Barty fights to title victory at Adelaide International

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA (AFP) – Ashleigh Barty won her first career title at home yesterday with a 6-2, 7-5 defeat of Ukrainian Dayana Yastremska at the ATP-WTA Adelaide International.

The world number one is assured of holding the top ranking as the Australian Open begins tomorrow in Melbourne.

Barty claimed victory after 87 minutes at Memorial Drive as Yastremska sent a return long over the baseline. She was presented the carved wood trophy by an Aboriginal elder who blessed it before it was handed over.

“It’s nice to get the ball rolling this week, I can’t wait to get starred in Melbourne next week,” the top seed said.

The last Australian woman to win a home title was Jarmila Wolfe in 2011 at Hobart.

Barty called her victory “a great start to the year”.

“I feel like we had a great tussle out there, I was finally able to bring it across the line. I’ve enjoyed the time here, I really tried to bring my best this week,” she said.

“I love playing at home in Australia. This is the payoff for the preseason work we did. It’s about coming out here and enjoying the competition.”

The men’s final features Russian third seed Andrey Rublev – title winner last weekend in Doha – facing South African qualifier Lloyd Harris.

Barty won the opening set against her 19-year-old opponent, losing just two points on serve and breaking three times.

After starting the second set with a break, the Australian momentarily lost her edge, dropping serve for two all.

Barty kept up the pressure on 24th-ranked Yastremska, earning three break points in the 11th game.

One was enough as Yastremska put a backhand wide. A game later, Barty earned three match points and took the title from a concluding error from her opponent.

Barty’s victory was her second in the series after beating the teenager on the way to the Miami title last March.

Ashleigh Barty poses with the winner’s trophy after winning the Adelaide International tennis tournament. PHOTO: AFP