By Daniel Perissé
World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty is the first player to have clinched a spot in the 2021 Miami Open presented by Itaú Women’s Singles semifinals, after defeating today Aryna Sabalenka 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-3 on Grandstand.
The Australian was able to get a key break on Sabalenka’s serve in the ninth game, after the Belarusian had 40-15. After that, she served to win the first set.
In the second set, Sabalenka had three break points in the ninth game, but Barty held her serve. The set ended on a tie-break and the player from Belarus had a better performance, levelling the match.
The World No. 1 took advantage of her rival’s many mistakes due to the South Florida heat in the eighth game, when she was able to break and then serve to clinch the result.
“I mean, we all prepare in a way, we are all I feel like in pretty good nick to be able to come out here and play. I think it just comes down to a few points here and there. I think that’s all that match was today. I don’t save a break point in the first set, it probably goes the other way, and there are very, very fine margins in that match today”, said the Australian.
Barty now faces Ukrainian Elina Svitolina, who defeated Latvia’s Anastasija Sevastova 6-3, 6-2 in the opening night session match on Grandstand.
The fifth seed had 19 winners and 4 aces, clinching the result in one hour and 10 minutes.
“Well, I played her many times actually, even when she just was starting to play well. Now, you know, she’s No. 1. She improved a lot for the past three, four years. She’s been playing at an extremely high level. So I’ll have to bring my best game”, explained the Ukrainian about her match against Barty.