Australia’s world no. 1 Ash Barty got off to the best possible start against Ukraine’s world no. 5 Elina Svitolina.
The no. 1 seed broke in the first game of their semifinal in the Miami WTA 1000 tournament.
Barty would consolidate the break to lead 2-0 before a hold by Svitolina.
Another break came for Barty when she broke Svitolina to love for a 4-1 lead in the opening set.
Barty found herself 0-30 in the sixth game before forcing a return error for 15-30.
A swing volley that Barty hit wide gave her Ukrainian opponent two break points and a shot into the net saw Svitolina get a break back to be serving at 2-4.
Barty had another break point at Ad however she hit the service return well over the baseline to see the score at deuce.
A forehand that Barty pulled wide gave Svitolina the Ad. After Barty mishit a backhand that sailed wide it was 4-3.
Barty would hold and then break to win the opening set 6-3, but that did not come without chances for Svitolina to break back. There was a break point at 30-40 in the eighth game. It was saved by an Ace and a forehand winner to Barty to Ad.
Both players held serve to start the second set although Barty had a break point in the second game only to waste that chance with an unforced error with a backhand going over the baseline.
A stunning forehand crosscourt winner brought up another break point. Barty looked to have it but a shot that would have been a winner clipped the net and sailed wide.
A third break point came after Svitolina hit into the net. It was saved again. She would eventually hold.
The pressure was back on in the Svitolina serve after Barty held to love.
The Australian had some treatment during the change of ends on her stomach.
It didn’t seem to be a problem. Barty straight away was on the attack when she hit a forehand winner to open the game. Two points later she was at 0-40.
Svitolina saved the first break point with an Ace, then Barty returned long but on the next point she got the crucial break of serve for 3-1.
The world no. 5 had a chance to break back at 30-40 in the game that followed however a good deep forehand forced an error.
A wide serve was returned mid court and Barty stepped in to hit the winner to move to game point. After some big forehands it was an unforced error from Barty that kept the game alive.
Svitolina went for a big return on the next point only to see the shot crash into the net. A break would eventually come for the Ukrainian to see her serving at 2-3.
Barty would again get a break for 4-2. A hold for Barty had her one game away from a return to the final.
A serve to Svitolina’s backhand that she was late to hit saw the ball fly wide, that brought up two match point at 40-15.
A forehand winner sealed the match 6-3, 6-3 after one hour and 29 minutes.
Barty served 7 Aces to 2 but was served at 46% to 62% on first serves. The winners went to the Australian with 28 to 11 and unforced errors were 28 for Barty and 34 from Svitolina.
Barty had 14 break points of which she converted 5. Svitolina was 2 from 7.
The head to head is now 5-2 for Svitolina with Barty winning the past two meetings.
Barty awaits the winner from the match between Bianca Andreescu and Maria Sakkari.
The Australian will be attempting to defend a title for the first time in her career after winning the title in Miami back in 2019 before COVID saw the tournament cancelled in 2020.