Ashleigh Barty enters elite club after defending Miami Open title against Bianca Andreescu

Ashleigh Barty defended her Miami Open crown successfully as Bianca Andreescu retired in the second set due to injury.

Ashleigh Barty in action (Credit: Volvo Car Open)

Ashleigh Barty, the current world number one in the woman’s ranking, has entered an elite list after successfully defending her Miami Open title. Barty won the first set 6-3 against US Open champion Bianca Andreescu and was up 4-0 in the second set. However, Andreescu, who has troubled by injuries in the past couple of months, was forced to retire. Barty won the title and defended her crown successfully. With this achievement, she has entered an elite list of players.

Barty has won 12 consecutive matches in Miami and is only the sixth woman player to have defended the Miami Open title. She joins Steffi Graf, Monica Seles, Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, Venus Williams and Serena Williams. Graf managed to defend her title on two occasions in 1987 and 1988 as well as on three consecutive occasions from 1994 to 1996. Seles won her first title in 1990 and defended it in 1991. Venus won the Miami Open in 1998 and successfully defended her crown in 1999.

However, it is Serena who has dominated the Miami Open. She won the tournament three consecutive times from 2002 to 2004. She won the tournament in 2007 and defended it in 2008. Serena had one more streak from 2013 to 2015 at the Miami Open. The other common connection with Barty and the other five women players was that when they defended the Miami Open title, they were ranked No.1 in the world. However, Barty is the first No.1 to win the title since Serena in 2015.

Coming back in grand style

In what was her first match in more than a year, Barty showed rustiness in her first match. She had to save a match point against Kristina Kucova. Barty had two tough games against Victoria Azarenka and Aryna Sabalenka. On the other hand, Andreescu, who had missed the entire 2020 season due to injury, had to play four three-set games before entering the final.

Barty said that as the tournament progressed, she was getting better. After the match, she said she was privileged to have entered an elite list. “They are genuine champions of our sport, legends of our sport. I feel very privileged to be mentioned in that sentence, and it’s very cool and something I was unaware of. But I think it’s extremely humbling to be mentioned in the same sentence as those champions, and I feel like I’ve got a long, long way to go yet before I can be in discussion with those names,” Barty said.

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