London: World number one Ash Barty was in imperious form on Sunday as the Australian handed Elena Rybakina a 6-3 6-2 defeat at Memorial Drive to win the Adelaide International and claim the 14th WTA title of her career.
Barty, who won the event in 2020, dominated against the 22-year-old seventh seed from Kazakhstan to win in just over an hour, as she hits form a little more than a week ahead of the start of the Australian Open in Melbourne.
“The work that I do with my team behind the scenes puts me in the best possible position to play good tennis time, and time again each and every time we’re asked,” Barty told reporters.
“I certainly feel pretty good coming into the summer.”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. “So we take it for what comes and what it is, move on, try and do the best that we can in every opportunity, whether that’s here in Adelaide or it’s in Melbourne.”
The 25-year-old took command midway through the opening set after being forced to save two break points in the seventh game, fighting back to win despite a double fault. The home favourite capitalised on an error by her opponent after she put what should have been a straightforward winner into the net and Barty then hit an ace to hold.
When the failure to convert that opening rattled Rybakina, the Wimbledon champion ruthlessly took advantage to put herself in a match-winning position. Barty carved out a break point opportunity of her own in the next game that she immediately converted. From there the Australian took command. Rybakina’s difficulties grew early in the second set, a double fault handing Barty another break in the opening game.
Barty, who has not dropped serve since doing so against Coco Gauff in the tournament’s opening round, chalked up seven straight games with another break, to take a 4-0 lead before closing out a comfortable win.MONFILS TRIUMPHS In the men’s Adelaide ATP 250 event, French top seed Gael Monfils defeated second-seeded Russian Karen Khachanov 6-4 6-4 for his 11th tour title.
Former world number six Monfils did not drop a set all week in Adelaide and the 35-year-old could not have hoped for a better buildup to the Australian Open, which starts on Jan. 17. Monfils, who was reduced to tears when he exited the Australian Open in the first round last year, was happy with his consistency in Adelaide.”I think I played very solid all these matches, was moving well,” he said, adding that the pandemic hit him “quite bad”. “For me it’s a key, always to move good, then I can be more aggressive, use more my forehand, use more my serve.”The goal is to keep all this confidence, bring into next week. Not starting tomorrow, but next week, to be ready to try to compete for big AO.”