Australian tennis player Ashleigh Barty, world number one, won her second consecutive Miami Open title on Saturday in a final in which Canadian Bianca Andreescu had to withdraw due to injury in the second set.
Barty had the game under control by a score of 6-3 and 4-0 when Andreescu, number nine in the world ranking, left the game with a right leg injury.
Andreescu, 20, suffered a severe fall in the third game of the second set and, after receiving medical attention on his ankle, made an attempt to continue playing.
After limping in a game, Andreescu tearfully retired in a new episode of his long misfortune with injuries, which have slowed his career in recent years.
“It was not the way I wanted to end the tournament but I am very grateful,” said a serene Andreescu at the award ceremony. “I made it to the final in one of the few tournaments I’ve played lately, I couldn’t be happier.”
After spending a blank 2020 due to injuries and restrictions due to the pandemic, Andreescu was contesting her first final since her resounding triumph at Flushing Meadows in 2019 in search of her fourth WTA title.
“For me to get back on my feet was not easy. But I believe in myself and I do not give up,” said Andreescu, who has suffered from various back, knee and ankle problems during his young career.
With his triumph in the Open, the second WTA 1000 tournament of the season, Barty adds to his 24 years the tenth trophy of his record, which includes a Grand Slam title at Roland Garros-2019.
“It’s the perfect start to what we hope will be a great year,” predicted the Australian, who had only competed in three other events this season.
With his second qualification to the Miami final after 2019 (in 2020 the tournament was canceled due to the coronavirus), Barty had already made sure to maintain the leadership of the WTA ranking, where he has been installed since June 2019.
– “We will have many more” –
Barty traveled nearly 50 hours from Australia to compete in Miami, where he had to save a match ball in his debut against Slovakian Kristina Kucova.
After the initial scare, Barty only gave up one set in their next matches to Latvian Jelena Ostapenko, former world number one Victoria Azarenka and Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina.
This Saturday, the Australian was starring in another devastating performance relying on her powerful serve, which allowed her to win 77.8% of the points with her first serve.
It was the first time that two of the best young players on the circuit faced each other, who have barely competed since the break due to the pandemic last year.
“It was a privilege to share the track with you for the first time. I’m sure we will have many more,” Barty told his rival.
The Australian started the clash with force against a rival with more hours of play on her legs after several marathon comebacks.
Taking advantage of her explosive service and volley, the Australian quickly settled the exchanges and in seven minutes she was already 3-0 ahead.
Andreescu began to find some answers after breaking the serve for the only time to the Australian with a spectacular passing and approaching 3-2.
Barty was the one who then put Andreescu’s imprecise serve to the test and broke again to distance himself to his victory in the first set.
Andreescu was confident of taking the match into the third set, a territory where he had won all of his tournament crosses except the first round.
But his serve still did not start and, after a final double fault, he again gave the lead to Barty, who led 2-0.
In the third game, at 15-15, Andreescu ran to his right to hit back and suffered a heavy fall after an apparent sprained right ankle.
The Canadian asked for care after the game, which ended with limited mobility. After the bandage on his ankle was reinforced, Andreescu played a dramatic last game between gestures of pain and frustration.
On Sunday it will be the turn of the men’s final of the Open, ATP Masters 1000, which will be played by the Polish Hubert Hurkacz (26th seed) and the Italian Jannick Sinner (23rd), just 19 years old.