Australian tennis ace Ashleigh Barty has marched into the biggest final of her career, continuing her barnstorming run at the Miami Open with a straight-sets win in a rain-delayed semi-final.
The 12th seed sealed the match with an ace, around six and a half hours after the first ball was struck, to storm past 21st seeded Anett Kontaveit 6-3 6-3.
— WTA (@WTA) March 28, 2019
Both players weathered two suspensions of play, as inclement conditions that have marred the fortnight-long tournament threatened to derail the encounter.
“It was a very long day, I know we had to wait around but it was an opportunity to drink some coffee and watch the golf so I was relaxed,” Barty said.
“When I came out I was ready for business. I didn’t start well but I was able to reset and do what I had to do.”
In a short match (77 min) that took a very long time (about 6.5 hours), Ash Barty beats Anett Kontaveit 6-3, 6-3 to reach the #MiamiOpen final, the biggest of her career.
Awaits Halep or Pliskova.
— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) March 28, 2019
It was a gritty win for Australia’s top-ranked women’s player, who fell behind a break in both sets before rallying back, serving out the match with five consecutive games.
Barty, who already sealed her maiden top 10 ranking by reaching the final four at the WTA Premier Mandatory event, will face a former world number one in the blockbuster final: Romanian Simona Halep or Czech Karolina Pliskova.
The 22-year-old swapped the tennis racquet for the cricket bat in 2015 after falling out of love with the game, before commencing her stunning comeback in 2016.
With her career-defining run, the Australian is guaranteed to feature as the world’s ninth ranked player once the new rankings are released next week.
Barty’s previous best career performances in a remarkable 2018 included hoisting the WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai, and achieving victory with US firebrand CoCo Vandeweghe in the women’s doubles at the US Open.