Date: 3 April 2021
Tournament: Miami Open 2021
Venue: Miami, Florida
Category: WTA 1000
Surface: Outdoor hardcourt
Prize money: $3,260,190
Match timing: 1 pm local time, 10.30 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel | UK - Eurosport
Ashleigh Barty vs Bianca Andreescu preview
The 2021 Miami Open final will see World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty taking on former US Open champion Bianca Andreescu on Saturday.
Barty overcame Elina Svitolina in her semifinal on Thursday, winning 6-3, 6-3. But Andreescu had a far tougher time against Maria Sakkari, needing nearly three hours to close out a 7-6 (7), 3-6, 7-6 (4) result.
Andreescu raced to a 4-1 lead in the first set but required a tiebreaker to finally clinch it, saving a couple of set points in the process. Carrying on the momentum, the Canadian opened up a 3-1 lead in the second set.
But Sakkari had other ideas, pulling out some great shots from the baseline to reel off five games in a row and take the match into a deciding set.
It was then the Greek's turn to run up a sizeable lead of 4-2 in the third set. But just like she has done all week, Andreescu responded in emphatic fashion to even out the match.
Sakkari then broke the Canadian’s serve again, and served for a place in the final at 6-5 up. That's when she collapsed, getting broken to love and allowing Andreescu to romp home in the ensuing tiebreaker.
This was Andreescu's 24th WTA 1000 level win (out of 26 matches played), and 33rd victory (out of 34 matches) in North America.
On Saturday, she will face Ashleigh Barty, who has looked like the player to beat in the second week. Barty has ousted the likes of Victoria Azarenka, Aryna Sabalenka and Elina Svitolina with some clinical all-court displays.
The Australian is now 12-2 in 2021, and is also on an 11-match win streak in Miami (where she is the defending champion from 2019). She did seem to aggravate a pre-existing abdominal injury during the match against Svitolina, but later claimed that it wouldn’t affect her in the final.
Barty struck 27 winners and broke Svitolina’s serve five times out of nine to win comfortably in the end.
Ashleigh Barty vs Bianca Andreescu head-to-head
Ashleigh Barty and Bianca Andreescu have never played against each other before, and as such, their head-to-head currently stands at 0-0.
Ashleigh Barty vs Bianca Andreescu prediction
Ashleigh Barty has been more consistent than Bianca Andreescu with her performances over the last week. But the Canadian’s fighting spirit has been second to none, and it is expected to come to the fore once again in Saturday’s final.
Barty’s return game is likely to ask questions of Andreescu’s serve, which has been broken 20 times in the tournament. More importantly, the Australian has an abundance of variety in her arsenal which would make it tough for her opponent to produce her trademark big shots.
Andreescu would have to show a marked improvement in her serve and consistency if she is to keep Barty at bay. But given all the hours she has spent on court lately, that might be one hurdle too many for the 20-year-old.
Prediction: Ashleigh Barty to win in three sets.