That’s a wrap for the 2021 Miami Open. In Saturday’s final, Ash Barty was leading 6-3 4-0 when Bianca Andreescu was forced to retire 😭. It’s now farewell to the hard courts and we move onto the green clay courts of Charleston, one of my favourite tournaments of the year. On a random note, I am playing tennis for the first time in 2021 tomorrow. I am so, so, SO excited! 😊😊😊
Final result 🏆
Ash Barty made it 12 straight wins in Miami as she defended her title from 2019. I think we all had high hopes for this final, a first ABBA meeting, but sadly it didn’t live up to the billing with a sad, unfortunate ending. Down 3-6 0-2, Andreescu had a worrying looking tumble as she went over on her ankle. The replay didn’t look too bad and Andreescu carried on. Andreescu took a medical time-out at the next changeover and lasted just one more game as she tearfully pulled the plug.
Before the injury, Barty was in control. The Aussie made a great start on serve, then encountered some mid-set resistance before re-establishing her early break and then pulling away on serve. The serve down-the-tee, particularly on the deuce side, was a highlight. Barty served brilliantly all week.
I was interested that Barty wasn’t hitting as many slices off the backhand as usual in the first set. I’d love to know if this was a genuine tactic for this match, or linked to the conditions. I keep harping on about Barty’s point construction but omg it’s so good. A tactical genius. Barty did a great job at working the point to ultimately get it onto the forehand to then dictate. Barty looked at ease in the second set with some gorgeous coverage up at the net.
Andreescu was largely subdued, even before the injury, and wasn’t able to unsettle Barty. I wondered whether playing in the day was a thing for Andreescu as her last four matches had all been at night. It’s been so much FUN to have Andreescu back in the mix. Everything crossed that the ankle is nothing serious as she will add another dreamy dimension to the upcoming clay court season.
Rare to see title defences and even though this is a weird one over the course of two years, it’s noteworthy. The conditions in Miami just seem to suit Barty. Worth remembering that Barty saved a match point (!!!) in her first match of the tournament against Kristina Kucova. I think you all know my stance on Ash. Love watching her play and a very worthy number one.
All class at the net.
I will remember Miami for A LOT of three setters! I think the court speed and conditions must have had something to do with it. From the third round onwards, the bottom half of the draw produced 11 three setters from 14 matches and Bianca Andreescu and Sara Sorribes Tormo accounted for six of them!
My top three matches were Andreescu-Sorribes Tormo, Muguruza-Kalinskaya and for the sheer screaming-out-loud hilarity of the third set tiebreak, Sabalenka-Pironkova. There were A LOT of match point saving wins this tournament. Barty over Kucova, Sabalenka over Pironkova, Sorribes Tormo over Pera and Sakkari over Pegula, the latter the pick of the bunch with Sakkari saving six match points! Sakkari had a very eventful tournament as she was the first player to beat Naomi Osaka in 2021. Finally, the pure feel-good story of Ana Konjuh’s return was one of my favourite stories of the tournament. I hope that this is just the start for Ana.
See ya Miami. Bring on the clay…