Barty battles into Miami Open semifinals, looking for 2nd title in a row

Sports Desk, Mar 30 (efe-epa).- Australia’s Ashleigh Barty, ranked No. 1 in the world, on Tuesday took another step on her path to reclaiming the Miami Open tennis title she won when the event was last held in 2019, defeating Aryna Sabalenka, of Belarus, 6-4, 6-7 (5) and 6-3 in a hardfought match in Miami.

Barty, who earlier this year won the Melbourne tourney, showed her greater mental stamina against Sabalenka, who besides mishandling her play at key moments in the match, ended the clash suffering from abdominal problems.

The No. 8-ranked Belarusian matched Barty point for point until 4-4 in the first set, when she delivered several bad serves and threw down her racket.

Then, Sabalenka failed to take advantage of three potential break points in the sixth game of the first set, but the Australian did manage to break her rival and walked away with the set 6-4.

In the second set, Barty saved four more break points and was ahead 5-4 in the tiebreak when Sabalenka gathered steam and pocketed three points in a row to win the set.

In the third, and definitive set, however, the Belarusian player began to suffer from abdominal problems that reduced her performance, in fact winning only a single point in the final three games of the set.

Barty, who played solidly all the way through, thus moves into the tournament’s semifinals and will next go up against the winner of the duel between Latvia’s Anastasiya Sevastova and Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina, ranked No. 5.

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