinakis slams a volley down the middle to take the championship!
A superb performance from both men, and what a moment for the two childhood friends.
Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis win the Australian Open!
12:43 , Dan Austin
Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis are Australian Open champions!
They have beaten Matt Ebden and Max Purcell 7-5, 6-4 to take the championship.
*Kokkinakis/Kyrgios 5-4 Ebden/Purcell (7-5)
12:40 , Dan Austin
Purcell and Ebden just about hold on!
Having led 15-0, Purcell hits his first double-fault of the match following the pause in play due to crowd trouble, and the next point is lost to an unforced error. Kokkinakis sends a comfortable forehand wide for 30-30 before a great volley from Ebden caresses the ball over the tape for game point.
Purcell hits the net with a very low volley after a strong return from Kokkinakis, taking us to deuce, before a very poor choice of shot of Kyrgios sees him send a high backhand volley wide on the Purcell side.
Kyrgios takes it back to deuce though with some unbelievable defence to stay alive in the point off a Purcell overhead, Ebden eventually send one wide after a long rally. Kokkinakis hammers a forehand past both opponents for championship point, but Purcell hits two excellent first serves to run things around, The first in unreturnable and the second ends with Kyrgios sending a shot long after a great Ebden volley.
They see out the final point comfortably and force Kyrgios to serve for the match, and the championship.
Umpire warns crowd as fans thrown out
12:33 , Dan Austin
The crowd at the Rod Laver Arena is raucous and the umpire is having to step in to calm things down. “One or two spectators are totally ruining the game by screaming,” he bellows over the microphone as as number of spectators are ejected from the stadium.
Kokkinakis/Kyrgios 5-3 *Ebden/Purcell (7-5)
12:30 , Dan Austin
Kokkinakis and Kyrgios are just one game away from the championship now!
The former plays an inconsistent service game, including both an ace and double-fault, forcing Purcell and Ebden into a series of weak returns which allow him and Kyrgios to charge up their shots from the baseline and take the early points.
There was some smart net play from Kyrgios in there too in an intense rally with Purcell which the 26-year-old ended up winning, but some unforced errors from Kokkinakis and Kyrgios allowed their opponents a potential route back into the match.
At deuce, though, Kokkinakis unleashes a squeezed forehand down the line past Ebden to move to advantage, with Ebden hitting a tight volley into the net.
*Kokkinakis/Kyrgios 4-3 Ebden/Purcell (7-5)
12:23 , Dan Austin
The Ks break in the second! They race into a 0-40 lead thanks to some iffy serving and net play from Ebden, who gives Kyrgios too much time on the ball to pick his shots and place them perfectly.
Kokkinakis and Kyrgios are now just a couple of games away from the championship.
Kokkinakis/Kyrgios 3-3 *Ebden/Purcell (7-5)
12:20 , Dan Austin
An even quicker game this time around as some swashbuckling serving from Kyrgios sees off Purcell and Ebden with a minimum of fuss.
No we’re on the Ebden serve again, which is the one the Ks will be targeting most fervently.
*Kokkinakis/Kyrgios 2-3 Ebden/Purcell (7-5)
12:18 , Dan Austin
Purcell’s impressive run continues with another very quick service hold, as the second set moves at much faster pace than the first.
Purcell and Ebden’s doubles experience has been showing in some key moments where they have launches sharp change-ups to win points, whereas Kokkinakis and Kyrgios are using their superior power and shot placement. An intriguing battle of two contrasting styles.
Kokkinakis/Kyrgios 2-2 *Ebden/Purcell (7-5)
12:15 , Dan Austin
Kokkinakis enjoys another impeccable service game, including one especially impressive forehand from the outside of the court which cut narrowly over the net and beat a snoozing Ebden on the near side.
We remain on serve in the second set, with Purcell up next.
*Kokkinakis/Kyrgios 1-2 Ebden/Purcell (7-5)
12:11 , Dan Austin
Max Purcell is playing superbly so far in this match, and helps Ebden see out his service game to love with some relentless net play which Kokkinakis and Kyrgios cannot respond to.
The 23-year-old is highly-rated in his homeland.
