A large contingent of Australian fans packed the stands at Rod Laver Arena on Saturday hoping to witness history. Ashleigh Barty ensured that her supporters wouldn't go home disappointed.
Barty became the first Australian woman to win a singles title at the Australian Open in 44 years when she defeated Danielle Collins in straight sets in the final.
It was the first time that Barty had reached the Australian Open final, and she came away with her third career Grand Slam title. Having won the French Open in 2019 and Wimbledon in 2021, the 25-year-old only needs to win at the U.S. Open to complete a career Grand Slam.
Here's a look back at how the final four rounds of this year's Australian Open women's singles tournament unfolded, along with the prize money breakdown.
Australian Open Women's Bracket: Round of 16 Through Final
Round of 16
No. 1 Ashleigh Barty def. Amanda Anisimova 6-4, 6-3
No. 21 Jessica Pegula def. No. 5 Maria Sakkari 7-6 (0), 6-3
No. 4 Barbora Krejcikova def. No. 24 Victoria Azarenka 6-2, 6-2
Madison Keys def. No. 8 Paula Badosa 6-3, 6-1
No. 27 Danielle Collins def. No. 19 Elise Mertens 4-6, 6-4, 6-4
Alize Cornet def. No. 14 Simona Halep 6-4, 3-6, 6-4
No. 7 Iga Swiatek def. Sorana Cirstea 5-7, 6-3, 6-3
Kaia Kanepi def. No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka 5-7, 6-2, 7-6 (7)
No. 1 Ashleigh Barty def. No. 21 Jessica Pegula 6-2, 6-0
Madison Keys def. No. 4 Barbora Krejcikova 6-3, 6-2
No. 27 Danielle Collins def. Alize Cornet 7-5, 6-1
No. 7 Iga Swiatek def. Kaia Kanepi 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-3
No. 1 Ashleigh Barty def. Madison Keys 6-1, 6-3
No. 27 Danielle Collins def. No. 7 Iga Swiatek 6-4, 6-1
No. 1 Ashleigh Barty def. No. 27 Danielle Collins 6-3, 7-6 (2)
No. 1 Ashleigh Barty (winner): $2.875 million
No. 27 Danielle Collins (runner-up): $1.575 million
Madison Keys and No. 7 Iga Swiatek (semifinalists): $895,000
No. 21 Jessica Pegula, No. 4 Barbora Krejcikova, Alize Cornet and Kaia Kanepi (quarterfinalists): $538,500
Fourth-round finishers: $328,000
Third-round finishers: $221,000
Second-round finishers: $154,000
First-round finishers: $103,000
Women's Final Recap
Over her seven victories on her path to the Australian Open title, Barty never dropped a set. But at one point Saturday, it seemed like a sure thing that she was going to a third set.
Barty never allowed any of her opponents to take more than four games in a set through her first six wins, and that was again the case in her opening set against Collins. Barty notched a 6-3 victory to take a 1-0 lead and was seemingly on her way to another dominant victory.
But Collins showed her resiliency and edged close to evening the match at one set apiece. The 28-year-old American took a 5-1 lead in the second set. And even after Barty fought back to make it 5-4, Collins had an opportunity to serve for the set.
However, Barty kept the momentum on her side, forcing a tiebreaker that she went on to dominate. With that, she finally got to celebrate in front of her home fans in her ninth career appearance at the Australian Open.
"It was a little bit surreal," Barty said, per John Pye of the Associated Press. "I didn't quite know what to do or what to feel—just being able to let out a little bit of emotion, which is a little bit unusual for me, and being able to celebrate with everyone who was there in the crowd, the energy was incredible."
Collins also had a strong run to the Australian Open final. She faced more adversity than Barty, as she twice needed three sets to pull out victories. The American notched her most impressive win in the semifinals, when she defeated No. 7-seeded Iga Swiatek 6-4, 6-1.
It was the first time in Collins' career that she reached the final at a Grand Slam event, as her previous best showing had been when she lost in the semifinals of the 2019 Australian Open. That was the only time she had made it past the quarterfinals at a major tournament before this year.
However, Collins couldn't pull off the upset against Barty, who was the favorite to win the title from the start.
"This is just a dream come true for me," Barty said, per Pye. "I'm just so proud to be an Aussie."
While it may have been Barty's first Australian Open title, it may not be the last. She had reached at least the quarterfinals in her three previous appearances at the tournament, and she's now won two of her past three Grand Slam events.
Barty is the women's world No. 1 for a reason, and she has set herself up to go on a historic run in 2022.