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Top-ranked Ash Barty Overcomes Match Point For Win at Miami Open

Ash Barty (Photo Credit: Reuters)

Ash Barty (Photo Credit: Reuters)

Barty fell behind 0-40 serving in the final game but fought back and won with a service winner.

Top-ranked Ash Barty rallied from a big third-set deficit and overcame a match point Thursday to win her opening match at the Miami Open against qualifier Kristina Kucova, 6-3, 4-6, 7-5.

Barty, who won the tournament’s most recent title in 2019, trailed 5-2 in the final set. In the next game she faced a match point, which she saved by ripping a weak serve for a winner.

Barty fell behind 0-40 serving in the final game but again rallied against Kucova, a Slovakian ranked 149th. Barty closed out the victory with a service winner, and then tapped her temple with her index finger, as if in tribute to the way she kept her composure in the crunch.

Playing away from her native Australia for the first time in more than a year, Barty won despite an unreliable forehand. She whacked 40 unforced errors on that side.

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No. 5 Elina Svitolina overcame an early deficit and a wrist injury to edge American Shelby Rogers 3-6, 7-5, 6-3.

In men’s first-round play, qualifier Thanasi Kokkinakis won a top-tier ATP match for the first time in three years by beating another qualifier, Shintaro Mochizuki, 6-3, 6-3.

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American qualifier Bjorn Fratangelo beat Fernando Verdasco 6-4, 6-4.

first published:March 26, 2021, 03:39 IST