Triumphant Barty staying focused for Open
Australia's world No.1 Ash Barty has won the Adelaide International for a second time with a straight-sets win over Kazakhstan's Elena Rybakina.
The world No.1 underlined her firming Australian Open title favouritism with an emphatic 6-3 6-2 win over 14th-ranked Elena Rybakina on Sunday. Her straight-sets victory over the Kazakh improved Barty's record against top-20 rivals to a super impressive 17-1 since the beginning of last year.
The top-seeded also beat teenage prodigy Coco Gauff, 2020 Australian Open champion Sofin Kenin and 2020 French Open winner Iga Swiatek en route to lifting the 14th trophy of her career.
The world No.1's domination of her rivals following a four-month layoff had former Wimbledon semi-finalist turned commentator Jelena Dokic declaring she'd never seen Barty bettered prepared for an Australian Open.
"It's all relative, isn't it? It depends on how many matches. It depends on match-ups," Barty said.
"I feel good leading up to an Australian Open like I have every year. Each and every preparation is unique, each and every preparation is different.
"It has absolutely no effect on the way that I prepare or the way I'm thinking leading forward just because it's a grand slam."
Without question, though, Barty will head to this week's Sydney Tennis Classic brimming with confidence ahead of the Open starting on January 17.
One of the heaviest hitters in women's tennis, Rybakina challenged Barty early, rocketing down the fastest serve of the tournament as games went with serve until 3-3. Barty found herself double break point down at 15-40 in the seventh game.
But, as she has done all tournament, the world No.1 produced her best tennis while under the gun to hold serve with an ace, an induced error and two huge cross-court forehands.
Frustrated at missing her moment, Rybakina dropped her own serve the very next game with a flurry of unforced errors as Barty forged to a 5-3 lead. Champion at Memorial Drive in 2020 also, Barty closed out the set to love after 29 minutes.
Momentum firmly on her side, Barty gained another break in the opening game of the second set as Rybakina's double-faulting proved costly. The match was all but over when Barty clinched the double break to power to a 4-0 lead, before Rybakina formally submitted after just 64 minutes.
"I felt like when my back was against the wall this week, I was able to have some real clarity with what I wanted to do and the patterns that I wanted to play," Barty said.
"That's a bonus. You can't always execute that."