Even for the World number one Ash Barty there were some question marks coming into her first tournament of the year having not been seen on the tour since the US Open in September.
Ash opted to end her season early and begin that time to isolate before travelling back home to be with her family.
Adelaide offered a tough draw and also a big question, will it be the fifth consecutive year she has made a final on home soil and the third she has won a title? She certainly ticked those boxes.
Throughout her week in Adelaide I have described her tennis as poetic, she has had a tough draw but has come through it with such control and composure you can sit and admire. The route to her 14th career singles title was:
R1 – Bye
R2 – 4-6 7-5 6-1 vs Coco Gauff
QF – 6-3 6-4 vs Sofia Kenin
SF – 6-2 6-4 vs Iga Swiatek
F – 6-3 6-2 vs Elena Rybakina
Eight sets won in a row since she dropped her opener to Coco Gauff, two Grand Slam champions defeated and Gauff and Rybakina are very very good players. I think Ash will and should come away from her week in Adelaide with a lot of confidence, she has been sensational.
Performances against Swiatek and Rybakina impressed me the most, as the week went on she got better and better. She looks stronger, her forehand was a mixture of flat and topspin and that backhand slice caused havoc for players, it gives you nothing to work with all you can do is hit the ball but without a plan/purpose. I would not want to play Ash Barty right now.
Ash is down to head to Sydney next week where 6 other members of the top 10 are looking to get some late wins under their belts before the Australian Open and will be tough to stop or should she not go following a successful week.