Ash Barty claims maiden grand slam title with doubles victory

  • Australian pairs with CoCo Vandeweghe for win
  • ‘We’ve done a hell of a lot of work,’ says Barty

Ashleigh Barty will be hoping Sam Stosur’s wise words of wisdom ring true. The US Open champion of 2011 suggested success in doubles could only help her career moving forward. It worked for Stosur, so why not for her fellow Queenslander?

Phase one of a push for major tennis honours was completed here, a women’s doubles win for a first grand slam title which will go some way to banishing the upset for Barty of losing her last four major finals with Casey Dellacqua.

The time away from tennis four years ago when she swapped a racket for a cricket bat isn’t her favourite subject these days yet the break, the time to regroup and go once again, has clearly worked.

“That was a long time ago now but there are certain aspects of it that helped me to get to where I am now,” said a delighted Barty who, together with American CoCo Vandeweghe, beat Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic 3-6, 7-6, 7-6.

“But we’ve done a hell of a lot of work in the last 18 months and two years to get to this point. I needed to have that break. But, you know, in the same breath, we’ve done everything kind of the way that we’ve wanted to. Now we get the reward.”

Indeed they do. The exact rewards for the 13th seeds impressively beating the No 3-ranked duo are a shiny trophy and $700,000. They battled terrifically hard for it too. Three championship points were saved in an entertaining clash that lasted two hours and 32 minutes and the wild celebrations at the denouement spoke volumes.

Barty, who was also won the US Open women’s sportsmanship award during this fortnight, would have loved to scored a victory in one of those finals with Dellacqua before she retired. That wasn’t meant to be.

Vandeweghe, however, has instilled a spirit which has finally forced the Australian gloriously over the line. “I told Ash, ‘Listen, there’s no one I’d rather be out here than with you right now. I believe in you. We’re going to get this done’,” Vandeweghe said.

With Pat Cash coaching the American, there was undoubtedly an Australian feel to the team, which was playing in a first slam together having paired earlier in the year in Indian Wells and, successfully so, in Miami.

Singles remains the priority. When the new rankings are released on Monday she will proudly sit at a career high of 15 having reached the fourth round here – a career best in slams – before losing to former Flushing Meadows finalist Karolina Pliskova and now with added impetus in doubles, the future looks extremely bright.

Losing to world No 1 Simona Halep following encouraging runs in both Montreal and Cincinnati before arriving in New York showed signs of her intent. Winning the doubles simply reinforced that – even if the delighted pair were unable to savour their triumph.

Their lengthy final held up the men’s showcase between Juan Martín del Potro and Novak Djokovic. Barty and Vandeweghe were ushered away with no formal award ceremony to be seen.

“I don’t think they would have worried if they were 10 or 15 minutes delayed,” said Barty, who had to make do with a brief trophy presentation. “I think it would have been nice for us to be able to thank our teams and all the people that make it a possibility, and to thank the crowd, as well. They were absolutely phenomenal; they really were. They were a little bit confused as to why we weren’t given the opportunity.

“But this last fortnight has been really fun – on and off the court.”

Vandeweghe, however, wanted to soak it all up. “I’m bummed there was no ceremony,” she said. “I think it was poor form.”

On this evidence, there will be other opportunities.

Contributor

Steve Brenner at Flushing Meadows

The GuardianTramp

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