Melbourne, Australia — No.1 seed Ashleigh Barty became the first home player to reach the Australian Open women’s final in 42 years with a 6-1, 6-3 victory over unseeded Madison Keys in just 62 minutes.
Barty is the first Australian woman to reach the singles final of her home Grand Slam tournament since Wendy Turnbull, who was a runner-up to Hana Mandlikova in 1980. No Australian has won the title since Chris O’Neil in 1978.
That is the fewest games lost en route to a Grand Slam title match since Serena Williams conceded 16 on the way to the 2013 US Open final and the joint-fourth lowest number this century (behind Serena’s 19 at the 2012 US Open and Venus Williams’ 20 at Wimbledon 2009 and the same as Serena’s 21 at Roland Garros 2013).
“It’s tough,” she said afterwards. “It sucks. She’s just playing incredibly well. I mean, you have a game plan in your head, but she’s just 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 there. I think she’s playing some really, really good tennis, but she’s also, it just seems so locked in and focused. I have played her a handful of times, and this is easily the best I think she’s ever been playing.” Madison Keys said after the match.
By the numbers: It was a fifth near-flawless performance from Barty at Melbourne Park this fortnight. Every facet of her game was on point. She fired off the first 10 points on her serve, landed 61% of her first serves and won 86% of those points. She saved both break points against her, one with an ace and another with an overhead. She racked up 20 winners to 13 unforced errors.