Photo: Storms Media Group
It was the Miami Open final matchup seemingly everyone wanted to watch: The World No. 1 against one of the game’s brightest and trailblazing stars.
Unfortunately for Bianca Andreescu, an injury early in the second set meant she was forced to retire from the match, ensuring Ash Barty of Australia was crowned champion. It was such a shame for the 20-year-old Canadian, who had played such awe-inspiring tennis en route to the final
Andreescu’s Miami Open campaign had begun with a win over Tereza Martincová of the Czech Republic, followed by victory over 28th-seed Amanda Anisimova of the United States. In the Round of 16, the Canadian overcame 12th-seed Garbine Muguruza of Spain before beating Sara Sorribes Tormo, also of Spain, in the quarter-finals. Andreescu’s dramatic semi-final match against Greece’s Maria Sakkari – seeded 23rd – ended 7-6(7), 3-6, 7-6(4) in her favour.
Barty, meanwhile, claimed victories over two Top-10 opponents on her way to the final. Her tournament began with a three-set win over Slovakia’s Kristína Kučová followed by a straight-sets victory over Jeļena Ostapenko of Latvia. The Australian then defeated Belarusian compatriots Victoria Azarenka and Aryna Sabalenka in the Round of 16 and quarter-finals respectively, before overcoming fifth-seed Elina Svitolina of Ukraine in the semi-finals.
This highly-anticipated matchup between Andreescu and Barty – two of the WTA Tour’s most dynamic players – was the first meeting of their careers. They were forced to contend with blustery conditions on the Grandstand court, resulting in early drops of serve by both players in the first set. Despite a much lower first-serve percentage of 59, Barty was able to frustrate Andreescu by holding in her remaining service games and manufacturing another decisive break on her way to a 6-3 first set victory.
A double fault on break point by Andreescu meant she found herself with an early deficit in the second set. Her situation was made worse when she took a tumble at 2-0 down and suffered the injury that subsequently forced her withdrawal. Andreescu then took a medical timeout to receive treatment before attempting to continue. But it soon became clear that she could not, and she was forced to retire with the score at 4-0 in Barty’s favour in the second set.