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Miami Open: Top-ranked Ash Barty Wins, No. 3 Simona Halep Pulls Out with Sore Shoulder

Ash Barty (L) and Simona Halep (Photo Credit: AP)

Ash Barty (L) and Simona Halep (Photo Credit: AP)

Miami Open: Simona Halep withdrew due to a right shoulder injury while defending champion Ash Barty made the fourth round beating Jelena Ostapenko.

World number three Simona Halep withdrew from the WTA and ATP Miami Open on Saturday because of a right shoulder injury, sending Latvia’s Anastasija Sevastova into the round of 16. The 29-year-old Romanian isn’t set to play again until next month’s Billie Jean King Cup, formerly the Fed Cup. “I’m very sorry I have to pull out of singles and doubles at the Miami Open, but my injury doesn’t let me play here as expected,” Halep said in a statement. “I’m sad that I can’t continue. I wanted to come here to give my best and play many matches but unfortunately I can’t. Hopefully next year I will be back healthy and better.”

Halep, the 2018 French Open and 2019 Wimbledon champion, was the third seed behind world number one Ashleigh Barty of Australia and Japan’s second-ranked Naomi Osaka, who won last month’s Australian Open title for her fourth Grand Slam crown.

Halep’s shock withdrawal came only minutes before 2019 French Open champion Barty advanced to the fourth round by defeating 54th-ranked Latvian Jelena Ostapenko 6-3, 6-2.

Defending champion Barty was denied on five set-point chances in the final game of the first set before claiming it on a service winner after 37 minutes.

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Ostapenko broke Barty for a 2-0 lead to start the second set, then surrendered the final six games, a much more impressive showing than her three-set battle to subdue Kristina Kucova in her opening match.

“I was a lot sharper today,” Barty said. “I felt like today was a lot cleaner. I felt like I really needed to be ready from the first ball.”

Barty, who has spent 68 weeks atop the rankings, said she gained more confidence from her off-court work than her victories this week.

“I gain my confidence from all the work I do with my team,” said Barty, who needed 50 hours to travel to Miami from Australia.

“We got here safely and I’ve been well prepared and now we’re enjoying the sunshine.”

Next up for Barty will be either 14th seed Victoria Azarenka of Belarus or 24th seed Angelique Kerber of Germany.

Halep had rallied to defeat France’s 51st-ranked Caroline Garcia 3-6, 6-4, 6-0 in her opening Miami match to reach the third round.

Sevastova received a walkover into the fourth round, where she will face either 15th-seeded Polish teen Iga Swiatek, the reigning French Open champion, or 338th-ranked Ana Konjuh of Croatia.

first published:March 27, 2021, 22:27 IST