Ashleigh Barty and Simona Halep are both in championship form ahead of the Australian Open after winning warm-up tournaments Down Under.
The top-ranked Barty tuned up for her home major by capturing the Adelaide International title on Sunday, defeating Elena Rybakina in straight sets.
And Halep showed she’s returning to her best after an injury-riddled season by cruising past Veronika Kudermetova in the Melbourne Summer Set 1 final.
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Both women are looking to win the Australian Open for the first time and will be counted among the favourites based on the last week’s performances.
"We've obviously had a brilliant week, been able to work progressively through each match," Barty said after a 6-3, 6-2 win that lasted just 64 minutes. "I got better and better.”
Barty was playing her first tournament since the U.S. Open last year and gradually improved as the week progressed. After coming from a set and break down to beat Coco Gauff in the second round, Barty never lost her serve again in the next three matches.
"I probably felt like overall this week my serve has been a real weapon," Barty said. "To go a few matches unbroken is really good. … I feel good leading up to an Australian Open like I have every year."
Halep failed to win a WTA title in 2021 as she struggled with calf and knee injuries, ending a streak of winning at least one tournament every year since 2013.
The Romanian, who has fallen to No. 20 in the rankings, only needed one attempt to get her first title of 2022.
And, more importantly, she’s feeling fully fit again.
"The body is great, I feel good," Halep said after beating 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.”
Halep saved three break points to avoid going down 3-0 in the second set and then won five of the last six games.
"I'm not that scared when I lose serve because I lose often the serve, but I am confident in my return,” she said.
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