Kokkinakis/Kyrgios 1-1 *Ebden/Purcell (7-5)
12:08 , Dan Austin
Kokkinakis and Kyrgios struggle with communication early on in this game, leaving a baseline shot for one another before Kyrgios eventually swings too late and hits the net.
Kokkinakis positions himself poorly at the net and allows Purcell to slam a foreheand down the centre of the court for 15-30, but the following three points are easily won by the Ks thanks to excellent serving from Kyrgios.
*Kokkinakis/Kyrgios 0-1 Ebden/Purcell (7-5)
12:04 , Dan Austin
Ebden stays in the opening point of the second set by playing an excellent tweener that forces Kokkinakis back and eventually ends with him hitting an overhit lob, with Ebden revelling in his showboating and riling up the Melbourne crowd.
Bar a brief error from Ebden which sees a volley hit the net, Purcell sails through his service game and they hold the game to 15.
Kokkinakis/Kyrgios 7-5 Ebden/Purcell
12:00 , Dan Austin
We’re back on the Kokkinakis serve and it’s an extremely comfortable hold to love for the Ks, with a series of powerful forehands from both men helping them take the first set in just over an hour.
Midway through the set it seemed as though the doubles experience Ebden and Purcell have was beginning to give them the advantage, as a few smart net plays won them crucial points and helped them defend break points.
But, ultimately, Kokkinakis and Kyrgios are the better tennis players and their talent told eventually with a series of excellent, powerful forehands both men hit which their opponents were unable to return.
Purcell has played strongly in the opening set but Ebden needs to step it up before the match is taken away from them.
11:56 , Jack Rathborn
*Kokkinakis/Kyrgios 6-5 Ebden/Purcell
11:55 , Jack Rathborn
“Sorry mate!” Kyrgios bellows at the start of this game as a return ricochets off the net and wins him the point. Ebden’s serve looks week as Kokkinakis returns well to make it 0-30, before a net ball brings the serving pair back into it at 15-30.
Purcell sends a volley long after an excellent return from Kokkinakis before saving the first break point at the net, and at 30-40 overcooks a short forehand that lets Ebden and Purcell off the hook.
At deuce, a rip-spin spot from Kokkinakis forces a long volley from Ebden, who responds with a serve down the T-line that gives Purcell a comfortable return to volley home and send us to deuce for a third time.
Kokkinakis hits another excellent couple of rip-roaring forehands to give he and Kyrgios the advantage, which they finally make count on at the fourth time of asking as Ebden hits the net following another superb Kokkinakis return.
The Ks need to serve out the set now.
Kokkinakis/Kyrgios 5-5 *Ebden/Purcell
11:48 , Dan Austin
Kokkinakis and Kyrgios look to be racing away with this game before a superb double-handed backhand return from Purcell and an overhit forehand from Kyrgios take the game to deuce.
Ebden gets the better of Kyrgios at the net to take us to deuce for a second time, before Pucell and Ebden overhit one return each to ensure we’re still on serve at 5-5.
*Kokkinakis/Kyrgios 4-5 Ebden/Purcell
11:43 , Dan Austin
The first real moment of panic for Ebden and Purcell, but they manage it well.
Kokkinakis and Kyrgios take it to 0-30 at the start of the game with a two strong returns on the second serve from Purcell, but a couple of hits into the body pull him and Ebden back to deuce eventually.
The former pair are attacking Ebden with pace when he is at the net and finding success with that advantage. A ricochet off the net from a Kokkinakis shot takes us back to deuce for a second time, before two sweeping volley from Ebden see the game out, and we remain on serve in the first set.
Kokkinakis/Kyrgios 4-4 *Ebden/Purcell
11:37 , Dan Austin
Thanasi Kokkinakis is serving extremely well right now and a combination of an strong ace and a series of openers his opponents are unable to return takes us to 4-4 in the opening set at the Rod Laver Arena.
Second serve is a different story but this is still a relatively comfortable hold to 30.
Kyrgios now on court in front of home crowd
11:29 , Dan Austin
The Melbourne crowd hasn’t had long to wait for another home favourite to have a shot at winning the Australian Open, with four Aussies currently on court in the men’s doubles final.
Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis are facing Matthew Ebden and Max Purcell. It’s 3-3, on serve, in the first set.
Rivals send congratulations to victorious Barty
11:16 , Dan Austin
Ash Barty is unquestionably the best player in women’s tennis right now, and will no doubt go into the three Grand Slams later this year as strong favourite to win, barring injury or an unexpected loss of form.
The rest of the players on the women’s tour must be daunted by the strength of Barty’s performances in Melbourne, but the 25-year-old’s personality make her a popular figure on the circuit and plenty of her rivals have rushed to congratulate her.
Ons Jabeur tweeted: “Congrats @ashbarty so happy for you champ! This one is very special and you really deserve it,” while Victoria Azarenka wrote: “There is just no better tennis player at the moment than @ashbarty Most complete and focused! The way she is able to put pieces together and add a bit more to her game is absolutely admirable! What an example! Congrats champ to you and all your team.”
Barty joins exclusive list of Grand Slam all-rounders
11:08 , Dan Austin
By beating Danielle Collins in Melbourne this morning, Ash Barty has won her first ever Grand Slam played on a hard court.
That means the 25-year-old has now won majors on clay, grass and hard surfaces, putting her in an exclusive club of present-day players who achieved the same success.
The only others active tennis players to have won a Grand Slam on all three surfaces are Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams.
Barty revels in home victory in front of raucous crowd
11:01 , Dan Austin
Ash Barty has been celebrating her victory in front of a delighted crowd at the Rod Laver Arena, where fans saw an Australian win their home Grand Slam for the first time since Chris O’Neil in 1978.
Only victory at the US Open remains now for the 25-year-old, who won Wimbledon in 2021 and the French Open at Roland Garros in 2019.
“It’s just a dream come true for me. I’m so proud to be an Aussie, so thank you very much everyone. I’ll see you next time!”
Barty’s service game speed the key
10:55 , Dan Austin
Arguably the most crucial component in Barty’s victory was her ability to move at pace through her own service games before putting the pressure back onto Collins.
The 25-year-old may have been broken twice, but she won 57 percent of her service games to love or fifteen, meaning she was able to take all of Collins’ opportunities away swiftly and could spend more time concentrating on attack rather than defence.
Australian Open 2022: Barty’s winner’s speech
10:46 , Tom Kershaw
“To my team, wow! I have said numerous times I am so lucky to have so many people here who love and support me.
“Mum, dad and my sisters, I am an incredibly fortunate and lucky girl to have so much love in my corner.
“No one has changed in our team, we are the best in the business and I can’t thank you for all the time you put into me.
“As an Aussie the most important part of this is being able to share it and you guys have been nothing short of exceptional. This crowd is one of the most fun I have ever played in front of - you relaxed me and forced me to play my best tennis! Against a champion like Danielle I had to bring that today.”
“This is a dream come true to me and I am so proud to be an Aussie, so thank you so much everyone - we will see you next time!”
Australian Open 2022: Barty’s winner’s speech
10:45 , Tom Kershaw
“Thank you everyone so much, I have to say congratulations to Danielle, it has been an amazing fortnight for you, I know you will be fighting for many more of these in the future.
“I am a little stumped, I would love to thank everyone who does so much work behind the scenes - it takes a real big village to put on an event like this, this tournament has been one of my favourite experiences, so thank you so much for that.
“To all the umpires, ball kids, everyone who makes it so easy for us players to do what we do - you guys makes it seamless and without you we’d be lost!”
Australian Open 2022: Collins’ runner-up speech
10:37 , Tom Kershaw
“I have a lot of people to thank, everyone who came to support me these past two weeks, we all met by chance and are now friends for life! It means the world to me.
“Marty, I don’t want to get too choked up but I wouldn’t be here without your support, thank you for believing in me!
“Thank you Joe, my amazing boyfriend, for taking time off of work also to help bring some normality to my life - I can’t wait for more adventures and good times ahead.”
Australian Open 2022: Collins’ runner-up speech
10:35 , Tom Kershaw
Collins thanks everyone for their support and gets a great reception from the crowd. “I really admire you as a player,” she tells Barty.
