Ash Barty showed little signs of rust. Player her first event in almost a year, the world No. 1 won the Yarra Valley Classic title Sunday in Melbourne downing a red-hot Garbine Muguruza 7-6(3), 6-4.
“It was some of the better tennis I played throughout the whole week,” Barty said. “Garbine forced me to play at that level. It was a great final.
“Today I had to try and neutralize as best I can, then get on the front foot as soon as I could,” she added. “It’s not always just about the tennis sometimes, it’s about how you can control the court.
“I felt like I moved great today and was able to squeeze the court a lot of the times, make Garbine press a little bit, which was an important part of the match.”
It was Barty’s ninth career WTA title as she now goes into the Australian Open full of momentum and confidence.
“For me, I go into this Australian Open excited, well-prepared, ready to play,” Barty said. “Then we just see what happens come that first match. We focus on that first match, try to do the best that we can, then we go from there.”
Muguruza entered the final on a torrid run dropping just 10 games in four matches. But the 2020 Australian finalist fell to 1-3 against Barty.
“It was a very, very good week, good performances, good matches,” Muguruza said. “I normally don’t play the week before, but I’m taking a lot of positive from this week because a final of course is a final.
“I think today also was a very good match. I think I had probably the final to play, the toughest final, against Ash. I think she played great. I think we both did a good match. Very close in the first set, also in the second set.”
In the Gippsland Trophy final, Elise Mertens won her sixth WTA title defeating Kaia Kanepi 6-4, 6-1.
“The first tournament I played this year, so I’m very happy about the result, the way I played,” Mertens said.
The Grampians Trophy didn’t hold a final but did have two semifinal winners at Anett Kontaveit beat Maria Sakkari and first-time finalist Ann Li stunned Jen Brady.
Yeah, taking a good positive out of it.
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