Miami Open: Ashleigh Barty beats Karolina Pliskova to win WTA title

Ashleigh Barty
Ashleigh Barty's first career title came in the 2017 Malaysian Open before further victories in Nottingham and Zhuhai last year

Australia's Ashleigh Barty claimed the biggest singles title of her career so far with victory over former world number one Karolina Pliskova in Miami.

The 22-year-old will move into the world top 10 - the first Australian to do so since Samantha Stosur in 2013 - after a 7-6 (7-1) 6-3 win.

She hit a career-high 15 aces against the Czech to earn a fourth title.

After a tightly contested first set, Barty dropped just five points in the final four games to seal victory.

The 5ft 5in Australian's win in Florida on Saturday means the first 14 events of the 2019 women's singles season have all been won by different players.

Barty's victory continued her remarkable renaissance since returning to the sport in February 2016 having quit two years earlier to play professional cricket.

Now the 2011 Wimbledon junior champion is celebrating her first WTA Premier Mandatory title - the tier of tournaments below the Grand Slams and WTA Finals - and climbing to ninth in the rankings.

Despite only finishing her semi-final win over French Open champion Simona Halep after 1am local time earlier on Saturday, Pliskova made a confident start by breaking Barty's serve and moving into a 3-1 lead.

But Barty grew into the contest and wore down the 27-year-old to restore parity at 3-3 before taking the first set in a one-sided tie-break.

Barty, who reached the Australian Open quarter-finals in January, took that momentum into the second set, breaking serve in the opening game and sealing her first Miami Open crown when Pliskova sent a forehand long on match point.

"I had to keep it physical, make as many balls as possible and keep my running shoes on," she said after a match which lasted one hour and 42 minutes.

Big-serving Pliskova, who will rise to fourth in the rankings on Monday, only won 65% of points on her first serve compared to 86% from Barty.

"I am very tired but Ashleigh came up with the goods today," Pliskova said.

Ash Barty wins Miami Open
Australian great Rod Laver tweeted his congratulations to Ashleigh Barty - and predicted a bright future - after her victory

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