Ashleigh Barty wins this year's Miami Open title against Bianca Andreescu

Miami Open: Barty Repeats, Hurkacz Makes History

The 2021 Miami Open has finally concluded, and what a wild ride it was on both the men’s and women’s draw.

While  successfully defended her title, there were still some shocks along the way, the biggest of which was Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka’s stunning defeat.

Meanwhile, the men’s side was even more topsy turvy without the big names as Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz emerged from the pack to make history in Miami.

Read on below as SBOTOP catches you up on all the big pieces of tennis news over the last week in Miami.

 

Ashleigh Barty defends Miami Open title, No. 1 ranking

World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty successfully claimed her second consecutive Miami Open title after Bianca Andreescu had to withdraw from final due to an ankle injury while Barty was leading 6-3, 4-0.

Barty had already had a commanding 6-3, 2-0 lead when Andreescu suffered her injury trying to chase down a ball. She tried to play through the injury for a couple of games but eventually had to retire after a medical timeout.

“It’s brutal,” said Barty. “It’s never the way you want to finish a tennis match. I just feel for Bianca. She’s had a lot of injuries in her very young career and it’s held her back in some of the biggest moments. I hope for me it’s the first of many battles for us but you never like to see her injured at all.”

The title was Barty’s first since the Adelaide International in January 2020. She had previously been knocked out in the semi-finals of the Australian Open and Doha in 2020, and also reached the quarter-finals of this year’s Aussie Open before she was knocked out by Karolina Muchova.

Aside from her title, Barty also defended the fact that she retained her No. 1 ranking amid her relative lack of recent success.

“I never have to prove anything to anyone,” Barty said. “I know all the work that I do with my team behind the scenes.

“I know there has been a lot of talk about the ranking, but I didn’t play at all last year and I didn’t improve any of my points whatsoever.

“Yes, I didn’t drop, but I didn’t improve any. I didn’t play any at all. There were girls who had the chance to improve theirs, so I felt like I thoroughly deserve my spot at the top of the rankings.”

 

Young Hurkacz claims first ATP Masters 1000 title

With his Miami Open victory, Hubert Hurkacz becomes the first Polish player to win an ATP Masters 1000 title

Hubert Hurkacz poses with the trophy after defeating Yannik Sinner in the Miami Open final

On the men’s side, Hubert Hurkacz overcame young Italian Jannik Sinner, 7-6(4), 6-4 in the final. Not only did Hurkacz win his first ATP Masters 1000 title, but he also made history by becoming the first Pole to achieve the feat on Tour.

Although, the title was Hurkacz’s second of the season — and second in South Florida — after he also won the Delray Beach Open in January.

“Last year I spent here almost half a year,” Hurkacz said post-match. “I was practising in the hottest weather during the spring and summer here, so I think that helped me a lot playing now in Florida, especially in these pretty tough conditions here, because it was a little bit slow here. The wind was blowing from side to side sometimes, so it’s huge.”

Hurkacz had to earn every bit of his Miami title after going through four top-20 players, including three in the top 12.

First, he beat world No. 12 Denis Shapovalov in straight sets. Then followed that up with back-to-back three-set triumphs over Milos Raonic and world No. 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas. And lastly, he beat world No. 8 Andrey Rublev in straight sets in the semi-finals to face Sinner in the final.

With his Masters 1000 win, the 24-year-old Hurkacz has risen 21 spots to a career-best No. 16 in the world rankings.

 

Osaka and other big names tumble in Miami

Tsitsipas was just one of many big-name players to make the wrong kind of Miami Open 2021 news during the tournament.

World No. 2 Daniil Medvedev — the biggest name in the men’s draw with the Big 3 of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, and Roger Federer all out — missed his opportunity to claim another title as he fell in straight sets in the quarter-finals against Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut.

However, world No. 7 Alexander Zverev had an even worse outing as he lost in his very first match to Finland’s Emil Ruusuvuori, who made it all the way to the round of 16 before losing to Sinner.

And on the women’s side, newly crowned Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka was the overwhelming favourite according to the Miami Open 2021 odds, but she suffered a stunning straight-sets defeat to Maria Sakkari, 6-0, 6-4. The defeat snapped Osaka’s 23-match winning run.

 

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