Defending champion Barty reaches Miami Open final

Sports Desk, Apr 1 (efe-epa).- World No. 1 and 2019 Miami Open champion Ashleigh Barty extended her title defense Thursday by defeating Elina Svitolina 6-3, 6-3 in the first women’s semifinal.

The 24-year-old Australian, who lost five of her six previous matches against Svitolina, needed an hour and 27 minutes to dispatch the Ukrainian.

While Barty left the court between sets for medical treatment, at no point did she appear to be hampered.

Svitolina, 26, is currently ranked fifth in the world and was making her first appearance in the Miami Open semifinals.

Barty, has now won 11 consecutive matches in the event, which did not take place last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“It wasn’t easy today, not by any means,” she said after the battle with Svitolina. “I felt like I wanted to come out here and be aggressive, and I was able to execute it.

“Elina is an exceptional competitor. She’ll never give you a free point no matter what the score is. I know I have to bring my best and I was able to do that today,” Barty said.

In the final, the 2019 French Open champion will face the winner of Thursday night’s clash between Bianca Andreescu and Maria Sakkari, who qualified for the last four by upsetting Naomi Osaka in the quarterfinals.

Osaka’s loss ensured that Barty will remain world No. 1 for at least the next five weeks, regardless of the outcome of the final in Miami.

“I have so many good memories playing here,” Barty said after beating Svitolina. “I’m very grateful to have another opportunity to play for the title.” EFE apa/dr

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