Ashleigh Barty, world No. 1, is the 2021 Miami Open champion.
Barty is a smooth mover, poetry in motion, a pleasure to watch. She can loop the ball, sneak in with slice. There’s so much creative variety in her all-court game. For someone only 5’5” she has a powerful serve and places it with precision.
On Saturday, the 24-year-old Australian defended her 2019 title, making it 12 consecutive wins in Miami, after 20-year-old Canadian Bianca Andreescu, world No. 9, was forced to retire following a foot injury as Barty led 6-3, 4-0.
“I really didn’t want to stop,” Andreescu said, “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.
“Yeah, he just saved me from myself. I said, I don’t want to. But I trusted him. I knew it was the best decision.”
Andreescu is a big match player. The bigger the match, the better she plays. In 2019, she won the US Open, defeating the legendary Serena Williams in straight sets.
In this match, though, Andreescu was not showing her usual intensity. And Barty made very few errors.
Barty dominated with her serve and topspin forehand, mixing in the volley. Barty had broken twice in the first set and again in the second when Andreescu fell hard on her forehand side.
Andreescu stayed on the ground for close to twenty seconds. She was able to continue playing but asked for the trainer to come out on the next changeover.
After her right foot was taped, Andreescu’s play was clearly compromised. Barty held with an ace down the T for 4-love.
As Andreescu was about to serve, you could see she was crying and would have to retire.
“I’m definitely a type of person to wear her emotions on her sleeve,” Andreescu said in her press conference. “I’m not afraid of that. To me, it’s more of a strength because I’m being who I am. I am who I am. I’m not afraid to show that.
“I think that shows a lot of people that they can do the same, because a lot of the times people say, Oh, if you show your emotions it’s a weakness. But to me it’s not. It’s how I express myself. I’m a very expressive person. It’s helped me win. Like, that’s how I win on top of a lot of other things.”
In her press conference, Barty said: “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
“I think for her it’s—you know, I just hope this injury doesn’t hinder her season because she’s an exceptional player. She’s proved time and time again that she belongs at the very top. She belongs to play the very best in the world. And she’s always there in big events, so I think for her it’s a matter of getting healthy and I just hope that she can recover quickly, recover well, and that it doesn’t hinder her season.”
Barty said of her own season: “We’ll start in Charleston next week, which I’m excited to get on the green clay in Charleston. We’ll look forward to getting over to Europe and get on some red clay in Stuttgart, Madrid, Rome. That’s the plan for us. Looking forward to it.
“Stuttgart is a new tournament for me. Madrid, I love playing there, and obviously Rome is a beautiful city before we go into Paris. Hopefully, touch wood, all the cities can stay safe and we can play environments where we are safe and can go out there and do what we love doing.”