Barty gives Osaka the big fend-off
Ash Barty is through to the final of the Miami Open after blasting Elina Svitolina off the court.
The win puts Barty into the final on Sunday (AEDT) where she will face Bianca Andreescu or Maria Sakkari, with their semi-final to come on Friday afternoon.
The 6-3 6-3 win over Svitolina was Barty's most impressive performance in Miami - where she has improved every time she has stepped onto court following her almighty first-up scare.
Barty looks a different person to the one that was very nearly sent packing in the second round when trailing 5-2 and match point down in the third set against Kristina Kucova.
Since then Barty has been a force.
Her win on Friday morning is enough for the 24-year-old to retain her No. 1 ranking at least through to the French Open, beginning on May 17.
Barty is defending ranking points in Miami after her 2019 tournament victory.
Making the final keeps world No. 2 Naomi Osaka at bay for at least six more weeks with the Japanese star falling in the quarter-finals this week.
Because the 2020 Miami Open was not held, Barty is on track for the first successful title defence of her career.
"Every single match I felt like I've done something a little bit better, and that's all you can ask," said Barty, who opted not to travel outside Australia last year amid the coronavirus pandemic and withdrew from tournaments in Doha and Dubai in March with a leg injury.
She received treatment for an abdominal issue between sets on Friday, but vowed she would be "right as rain" for a title showdown.
- with AFP
Originally published as Barty storming through Miami Open