Barty smacks down critics after maintaining No. 1 stranglehold

World No. 1 Ash Barty retained her Miami Open title and her prime spot within the WTA rankings as Bianca Andreescu’s harm curse struck once more.

Barty accomplished a 6-3 4-0 victory after Andreescu was compelled to retire in tears with an harm to her proper ankle within the second set on the Hard Rock Stadium.

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The Australian star had dominated her Canadian opponent all through the competition behind a strong service sport and correct forehand.

The finish got here quickly after the third sport of the second set, when Andreescu collapsed to the court docket after rolling her proper ankle throughout her service sport.

Barty broke for a 3-0 lead as Andreescu, clearly struggling to maneuver correctly battled on. Despite being closely strapped on her ankle, Andreescu retired quickly afterwards, unable to proceed.

It was a bitterly disappointing finish for Andreescu, the 2019 US Open champion who missed the primary few months of the 2020 season with a knee harm earlier than final yr’s pandemic shutdown.

“Definitely not the way I wanted to end the tournament, but I’m super-grateful nonetheless,” Andreescu, 20, mentioned in feedback on court docket after her defeat.

“I got to the final in one of my first tournaments in a while and I couldn’t be more happy.

“For me, getting back on my feet wasn’t easy, but I continued to believe in myself and I never gave up.

“So to everyone who’s going through a tough time like me right now, I just want to say keep your head up and continue to believe in yourself.”

Barty, in the meantime, was left to replicate on a scientific victory in what was her first abroad look because the WTA Tour resumed after the shutdown.

“It’s been the perfect start for us,” mentioned Barty. “Hopefully, it’s going to be a long and successful season. It’s a brilliant start.”

She additionally had a blunt message about her No. 1 standing, which has been a speaking level as a result of some consider she doesn’t deserve the top spot — a place she’s held onto partly as a result of anomalies of the rankings system, which was frozen final yr in the course of the pandemic.

Despite sitting out for nearly all of 2020, Barty’s reign continued — much to many people’s confusion — as Naomi Osaka blew to chance to usurp the Aussie by bombing out of the Miami Open early.

“I never have to prove anything to anyone. I know all the work that I do with my team behind the scene,” Barty mentioned.

“I know there has been a lot of talk about the ranking, but I didn’t play at all last year and I didn’t improve any of my points whatsoever.

“There were girls who had the chance to improve theirs, so I felt like I thoroughly deserve my spot at the top of the rankings.”

On these essential of her No. 1 standing, Barty added: “Everyone is entitled to their opinion. That’s absolutely fine. I can’t control what anyone else thinks or what anyone else says.

“I feel like we deserve to be top of the rankings.

“Everyone needs to understand that it’s a pandemic. It’s probably a once-in-a-lifetime thing for a lot of us to go through, so it’s a bit of a difficult situation.

“It doesn’t really get to me. I mean, it’s just what people say and I can’t change their opinion, so it doesn’t stress me out at all.”

Miami Open match director James Blake can be firmly in Barty’s nook. “For those that don’t know Ash, she’s one of the most humble, gracious, down-to-earth No. 1s in the world that’s ever been around, so thank you for being our champion, Ash,” he mentioned within the post-match presentation.

Barty now heads to subsequent week’s Charleston occasion as she prepares for the clay court docket season.

The 24-year-old from Queensland managed the match from the outset, transferring Andreescu across the court docket relentlessly with correct first serves and heavy groundstrokes.

After opening with a convincing maintain of serve, Barty broke Andreescu within the second sport, taking a 2-0 lead with a bludgeoning forehand that gave the Canadian no probability.

Another maintain of serve put Barty 3-0 up, and though Andreescu took benefit of an erratic service sport from the Australian to interrupt again and shut the deficit to 3-2, it was solely a short lived reprieve.

Barty broke again instantly to go 4-2 forward after which held simply for a 5-2 lead. Andreescu held for 5-3 however was unable to discover a method by way of Barty’s function the world No. 1 took the primary set within the subsequent sport.

Andreescu was quickly beneath strain within the second set, struggling an early break to go 2-0 down.

She then appeared to roll an ankle whereas serving within the third sport and crumpled to the court docket. She managed to proceed however Barty broke once more for 3-0 lead and the tip adopted quickly afterwards when the teenager retired.

With AFP

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