It is Barty v Collins – Day 11 Australian Open.

It was two monster performances from the winners today and as expected Ash Barty got the ball rolling when she was first up. I keep seeing the comments ‘played well within herself’ and have been for the last few rounds and just look at how easy she is dismantling opponents. Madison Keys has been in good form coming into this and she was just brushed aside 6/1 6/3. I think a telling stat is that the American won only 49% behind her first serve up against Barty who won 86% behind hers. She made Keys look like she wasn’t in great form which is harsh, the truth is Barty is just playing on another level to anyone in this event. On top of the serve, there is the slice and forehand combo which had Keys well and truly beat in this one. Keys said this after, “She’s executing everything so well. She’s serving incredibly well, so you don’t get any free points on that. Her slice is coming in so much lower and deeper than it was in the past, so it’s hard to do anything on that. Then you try to play to her forehand and she can open you up.” I keep mentioning that the pressure might get to Barty but I think that will only be true if someone can stay close to her and nobody has. The top-seed has dropped just 21 games to reach the final and to put that in perspective only Serena Williams (16 at US Open 2013 and 19 at US Open 2012) and Venus Williams (20 at Wimbledon 2009) have dropped fewer games in doing so in a major.

Only Danielle Collins stands in her way now. The American was almost as ruthless in disposing of Iga Swiatek 6/4 6/1. She served really well today winning 78% behind her first serve and taking Swiatek’s second serve apart. She was all-out attack on her groundstrokes and gave the Pole no time to do anything, relentlessly getting the first big blow in on the points. It was disappointing from Swiatek but I think the last couple of matches firmly caught up with her, I also have to say I think the scoreline may have been closer but the result would have been the same even if she was fresh. Swiatek said after that, “I think that was the fastest ball I have ever played against in a match… It seemed for her that it wasn’t even risky, because she was playing it with control. So I am impressed, and huge respect to her.” Barty has a 3-1 head-to-head over Collins including a win at Roland Garros on her way to the title in 2019 but Collins did win the last one in Adelaide last year. The Aussie is 1/5 (1.2) to land the title on home soiler with the bookies.

In other news, Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis have made the men’s doubles final and will play Matty Ebden and Max Purcell in an all Aussie final, expect things to be very loud come Saturday on the Rod Laver Arena.

Al Davies (Andy Del Potro).

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