Australian Open 2022: Prize-giving ceremony
10:27 , Tom Kershaw
The stage has been set for the presentation, where Evonne Goolagong Cawley, Barty’s idol, will take part in the prize-giving ceremony.
10:16 , Tom Kershaw
Australian Open 2022: Barty wins!
10:14 , Tom Kershaw
Ashleigh Barty is the Australian Open champion! A fantastic passing shot winner seals it. It was far from her best tennis, but she fought back with such strength from 5-1 to clinch a second set that looked all but certain to escape her.
Australian Open 2022: Barty 5-1 Collins (second set tie-break)
10:12 , Tom Kershaw
A fantastic point sees Barty produce a spectacular drop shot. Collins somehow manages to reach it at full-stretch. Barty backpedals to reach the high ball and smashes it down with precision. Collins gets her first point on the board but then snatches at a second serve.
Australian Open 2022: Barty 3-0 Collins (second set tie-break)
10:09 , Tom Kershaw
A few nerves creep in for Collins, who makes two unforced errors to hand Barty the ascendancy in the tie-break. The Australian then hits a thunderous forehand winner to bring the finish line into view.
Australian Open 2022: Barty 6-6 Collins
10:07 , Tom Kershaw
An ace gets Barty off to a great start but Collins then throws everything at the second serve. She forces two errors and the pressure is on at 15-30. Barty is more than equal to it, though. Two service winners seal the hold. We’re heading to a tie-break.
Australian Open 2022: Barty 5-6 Collins
10:04 , Tom Kershaw
Collins is under pressure at 0-15 but times a backhand winner to perfection before matching Barty blow-for-blow in a long rally. It’s the Australian who blinks first, with Collins able to deflect that low, skidding slice, and Barty then produces a weak forehand that catches the net. Collins holds. Barty will now serve to take this set into a tie-break.
Australian Open 2022: Barty 5-5 Collins
10:00 , Tom Kershaw
And now this is something more like the Barty we’re used to seeing. After breaking Collins down in a long rally, she then delivers a service winner and a great forehand that the American doesn’t even attempt to chase. Collins tries to slow the pace of the game, taking time between points, but that tactic brings few rewards. An ace seals the hold. That’s Barty’s fourth game in succession.
Australian Open 2022: Barty 4-5 Collins
09:55 , Tom Kershaw
Collins has a word with the umpire at the start of the game, but it’s not clear why as of yet. There are few immediate signs of a problem, though, as she moves to 30-0 as Barty makes more uncharacteristic errors. The Australian then comes fighting back, though. She attacks Collins’ second serve and then unleashes two huge forehands to bring up break point. Collins complains to the umpire about noise during the points before sending a backhand into the net. From 5-1 down, we’re back on serve in the second set!
Australian Open 2022: Barty 3-5 Collins
09:52 , Tom Kershaw
Barty races to 40-0 after a poor Collins backhand, an ace, and a forehand winner. Collins fight back to 30, though, forcing Barty into a pair of errors on her backhand. A weak Collins forehand then hands over the game. The American will have a second chance to serve out this second set.
Australian Open 2022: Barty 2-5 Collins
09:46 , Tom Kershaw
Barty finds two great forehand winners to put Collins under a little pressure at 15-30, but having taken the ascendancy in the next rally she strays long again. It’s Collins who wobbles next, though, as a backhand error brings up break point. Barty attacks the second serve and Collins can’t respond. Barty gets one of the breaks back!
Australian Open 2022: Barty 1-5 Collins
09:43 , Tom Kershaw
If Barty’s nerves weren’t already obvious, she starts the game with a double fault. She then takes a drive volley too late to make it 15-30 before another double coughs up two break points. A really timid Barty backhand slice limps into the net and Collins breaks again!
The world No 1 really needs a spark to get out of this slump because we’re almost certainly heading for a deciding set.
Australian Open 2022: Barty 1-4 Collins
09:41 , Tom Kershaw
Collins is playing fantastically now, pumping her fists and shouting every time she comes out on top in a tense rally. There’s a hint of a wobble at 30-0 after an unforced backhand error but then two magnificent forehand winners seal the hold. She hits those shots with such confidence and Barty is struggling to find an answer right now.
