Ruthless Ash Barty turns focus to US Open after winning fifth title of year

Ash Barty has annexed yet another trophy on her triumphant world tour, taking the prestigious Cincinnati Open title with a ruthless 6-3, 6-1 victory over surprise Swiss finalist Jil Teichmann.

Australia’s No 1 reckons the consummate week’s work in Ohio, which culminated in her fifth title of 2021, now puts her in “really good stead” for the US Open, the next target in her all-conquering season

The Wimbledon champion, who did not drop a set all week, again looked in a different class to her game opponent on Sunday, winning the final at a canter to take the 13th title of her career in just 72 minutes.

“It’s been an awesome week,” Barty declared, as usual reaching for the royal ‘we’ to make it clear it was another great team effort. “I felt like with each match we’re getting progressively better and better in most parts of my game.

“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, was the lowest-ranked Cincinnati finalist for 13 years and looking to continue a giant-killing week which had already seen her beat Olympic champion Belinda Bencic, world No 2 Naomi Osaka and Wimbledon finalist Karolina Pliskova.

The athletic left-hander reckoned she would “go for it” against Barty but found the Queenslander a quite different proposition as the Australian won 85% of the points behind her devastating, accurately-placed first serve while having her own delivery broken on five occasions.

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 with a surgeon’s precision after the shared first six games suggested it might be a trying afternoon in the heat.

Yet Teichmann, looking increasingly out of ideas, also needed a medical timeout for treatment to blisters on her right foot while 3-0 down in the second set, an interruption that 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 Australian’s delivery. Yet the reprieve was short-lived as a Teichmann forehand, clouted wide, gave 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 coming from Aryna Sabalenka in Madrid while she’s lifted titles in Melbourne, Miami, Stuttgart, Wimbledon and now Cincinnati.

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.”

Barty, whose only worry about Flushing Meadows is actually getting there with a storm forecast for the New York area, will enter her 83rd straight week as world No 1 with her advantage over the No 2 Sabalenka now stretched to a remarkable 3,175 points.

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