Barty set for Collins showdown...


Barty set for Collins showdown in Australian Open decider

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Home favourite Ashleigh Barty is one step away from a historic triumph at the Australian Open.

The tournament's top seed advanced to the decider following a straight sets victory over Madison Keys.

Barty will face another American opponent, Danielle Collins, in the final.

Collins accounted for the challenge of Iga Swiatek in two sets to progress.

It's the first time in 42 years a home player will play in the women's singles final.

If Barty was to win, she would end a wait of 44 years for an Australian winner, which stretches back to Christine O'Neil in 1978.

Dropping just four games against the unseeded Keys, Barty is likely to be a heavy favourite in the final.

She has yet to drop a set in the tournament, as she looks to build on her Wimbledon success last year.

"It’s just incredible," the 25-year-old said afterwards.

"I love coming out here and playing in Australia. I’m just happy that I get to play my best tennis here.

"Now I get the chance to play for a first title here. It’s unreal.”

"I just tried to run and make as many balls as I could, point by point and just try to do the right things every time," she said of her performance.

Collins progression represents a first-ever Grand Slam final appearance for the 27th seed.

She impressed in her defeat of Swiatek, the 2020 French Open champion, and says reaching the final is a major milestone in her career.

Collins revealed that she had struggled with health problems earlier in the year and underwent surgery last spring for endometriosis.

"It feels amazing to reach my first Grand Slam final. It has been such a journey, it doesn't happen overnight," she said after her 6-4, 6-1 win.

"Along with all the health concerns, I couldn't be happier."

The final takes place on Saturday in Melbourne.

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Ashleigh Barty Australia Australian Open Danielle Collins Melbourne Tennis

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