Australia’s Ash Barty has progressed to the biggest final of her career in Miami.
The 12th seed stormed past No.21 seed Anett Kontaveit in the semifinals, sealing a 6-3 6-3 victory with an ace.
Barty, who will rise to a career-best No.9 in the world rankings next week, now faces Czech Karolina Pliskova in the final.
“Obviously, I’ve been doing the right things throughout the week to put be able to put myself in a position to play for a title,” Barty said.
“You have to go out there and embrace it.”
Three rain delays tested the patience of both players, the first which came only six minutes into the match.
Barty comfortably won the first set, but had to survive a Kontaveit challenge early in the second.
Trailing 1-3 in the second set, Barty stuck to her game to win the next five games as Kontaveit’s errors mounted.
“Very long day,” said Barty, who passed the time in the locker room by drinking coffee and watching golf.
“But for me, it’s an opportunity to come out and play another match.
“We can’t control the weather.”
The rain delays meant Pliskova did not complete her semifinal until after 1am local time.
The fifth-seeded Czech was impressive in a 7-5 6-1 victory over Simona Halep, denying the Romanian a return to No.1.
.@KaPliskova holds off Halep and the rain, 7-5, 6-1!
— WTA (@WTA) March 29, 2019
Pliskova now turns her attention to a final showdown with Barty, where both players are aiming to win a first Premier Mandatory title. Their head-to-head record is tied at two-all, with Pliskova winning their most recent meeting at last year’s US Open.
“It’s going to be completely different tennis,” Pliskova said of facing Barty.
“She’s a great player, she’s in a final and going to play her best tennis. I’m excited about it.”
The No.7-ranked Pliskova is projected to rise to No.4 with a runner-up finish or No.2 if she wins the title.
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