Barty and Andreescu first career meeting in Miami final.
World number one Ashleigh Barty and ex U.S. Open champion Bianca Andreescu completed divergent semi-final triumphs in the 2021 Miami Open, setting up a spectacular first career encounter between the Grand Slam winners in Saturday’s final.
Australian Barty spent most of 2020 at home because of the COVID-19 pandemic and Miami is her first event abroad since February 2020. She is also the defending champion at the 2021 Miami Open after the 2020 edition was abandoned.
Andreescu has also come back to action after a fifteen-month injury layoff at the 2021 Australian Open in February, but after competing at a follow-up event in Melbourne she had to pull out from tournaments in Adelaide, Doha and Dubai with a leg issue.
Barty has expressed that the Canadian has an all-round game that made facing her “extremely challenging”.
“I haven’t played her in the past, haven’t knocked the ball with her. It’s a first time for us both,” Barty, the 2019 French Open champion, told the media after a 6-3 6-3 victory over Elina Svitolina.
“Bianca has demonstrated in big matches that she’s got the capability to beat the very best, and I understand from the little that I have seen that she’s got a way of pushing around the court that’s exceptionally physical.”
The 20-year-old Bianca needed all of that brute strength on Thursday to defeat Greek rival Maria Sakkari 7-6(7) 3-6 7-6(4) in a match that ended way past midnight at 01:35 a.m. local time.
“Every So Often I literally feel like I’m an octopus out there rushing side to side; I feel like I have 8 legs,” she said after making it to her first final since the 2019 U.S. Open triumph.
“It’s crazy. Sometimes I don’t even understand how I get to some shots. But it’s that battling spirit I have constantly had in me, never giving up.”
Bianca said she has aspired to play Ash Barty for a long time and was happy to ultimately have her chance.
“Her being the top seed and her doing really, really well. Her match character, as well. It’s something I have never truly experienced,” Andreescu said.
“I love a real contest, and I know she’s going to confront me with her best on Saturday.”
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