Australian Open 2022: Barty 1-3 Collins
09:37 , Tom Kershaw
Barty holds off the tide with a fine service game to love. A great backhand winner seals it.
Australian Open 2022: Barty 0-3 Collins
09:36 , Tom Kershaw
A huge hold for Collins in a five-minute game. She faced a first break point at 30-40 after a pair of unforced backhand errors but managed to draw a mistake from Barty to alleviate the danger. She soon faces another though and, while Collins does brilliantly to keep the ball in play from well behind the baseline, Barty misses what would normally be a simple backhand volley to break. Collins takes full advantage, holds, and roars loudly again. The momentum has really turned.
Australian Open 2022: Barty 0-2 Collins
09:30 , Tom Kershaw
Collins breaks! It’s somewhat self-inflicted by Barty, whose forehand goes awry on three points in succession. She’s still not moving at her best on the baseline. An ace safely navigates one break point but, on the second, Collins takes control of the rally with a brilliant forehand. Barty can only deflect it with a high lob that sits up for a huge smash. Collins thrashes it away and lets out a huge roar. That’s the first time she’s shown her emotion in the match.
Australian Open 2022: Barty 0-1 Collins
09:26 , Tom Kershaw
That’s a better start to the second set from Collins. A winner off either side seals a comfortable hold. She has to try and disrupt Barty’s rhythm before this match slips away.
Australian Open 2022: Barty wins first set
09:19 , Tom Kershaw
A brilliant cross-court forehand on the run catches Collins a little static and she frames her return into the crowd. That was Barty at her best and she’s managed to subdue the American so well after a somewhat shaky start. A forehand winner draws more applause from the crowd before an ace clinches the first set in 32 minutes.
Australian Open 2022: Barty 5-3 Collins
09:17 , Tom Kershaw
Collins makes a nervy start to the game with another double fault and is under pressure on serve again at 30-30. This time the American steadies herself well, though, drawing Barty into an error before a terrific forehand winner ensures the world No 1 will have to serve out the set.
Australian Open 2022: Barty 5-2 Collins
09:13 , Tom Kershaw
Barty quickly consolidates the break. She races to 40-0 courtesy of more fine serving and another forehand winner. A double fault offers Collins a faint hint of hope but it’s extinguished instantly.
Australian Open 2022: Barty 4-2 Collins
09:10 , Tom Kershaw
Now it’s Collins whose serve is put under pressure. She’s pushed way behind the baseline by Barty, where the American is not at her most comfortable, and an awkward forehand strays wide. That makes it 15-30 and the crowd senses an opportunity. A fine Barty forehand winner then brings up break point at 30-40 and it’s Collins who cracks first. A double fault hands over the break and that will really help to settle Barty.
Australian Open 2022: Barty 3-2 Collins
09:06 , Tom Kershaw
Barty looked to be cruising towards another routine hold of serve but, from 40-15 up, she’s taken to deuce by Collins after another huge backhand winner. The world No 1 still seems a little nervous and isn’t covering the court quite as well as normal. A loose forehand then flies way long of the baseline and Collins has break point. Barty rises to the pressure, though, with a high-risk forehand winner that alleviates the danger. She closes out the game with an ace.
Australian Open 2022: Barty 2-2 Collins
09:02 , Tom Kershaw
There are few signs of weakness from Collins either, though. The American shows all her power and precision in a terrific rally at 0-15, dragging Barty across the baseline and bludgeoning a backhand winner. A no less emphatic forehand winner seals a fourth point in succession and the hold of serve.
Australian Open 2022: Barty 2-1 Collins
08:58 , Tom Kershaw
Barty races to 40-0 on serve again. The Australian is still warming into her groundstrokes a little but her serve has been as deadly as ever. A forehand drifts long but there’s no trouble as the world No 1 closes out another simple hold.
