Australian Open: Ashleigh Barty identifies 'real weapon' as she wins warm-up tournament

Ashleigh Barty has started her preparations for the Australian Open in the best possible way, triumphing at the Adelaide International

Ashleigh Barty has started her preparations for the Australian Open in the best possible way, triumphing at the Adelaide International.

The world number one eased past Elena Rybakina to win the WTA 500 event, defeating the star from Kazakhstan 6-3, 6-2.

She then won the doubles tournament, teaming up with fellow Australian Storm Sanders to overcome Ukraine’s Nadiia Kichenok and India’s Sania Mirza 6-1, 2-6, 10-8.

Barty will be pleased with how the start of her 2022 has gone, although she claimed her recent success will not change how she goes into the upcoming Australian Open.

The 25-year-old is yet to win a title at the Grand Slam, which is scheduled to start on January 17th.

“I feel good leading up to an Australian Open like I have every year,” Barty said. “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.

“It has absolutely no effect on the way that I prepare or the way I’m thinking leading forward just because it’s a Grand Slam. Doesn’t change for us. We look forward, we do what we can, then we see how we go.”

Ashleigh Barty also won the doubles tournament at the Adelaide International

Barty also revealed which aspect of her playing style was a “real weapon”.

“I probably felt like overall this week my serve has been a real weapon,” she said.

“I felt like I struggled with rhythm early on in the week and I’ve been able to progressively get better and better. To go a few matches unbroken is really good.”

Simona Halep is another player to enjoy a successful start to 2022, having recovered from a calf injury which kept her out of Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

As a result, the 30-year-old finished 2021 as the world number 20, the first time since 2014 she did not end a year inside the top five.

Simona Halep won the Melbourne Summer Set

Halep has revealed she is aiming to re-establish herself in the top 10 this year, and she started her campaign by winning one of the WTA 250 events at the Melbourne Summer Set.

“The body is great, I feel good,” Halep said after beating Veronika Kudermetova 6-2, 6-3. “I had a tough five matches, and my body is good.

“I don’t feel that tired. Physically I’m in the right place. Confidence is growing. I feel confident. I feel that I have the game to win matches.”

Naomi Osaka is the only one of last year’s Australian Open semi-finalists to enter the 2022 draw – Serena Williams, Jennifer Brady and Karolína Muchová have all withdrawn with injury.

The field is still stacked with talent, however, and Barty will be considered the player to beat.

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