Defending champ Barty again in closing

Miami, April 2

In her first match at this year’s Miami Open, Ash Barty was one point from elimination. Now she’s one win from becoming a repeat champion. The top-ranked Barty returned to the final by beating fifth seed Elina Svitolina 6-3 6-3 on Thursday.

Barty has gained momentum after starting the tournament by saving a match point against qualifier Kristina Kucova. That was Barty’s first match outside her native Australia since February 2020. “Whenever you come back from a match point, it’s a little bit of a strange feeling,” she said.

Barty, who is assured of retaining her No. 1 ranking next week, will play for the title on Saturday against former US Open champion Bianca Andreescu.

The 20-year-old Andreescu needed all of her physical strength on Thursday to beat Greek rival Maria Sakkari 7-6(7) 3-6 7-6(4) in a match that ended at 1:35am local time.

“Sometimes I literally feel like I’m an octopus out there running side to side; I feel like I have eight legs,” Andreescu said after reaching her first final since the 2019 US Open triumph.

Tsitsipas loses

On the men’s side, unseeded 20-year-old Sebastian Korda’s breakthrough run ended with a 7-5 7-6(7) quarterfinal loss to No. 4 Andrey Rublev. Korda, slowed in the second set by a left thigh injury, was the youngest American to make the men’s quarterfinals in Miami since Robbie Ginepri in 2003.

Rublev and Hubert Hurkacz of Poland will play in their first semifinal at a top-level ATP event. Hurkacz advanced by rallying past second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas 2-6 6-3 6-4. — Agencies

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