Barty downs Gavrilova to reach final By


Buoyed by her charge to the Sydney International final, Barty believes she can cause some serious damage after reeling off four-straight wins before falling to revitalised 2016 Open champion Anqelique Kerber on Saturday night.

Her Sydney campaign is strong preparation for next week's Australian Open in Melbourne, where she opens against world number 69 Aryna Sabalenka.

For Australian Barty, who missed out on her first title at home, the final defeat was tough to swallow, but gives her much confidence for her own grand slam tilt next week.

Barty was gracious in defeat during the presentation ceremony, saying: "It's wonderful to see Angie back playing at her best. It's nice to be able to get a lot of matches here and be rewarded with the final".

"It was a hell of a week, ideal preparation for next week", Barty said.

"Still, I'm just trying to focus on every match, trying to learn from every single match", Kerber said.

"Ash is a great player, she played unbelievable previous year", Kerber said.

"I certainly shot myself in the foot with my serve today", she said.

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"It's just the beginning of the year, so it's tough to say. It's a five-set match, so I just need to do my best at recovery to be good on Tuesday". She always made time for me. Doesn't matter what's happened. I know what to expect.

"I felt like it was a pretty good level, to be honest". "It feels very good to win my first title in my first tournament this year".

Ash Barty in action during the final.

Kerber had a breakout season in 2016, beating Serena Williams in the final to claim her first major title at the Australian Open and going on to reach the Wimbledon final and win the U.S. Open.

Barty looked down and out after Daria Gavrilova took the first set 6-3 comfortably, but rebounded to win the next two 6-4 6-2.

The second began with Barty breaking Kerber immediately, but the German countered by winning against Barty's serve in the next game.

Now, the German tennis star kicks off her 2018 WTA Tour with a title win at the Sydney International.

Barty insists she's not feeling any pressure to deliver despite carrying the hopes of success-starved fans desperate to see a first home-grown women's Open champion since Chris O'Neill 40 years ago.