Ashleigh Barty Upsets Karolina Pliskova, Wins 2019 Miami Open TitleMarch 30, 2019
A new champion was crowned at the 2019 Miami Open on Saturday, as Ashleigh Barty defeated Karolina Pliskova 7-6 (1), 6-3 in the championship match at Hard Rock Stadium.
Not only does it mark the first Miami Open title for Barty, but it's also the 22-year-old's first career Premier Mandatory title.
It was far from an easy victory, though.
Early on, it appeared Pliskova had the edge, as she won three of the first four games of the day. However, Barty quickly rallied to set up a back-and-forth battle throughout the first set.
The competitors split the first two points of the tiebreaker, but it was not long before Barty grabbed control, putting her backhand on full display:
She would go on to win the final six points of the tiebreaker to claim the first set:
It remained an even fight as the second set began, as the first game featured five break points. Pliskova gave a good effort, but just like in the first set, she didn't have enough to outlast Barty over the course of the 12-minute game.
With Barty threatening to take a commanding 3-0 lead, Pliskova managed to get on the board after a lengthy service game. At that point, though, Pliskova appeared to be running on fumes. In fact, cameras caught her telling her coach in between that games that she was "dead."
Even as she was running out of steam, Pliskova trailed just 4-3 in the second set. However, Barty finally pulled away by cruising through the final pair of games.
As much as Pliskova battled on this day, she had no answer for her opponent's pinpoint serving. Barty recorded 15 aces in the match, winning the point on 15 of her first 16 serves in the second set. She had an impressive nine aces in the second set alone.
According to WTA insider Courtney Nguyen, Barty is guaranteed to move up to ninth in the WTA rankings, becoming the first Australian to crack the top 10 since May 2013. Pliskova would have moved up to No. 2 with a win.
"It's been a phenomenal two weeks," Barty said after the match.
Barty's previous best finish at the Miami Open was a fourth-round exit last year.