Being able to experience it [pressure] multiple times has been incredible, but Saturday’s going to be a new experience for me. So I go out there and embrace it, smile, try and do the best that I can and whatever happens, happens. –Home town favourite, Ashleigh Barty
Barty should come through
By Roger Childs
After two weeks of highly competitive, exciting and sometimes controversial tennis it comes down to top two in the women’s and men’s singles.
Number one seed Australian Ash Barty has been untroubled in winning her matches in the previous six rounds without losing a set, much to the delight of the partisan Melbourne crowd. She is the top seed and the odds-on favourite to take out the women’s singles title which no Australian has won in over forty years.
Her opponent, 28 year old American Danielle Collins is a surprise finalist. She has nevertheless earned her place after two close three setters in rounds three and four. In the semi-finals she swept away Pole seventh seed Iga Świątek 6-4 6-1. Collins has powerful ground strokes and is able to place her shots to stretch her opponents . However in Barty she is up against a very consistent player who has a reliable serve, a high level on fitness and impressive forehand, backhand and volleying skills.
Barty should give the supportive crowd the result they want.
Nadal is the on the brink of tennis history
The popular, modest Spaniard will pick up a record-breaking 21st grand slam if he wins on Sunday night. Currently he is in the 20 group with Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, so he will not be lacking in motivation in the men’s final. He has always played with great commitment and determination, and has strong ground strokes which he invariably places deep and wide. Nadal does not have a 200km + serve of the younger male players but it is reliable and hard to read, and although he does not often come to the net, his volleying skills are impressive.
His opponent Daniil Medvedev is much younger and has one of the quickest serves in the game. He won the last grand slam in New York and has been untroubled to qualify for the final in Melbourne. Very quick around the court the Russian is one of the great retrievers and his ground strokes, overhead and volleying are strong.
Rafael Nadal is the sentimental favourite, but with the advantage of a much stronger serve and youth on his side, Medvedev is my pick to win on Sunday evening.