MIAMI GARDENS, Fla., March 30 (UPI) — World No. 1 Ash Barty needed extra time to fend off Aryna Sabalenka on Tuesday in Miami Gardens, Fla. The Australian escaped the 2-hour, 16-minute match with a ticket to the Miami Open semifinals.
Barty won the match 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-3 in the Grandstand Stadium, situated adjacent to Hard Rock Stadium, the home field of the Miami Dolphins.
“It’s important for me to pick my spots and try and execute,” Barty told reporters Tuesday in a Zoom video conference.
“It’s trained over time. At times I have more options, but most of the time I choose the simple and obvious option and try and execute.”
Barty fired six aces, compared to Sabalenka’s 12 aces, in the victory. Sabalenka also edged Barty 40-25 in winners, but had 47 unforced errors. Barty had 22 errors.
Barty also saved all seven of her break point opportunities.
Sabalenka and Barty exchanged victories through the first seven games of the first set.
Barty then won the final three games to take the set. The duo also exchanged victories through the first dozen games of the second set. Sabalenka then won the tie break to claim the set.
They again exchanged the first seven games of the third set. Barty answered with three consecutive victories to win the match.
Barty battles Elina Svitolina or Anastasija Sevastova in the semifinals Thursday in Miami Gardens.
“Svitolina and I have had exceptional battles in big tournaments,” Barty said. “She has figured her way through this draw. If I play her it’s another battle.
“For Sevastova, she has the ability to move the ball around the court and it would be a different matchup. I look forward to both and they would be challenging in different ways.”
Naomi Osaka battles Maria Sakkari in another quarterfinal Wednesday at the Miami Open. The winner of that match faces Bianca Andreescu or Sara Sorribes Tormo in the other women’s singles semifinal.
The Miami Open, one of the largest non-Grand Slam tournaments on the WTA and ATP tours, runs through Sunday.
Barty is the defending women’s champion, but last won the tournament in 2019. The Miami Open was canceled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.