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Barty sets sights on Sydney after Adelaide victory

Sport

Ash Barty is containing her excitement despite hoisting a second Adelaide International trophy in three years and completing a rare title double in a perfect start to her 2022 season.

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The world No.1 underlined her firming Australian Open title favouritism with an emphatic 6-3 6-2 win over 14th-ranked Elena Rybakina on Sunday.

Her straight-sets victory over the Kazakh improved Barty’s record against top-20 rivals to a super impressive 17-1 since the beginning of last year.

The top-seed also beat teenage prodigy Coco Gauff, 2020 Australian Open champion Sofin Kenin and 2020 French Open winner Iga Swiatek en route to lifting the 14th trophy of her career.

“It’s all relative, isn’t it? It depends on how many matches. It depends on match-ups,” Barty said.

“There are so many different variables coming into what you guys are seeing, and sometimes what you see is completely different to how I feel.

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

Barty will head to this week’s Sydney Tennis Classic brimming with confidence ahead of the Open starting on January 17.

In the men’s draw at Memorial Drive, Gael Monfils returned to his long-time residence in the world’s top 20 after opening 2022 in triumphant fashion at the Adelaide International.

The veteran Frenchman outclassed Russian Karen Khachanov 6-4 6-4 in Sunday night’s final at Memorial Drive to land the 11th title of an often under-appreciated career.

The win secures an all-important top 16 seeding for Monfils in the Australian Open.

– AAP

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