4 min read
The Australian Open women's final will pit home hero Ashleigh Barty (13.40) against American Danielle Collins (13.00). Both are looking to win their first title in Melbourne Park. Collins, a semifinalist in Melbourne in 2019, will be contesting her first major final while Barty has won two already (Wimbledon in 2021 and Roland Garros in 2019).
Meanwhile, the men's final is set between Rafel Nadal (16.17) and Daniil Medvedev (16.21). Both Universal Tennis INSIGHTS favorites advanced in four sets, with Nadal easing past Matteo Berrettini and Medvedev stopping Stefanos Tsitsipas.
It's time to break down the women's final with the help of INSIGHTS.
Aussie Hero Favored to Win
Barty is the first Australian woman to reach the final in Melbourne since Wendy Turnbull did it 42 years ago in 1980.
"It’s unreal. It's just incredible," Barty said on court. "I love this tournament and love competing out here and playing in Australia. As an Aussie, we are exceptionally spoilt that we're a Grand Slam nation, we get to play at home and in our backyard.
"I'm just happy that I get to play my best tennis here. I enjoy it, I've done well before and now we have a chance to play for a title."
If the 25-year-old can win the trophy, she'd be the first Australian champion Down Under since Chris O'Neil in 1978. According to INSIGHTS, Barty should get the win as her odds are 72%. Barty leads their career head-to-head record 3-1 with their only recent meeting going Collins' way in Adelaide over a year ago.
Looking at the INSIGHTS head-to-head tool, Barty has the higher overall UTR Rating (13.40) and three-month trending UTR Rating (up at 13.46) and her win-loss record over the last 15 months is impressive at 52-8. The world No. 1 won five WTA titles, including Wimbledon, and started 2022 with a title in Adelaide. She's riding a 10-match win streak, and has lost just 21 games this fortnight and zero sets.
Her semifinal was another dominant performance as she beat Madison Keys 6-1, 6-3 in 62 minutes. Her average time on court per match has been 61 minutes.
Made Down Under ™️— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 27, 2022
🇦🇺 @ashbarty defeats Madison Keys 6-1 6-3 to become the first home representative to reach the #AusOpen women's singles final since 1980.
🎥: @wwos • @espn • @eurosport • @wowowtennis #AO2022 pic.twitter.com/C7NtLJySmp
Collins Ready to Put Up a Fight
Collins' performance in the semifinals was similarly strong as she upset No. 7 seed Iga Swiatek 6-4, 6-1. Going into the Slam, the 28-year-old was one of 13 players to have a 6% or greater chance of reaching the final. Barty has been the INSIGHTS favorite to win all tournament long.
Collins has had to fight back from a set down on two occasions, against No. 19 seed Elise Mertens and young Dane Clara Tauson. She will need to start hot right out of the gates if she wants to challenge Barty.
Less than a year ago, Collins was undergoing emergency surgery for endometriosis. Now she's one win away from being a Grand Slam champion.
Her best major performance has been in Melbourne when she made her breakthrough run in 2019, but she also reached the Roland Garros quarterfinals in 2020. While this will mark her biggest career opportunity, she is 2-0 in WTA finals (both in 2021) and also won her only WTA 125K final in 2019, meaning she tends to rise to big occasions.
The championship match will take place on Saturday in Melbourne, so overnight on Friday in the United States.
Doubles Takes Center Stage
The second-to-last day of the Australian Open will also feature an exciting men's doubles final. Four Australians will take to the court with Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkankis taking on Matthew Ebden and Max Purcell.
Kyrgios and Kokkankis have lit up the fortnight with their entertaining, explosive doubles (actually rubbing some opponents the wrong way). The celebrations have been energetic and emotional, to say the least.
They're seeking their first Grand Slam title as are Ebden and Purcell. Purcell is the only player who has played a major final before, having lost in the 2020 Australian Open final (with Luke Saville).
•UTR Ratings and INSIGHTS probabilities as of 9 a.m. EST, Jan. 28, 2022.