Ash Barty has annexed yet another trophy on her triumphant world tour, securing the prestigious WTA 1000 event in Cincinnati with a ruthless victory over surprise Swiss finalist Jil Teichmann.
Australia’s No.1 reckons the consummate week’s work in Ohio, which culminated in a 6-3 6-1 demolition for her fifth title of 2021, now puts her in “really good stead” for the US Open, the next target in her dominant season.
The Wimbledon champion, who didn’t drop a set all week in Cincinnati, again looked in a different class to her game opponent Teichmann, winning the final in just 72 minutes for the 13th title of her career.
“It’s been an awesome week. I felt like with each match we’re getting progressively better and better in most parts of my game,” Barty said, as usual referring to her success as ‘we’ to make it clear it was another team effort.
“Today, I feel like I was able to really trust myself and play with confidence, get after the ball, be aggressive and get a bit of a run on, which was going to be important in a big final.
“We’re just excited we’ve got matches under our belt in tough conditions here in Cincy – and that’s put us in really good stead going into New York.”
Teichmann, at No.76 the lowest-ranked Cincinnati finalist for 13 years, had defeated Olympic champion Belinda Bencic, Naomi Osaka and Wimbledon finalist Karolina Pliskova this week.
The athletic left-hander reckoned she would “go for it” against Barty but found the Queenslander a quite different proposition.
The Aussie won 85 per cent of the points behind her devastating, accurately-placed first serve while breaking Teichmann five times.
Barty, with the help of eight aces – which took her tally for the week to a tournament-leading 42 – reeled off eight games in a row from 3-3 to take control.
Teichmann, appearing increasingly out of ideas, needed a medical timeout for treatment to blisters on her right foot while 3-0 down in the second set. But the interruption only delayed the inevitable.
Barty, serving for the match at 5-0, did suffer a blip as Teichmann earned her first break points and cracked the Aussie’s delivery.
Yet the reprieve was short-lived as a Teichmann forehand went wide to give Barty the first singles triumph by an Australian woman at Cincinnati since Evonne Goolagong in 1973.
It was Barty’s 40th match win of the year, another tour-leading figure, and took her record in finals this year to 5-1 – the only defeat to Aryna Sabalenka in Madrid.
Barty’s lifted titles in Melbourne, Miami, Stuttgart, Wimbledon and now Cincinnati this year.
Teichmann could only shrug that she’d been beaten by “a really, really complete player… serves good, very big forehand, her slice, makes you change the rhythm.
“Yeah, I mean, just really complete. She’s an exceptional No.1.”
She’s not wrong.
Barty, whose only worry about Flushing Meadows is actually getting there with a severe storm forecast for the New York area, will enter her 83rd straight week as world No.1 with her advantage over new world N.2 Sabalenka now stretched to a remarkable 3,175 points.
The figures don’t lie; Australia’s finest inhabits a league of her own.