Barty wins back-to-back Miami Open titles

  • Matt Trollope

Ash Barty overcame an injured Bianca Andreescu on Saturday to capture her second consecutive title at the Miami Open.

The world No.1 was leading Andreescu 6-3 4-0 when the Canadian was forced to retire due to an ankle injury.

The injury-riddled Andreescu, playing in her first final since winning the 2019 US Open after missing the entire 2020 season, rolled her ankle in the third game of the second set and required a medical timeout when trailing 3-0.

She played one more game, but broke down in tears as she made the decision she could not continue.

“It's never the way you ever want to finish a match, particularly in a final,” said Barty, who improved to an impressive 14-2 in 2021. 

“I really do feel for Bianca. I think she's had such a rough trot with injuries in the past.

Bianca Andreescu was overcome with emotion as she realised she could not continue in the Miami Open final due to an ankle injury. (Getty Images)

“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.”

Andreescu’s injury took nothing away from the impressive play of Barty, who was controlling the match up until that unfortunate point.

In the highly-anticipated first meeting between the pair, Barty’s mixture of spins, angles and trajectories flummoxed a player also known for her creativity. 

"I have watched her play on TV many times. Playing against her is something completely different. She hits a good ball. She doesn't play like a lot of the players on tour. She likes to mix it up, like me. That's not fun to play against,” Andreescu smiled.

“I guess I'm getting a little taste of my own medicine."

Barty’s victory capped a dream fortnight for the Australian, who saved a match point in her opening-round encounter against Kristina Kucova.

She then beat three Grand Slam champions (Jelena Ostapenko, Victoria Azarenka and Andreescu) as well as two more top-10 players (Aryna Sabalenka and Elina Svitolina) en route to the title, the 10th of her career.

Now with a winning streak of 12 matches at the tournament, she joined an illustrious list of back-to-back Miami Open champions also including Steffi Graf, Monica Seles, Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, and Venus and Serena Williams. 

“I feel like I haven't earned the right to be in a list of names with those champions. They are genuine champions of our sport, legends of our sport,” Barty said. 

“I feel very privileged to be mentioned in that sentence, and it's very cool and something I was unaware of.

“I think it's extremely humbling to be mentioned in the same sentence as those champions, but I feel like I've got a long, long way to go yet before I can be in discussion with those names.”

Barty also remains at world No.1 – a position she has held every week since September 2019 – after a challenge from second-ranked Naomi Osaka, who ultimately fell in the quarterfinals.

She next heads to the WTA 500 clay-court event in Charleston, where she is the top seed, before turning her attention to red clay events in Stuttgart, Madrid and Rome in the lead-up to Roland Garros. 

“I felt like with each match I have been playing better and better, which is ultimately what we are after,” Barty reflected.

“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.”