After a thrilling week of tennis at the WTA Miami Open, just two women remain in contention for the crown in Florida. Both will surely be desperate to end the first half of their hard-court season with success, but who will claim the title in the Sunshine State?
WTA Miami Open Final Prediction
Ashleigh Barty vs Bianca Andreescu
Head-to-head: first meeting
Ashleigh Barty may be the world #1, a position she is now secure in after Naomi Osaka’s defeat in the quarterfinals at the WTA Miami Open, but this nonetheless feels like an important opportunity for the Australian. Barty is the defending champion in Miami, having lifted the trophy in the last version of the tournament in 2019. However, the Australian hasn’t won a big tournament since her success at the French Open in the same year. After imploding against Karolina Muchova at the Australian Open, this is a great chance for Barty to right ship and justify her standing as the best player in women’s tennis.
She has looked good this week too. After a shaky start against Kristina Kucova, the Aussie rallied to put away four quality opponents in Miami. She beat Jelena Ostapenko in straight sets in the second round. Next she took down the Belarusian pair of Aryna Sabalenka and Victoria Azarenka, losing a set to each.
Then came a straight-sets thumping of world #5 Elina Svitolina in the semifinals. Across all those matches, Barty’s slice backhand has looked impeccable. Her serve and heavy forehand have stood her in good stead as well. Unfortunately though, her two-hand backhand has looked very vulnerable at times. Against a player of Bianca Andreescu’s quality, that could be a real problem.
Andreescu is one of the best problem solvers in the women’s game. The number of three set matches she comes through are testament to her ability to find a way to win. Her wins against Sara Sorribes Tormo and Maria Sakkari are good examples of that ability. In fact, Andreescu has played four three-set matches in a row in Miami, with her only straight sets win coming in the first round against Tereza Martincova. What makes Andreescu so good at figuring out ways to win is that she has so many weapons in her locker.
She’s a brilliant returner and is more than comfortable aggressively attacking opponent’s second serves. She is equally adept at playing aggressive baseline tennis and out-hitting her opponents that way. If she finds herself on the backfoot, then moon-balls and slices off both wings make her defense among the best there is. There really isn’t any glaring weakness in her game when it all clicks. She is occasionally guilty of going for too much or getting caught in two minds over which of her many shots to deploy. Other than that, she is brilliant and probably the most complete player on the women’s tour.
These two have never met, which only adds to the excitement of what should be an amazing match. Andreescu usually handles variety well. However, Barty is unlike any other player on the tour when she deploys that knifing slice. Both players will need to serve well to ensure this stays a close match. Barty undoubtedly has a slight edge in that regard. That being said, Andreescu has more weapons available to her. She will also quickly identify that two-hand backhand of Barty’s as a target if it misfires at all in the final. Andreescu has also won her last two WTA 1000 finals.
Barty is the world #1 and favourite going in, and rightly so. However, Andreescu was the best player in women’s tennis in 2019 and it wasn’t even close. In Miami she looks close to that level again, if not quite fully there yet. If she is, then it won’t be long before she reaches the top of the women’s game. Barty won’t go quietly, and this has all the makings of another three set classic. Andreescu is the Queen of three set matches. She is also 8-2 against opponents ranked in the top ten at time of play. The Canadian star could be in store for a huge year if she can stay healthy. That huge year should start with a third WTA 1000 title here in Miami.
Prediction: Andreescu in 3
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