Australian Open 2022: Barty 1-1 Collins
08:53 , Tom Kershaw
Collins is equal to it, though. A tame second serve is pounced on by Barty at the start of the game but Collins responds emphatically with a brilliant forehand winner that just clips the line. A service winner is then followed by an unusually tense Barty slice backhand that drifts long. That betrayed a little of the tension that must be there, despite how well Barty conceals it. Collins closes out the game.
Australian Open 2022: Barty 1-0 Collins
08:50 , Tom Kershaw
An assured start for Barty. The world No 1 races to 40-0, courtesy of three fine serves. She’s pegged back to 30 after a pair of loose backhands but closes out the game confidently.
Australian Open 2022: Barty gets huge reception
08:43 , Tom Kershaw
Barty gets a huge reception as she walks out onto Rod Laver Arena. This is a final Australian tennis fans have been anticipating for several years. Collins doesn’t look flustered, though. We’re just minutes away from the start of this match.
Australian Open 2022: Players make final preparations
08:37 , Tom Kershaw
The players have entered the warm-up area and will be out on court very shortly. Collins will never have faced an atmosphere quite like this in her career, but she does carry the confidence of victory the last time these two met. It was in Adelaide in 2021 and Collins won somewhat comfortably even in straight sets. The world No 1 had prevailed in all of their three previous contests up until then, though.
Australian Open 2022: Collins’s route to the final
08:19 , Tom Kershaw
Collins has only dropped one set herself en route to the final, against Elise Mertens back in the fourth round. Her semi-final victory over Iga Swiatek was the most emphatic and impressive, though, beating the former French Open champion 6-4 6-1.
Australian Open 2022: Barty’s route to the final
08:08 , Tom Kershaw
Barty’s route to the final has been seamless and she required just 62 minutes to sweep aside Madison Keys in the semi-finals.
Australian Open 2022: Collins’ comeback from endometriosis
08:01 , Tom Kershaw
Few would have predicted Collins would be Barty’s opponent in this final, not least because of the health challenges the American has faced.
In the middle of the Australian summer last year, Collins was struck by such a severe pain that she collapsed on court. MRI scans failed to detect the cause of the pain until April 2021, when she underwent a major operation to remove “a cyst the size of a tennis ball” on her ovary.
“At Wimbledon in 2018, I was walking to practice and I started having the sharpest pain in my lower back and stomach. I actually fell over and I couldn’t get up. I had to have a cart to take me to transportation so I could get home. My hitting partner was looking at me, thinking, ‘Is she being over-dramatic, making a scene?” Collins told The Telegraph last year.
“It was the same in Australia [last] year, during the quarantine, when I fell over on the practice court and I was lying there on my back.”
“When I found out what it was, I was shocked – but also hopeful, because I was at rock bottom with the physical agony, and I didn’t know how I was going to keep playing tennis.”
Australian Open 2022: Barty locks out media ahead of final
07:40 , Tom Kershaw
Barty has been typically calm throughout the fortnight but made the rare step of closing her final training session to the media earlier today.
The Australian is hoping to block out the public’s excitement and anticipation, with close friend Casey Dellacqua saying Barty may even “be a little bit oblivious” to the pressure.
TV commentator Sam Smith said Barty’s decision to move her practice session was a “good idea”.
“She’s the world No 1, the top seed, it’s in Australia, and it’s a grand slam final. That’s like the trifecta of pressure, isn’t it,” she said.
“Why not keep as much out as possible. I think what we’ve learnt from Ash since she’s come back... she’s much older, confident, mature, and she’s very clear about what she wants and she needs.”
Australian Open 2022: Barty faces Collins in women’s final
07:30 , Tom Kershaw
Welcome to The Independent’s live coverage as Ashleigh Barty faces Danielle Collins in the women’s singles final.
Barty, the world No 1, is bidding to become the first Australian to win on home soil since 1978 but has rarely exhibited any signs of that pressure, cruising through to the final without dropping a set.
Collins, the 27th seed, is likely to be more susceptible to nerves, with the American competing in her first grand slam final. She will have to contend with a partisan crowd on Rod Laver Arena, but Collins was mightily impressive in the semi-final victory over Iga Swiatek and certainly has the skill to cause what would be a major upset in Melbourne.