Collins left in awe of Barty’s ‘variety’

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Smiling through the bitter disappointment of having Ash Barty crush her Australian Open title dream, Danielle Collins couldn’t help but admire and contemplate how to emulate the brilliant world No.1.

The world No.30 will rocket into the top 10 for the first time in her career after a stand-out Melbourne Park campaign, where she made a debut grand slam final appearance,

It was news she met with a weary smile after her 6-3 7-6 (7-2) defeat in Saturday night’s final, when Barty fought back from 5-1 down in the second set to prevail.

“I owe a big congratulations to Ash on a phenomenal two weeks here and really a phenomenal couple of years,” Collins said.

“It’s been tremendous to watch her climb the rankings all the way up to No.1 and live out her dream.

“I really admire you as the player that you are and the variety of your game and hopefully I can implement some of that into mine.”

The American was left to rue what might have been after snaring a double-break and her 5-1 lead second-set lead, driving Barty into a corner with a sublime run of aggressive play.

On another day, against another opponent, the fired-up Collins would have won.

But Barty weathered the Collins storm and struck back, reeling off five of the next six games and thundering through the tiebreak to snare a once-unlikely straight-sets win.

The despair of defeat brings to an end an otherwise magical two weeks for the 28-year-old.

Collins reminisced fondly on morning trips to a Richmond cafe throughout her journey to the decider, which included beating Iga Swiatek in the semi-final and fighting back from a set down against both Elise Mertens and Clara Tauson.

Collins has previously spoken about the setbacks to her career through endometriosis – which included emergency surgery last April to have a cyst the size of a tennis ball removed – and lauded the medicos and physios at Melbourne Park.

“I am honestly just lucky to be out here competing and to have gotten this far has been incredible,” she said.

“With some of the adversity I have faced physically earlier in the tournament, I would not be able to do what I did today or the rest of the tournament without the medical staff and the dedicated physios who have worked around the clock, been here every single day for all of us.”

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