By Daniel Perissé
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World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty successfully defended her title at the Miami Open presented by Itaú Women’s Singles draw as Canada’s Bianca Andreescu had to retire from the final when the Australian was up 6-3, 4-0 due to a right foot injury.
“Yeah, it’s never the way you ever want to finish a match, particularly in a final. I really do feel for Bianca. I think she’s had such a rough trot with injuries in the past. I think that’s going to be one of the first of many battles for us. I just hope from now on they are healthy, and we can both stay out on the court and fight for everything that we can give,” said the Australian, who consoled the rival at the net.
This is the sixth time a player wins back-to-back titles in Miami. With today’s result, Barty reaches a 12-match winning streak in the Magic City. The draw had 19 of the top 21 women in the world.
The Australian took the lead from the beginning, getting a break to lead 3-0. Andreescu won two games in a row, but Barty got another break in the sixth game. She held that advantage until the ninth game, when she served to clinch the first set in 36 minutes.
In the second set, the World No. 1 broke Andreescu’s serve in the first game and then confirmed. During the third game, the Canadian fell in the middle of a point after twisting her right ankle. She ended getting her serve broken and down 3-0.
After receiving medical treatment during the changeover, the Canadian decided to get back on court. But Barty confirmed her serve to open a 4-0 advantage and she retired due to her injury. When they were at the net, the Australian said that she felt for her and hoped she will get back on track.
“I really didn’t want to stop, but Abdul, my fitness trainer, he basically saved me from myself in a way, because I have been through that, just continuously pushing myself and to the point where like I’d make it worse. I knew it was the best decision. Hopefully next time I can go out there and play better tennis, and hopefully I’m healthy and I can win the next one,” said the Canadian.
For Andreescu, it was the second time playing on American soil after winning the 2019 US Open title, her first Grand Slam. During the week at Hard Rock Stadium, four out of her five matches went to three sets – including the semifinal against Greece’s Maria Sakkari, in which she was 4-2 down in the decider.
“It feels like I played three tournaments in one with all the time I had on court, which is awesome considering I haven’t been playing a lot of over the last couple of months. It’s nice to have all of this under my belt. I’m feeling confident. And I’m here for it, and I want to be here for it for a long time.”
Besides winning for the second time here, Barty also celebrates the confirmation as World No. 1 after the tournament, as rival Naomi Osaka did not reach the semifinal. This is her second title of the season, after getting the crown at the Yarra Valley Classic, in Melbourne, Australia.
“The fact now we have had a really successful couple of weeks, I felt like with each match I have been playing better and better, which is ultimately what we are after, and to be able to have the title at the end is a bonus, and to be able to defend my title the first time in my career I’ve been able to do that is really, really special too,” said the Australian about her accomplishment.
After Miami, Barty starts the clay season in Charleston and then moving to Europe, where she will play in Stuttgart, Madrid and Rome. But she will always have great memories of Miami.
“It’s a very, very special place, particularly here at Hard Rock Stadium. Obviously very good memories for me here. I love the climate here. It’s very similar to that of Brisbane, where I grew up. I feel very comfortable in this environment. Without a doubt I enjoy the conditions here. It’s a beautiful place to play tennis.”