Australia’s Ash Barty won her biggest tennis title yet by beating Karolina Pliskova in the final of the 2019 WTA Miami Open on Saturday.
Barty needed just two sets to overcome the much-fancied Pliskova and lift the Miami Open title having never done that before in her career. Tipped to be among those who could go on to win a Grand Slam title soon, Barty won 7-6, 6-3 to ensure there would be no repeat of the last time she had made it to a Premier Mandatory final.
Then, in Wuhan, she had fought back to tie the match at one set apiece only to lose it in the third to Caroline Garcia.
And this title win comes on the back of a WTA Elite trophy that Barty had clinched last year by beating Wang Qiang in the final.
In reaching the final, Barty defeated Dayana Yastremska in her second round encounter in straight sets, crushed fellow Aussie Samantha Stosur in the third, overcame a first set against Kiki Bertens in the fourth, edged out third seeded Petra Kvitova in the quarter-finals before racing past Anett Kontaveit in straight sets in the semi-final to make it this far.
Her opponent, Pliskova, the most consistent player on tour this year, was lucky not to have faced a seeded player till the semi-final. However, when she did, it was the second seeded Simona Halep and she was a clinical winner 7-5, 6-1 to start off as a favourite in the final.
And when she took a 3-1 lead in the first set, things looked to be going to the script. Barty broke back to the take the match to the tie-breaker and then proceeded to win it to one to take the lead. In the second set, it was a lot easier for Barty who went on to win her first WTA title of the year as well.
What this means is that 14 WTA tournaments into the season, no woman has won a title more than once. Pliskova looked to have missed a golden chance to do so.
This win also ensures that Barty will begin the next week with her first ever time in her career, having begun this tournament ranked 11th in the world.