Thursday was semi-finals day at the 2021 Miami Open. Barty-Svitolina took the day session and Andreescu-Sakkari wrapped up proceedings with yet another longgg night match. Thankful for the Easter weekend so managed to watch back this morning without knowing the score. Saturday’s final in Miami should be an absolute cracker as Ash Barty and Bianca Andreescu take on each other for the first time. Can’t wait!
Day 9️⃣ Highlights
(1) Ash Barty d. (5) Elina Svitolina, 6-3 6-3
The last player to beat Barty in Miami was actually Svitolina back in 2018. There were no signs of a repeat result as Barty delivered another accomplished display. Everything that has shone in Barty’s game this week was on song again in this semi-final. First serve percentage was on the low side at 46% but the serve was still a wrecking ball most of the time. The backhand slice was even more successful than usual, consistently drawing errors from Svitolina.
Svitolina was a different kind of opponent for Barty this week and you could see that in the tactics as she was more aggressive and constantly looking to get into the net. I guess it was with the aim to avoid getting stuck in drawn-out rallies which is where Svitolina thrives. Still, when the rallies did lengthen, Barty managed to control the majority of them.
I’m not really sure what Svitolina could have done differently to make an impact on Barty’s game. Barty moves on to her second successive Miami final.
(8) Bianca Andreescu d. (23) Maria Sakkari, 7-6(7) 3-6 7-6(4)
Andreescu’s record in three setters is just nuts. This was Andreescu’s fourth consecutive three set match of the tournament and she’s now 26-9 in three setters at the tour level (via Tennis Abstract). This was as close as the scoreline suggested with just a few points here or there. It was an interesting watch in terms of how competitive it was but not a great match in terms of quality.
In the first set, Andreescu saved two set points in the tiebreak as she managed to step up her game when it really counted and boss the final rallies of the set. Andreescu was up a set and a break. The match turned on arguably the point of the match with Sakkari serving at *1-3 *30-30 and managing to turn defence into attack. Cue a dramatic momentum shift as Sakkari quickly reeled off five straight games to level up at one set all.
In the third set, Sakkari led 4-2 and served for the match at *6-5. Andreescu just wouldn’t let go and got herself pumped up. The final 20 minutes was the most exciting period of the match as both players found their intensity. In the deciding set tiebreak, once again, it was Andreescu who simply played the big points better. Sakkari hit a trio of forehand errors that ultimately cost her.
So Bianca’s well and truly back eh?! She is such a huge value-add to the tour. These three set battles has become her trademark. This was a great week for Sakkari having saved six match points to beat Pegula in the fourth round and then to be the first player to beat Osaka this year. I still notice that she goes off her game from time-to-time with a rash of errors so to keep progressing she’ll need to find a way to try and rein that in. Sakkari is trending in the right direction and i’m convinced a Slam quarter-final or Slam semi-final is on the cards this year.
Best point 🎾
This was the point I wrote about that changed the momentum in the second set of Andreescu-Sakkari.
Hot shot 🔥
The get from Barty on the net cord and how she managed to stop so quickly at the net! 😮