The 22-year-old Aussie Ashleigh Barty has won the biggest title in a career in Miami, defeating the 5th seed Karolina Pliskova 7-6, 6-3 in an hour and 39 minutes. After losing in the final in Sydney and the quarter-final at the Australian Open to Petra Kvitova, the Ipswich native has gone all the way at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, lifting the fourth WTA singles title and by far the most significant one so far.
With those points, Ashleigh will find her name in the top-10 on Monday for the first time, becoming the only player in the world ranked inside the elite group in both singles and doubles, a true testimony of her talent and skills.
After winning the title in Brisbane, Pliskova has been very consistent in the other events as well but will have to wait for another opportunity to win the next WTA title, losing to Barty for the third time in five matches and leaving the Aussie as the 14th different champion in 14 WTA tournaments so far in 2019!
Barty delivered stunning performance behind the initial shot, dropping 16 points in ten service games, blasting 15 aces and facing only two break points! Pliskova managed to convert one at the start of the match to grab an early lead but that was all we saw from her, falling behind in the tie break and suffering two breaks in set number two to propel the Aussie over the finish line.
The Czech lost 45% of the points behind the initial shot, halted by Barty who created nine break chances, converting three to control the scoreboard and bringing the win home with 41 winners and just 22 unforced errors!
Pliskova drew first blood with a break in game three when Ashleigh netted a backhand, opening a 3-1 lead before squandering it in game six when Barty landed a forehand down the line winner to pull the break back and level the score at 3-3.
Both players served well in the remaining six games to set up a tie break where the Aussie kept focus and stamina on a high level, scoring three mini-breaks for a 7-1 after 52 minutes. Carried by this boost, Ashleigh lost just two points on serve in set number two, something Pliskova could never match, and her triumph was never in doubt.
We saw almost 15 deuces on Karolina's serve in the opening two service games and despite trailing only one break there was no way back for her after that dreadful return stats, allowing Barty to score a break at love in game nine and seal the deal in the biggest final she has played so far.