Ash Barty has claimed her second Adelaide International title in three years to complete a perfect start to her 2022 season.
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 home hope also beat teenage prodigy Coco Gauff, 2020 Australian Open champion Sofin Kenin and 2020 French Open winner Iga Swiatek en route to lifting a 14th trophy of her career.
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 crosscourt 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.
Wimbledon champion Barty has the chance to complete a tournament double when she teams with fellow Australian Storm Sanders in Sunday night’s doubles final against Darija Jurak Schreiber and Andreja Klepac.