Bianca Andreescu, of Canada, celebrates after winning the first set against Maria Sakkari, of Greece, during the Miami Open tennis tournament Thursday, April 1, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Fla.AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee
AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

Bianca Andreescu books spot in Miami Open final

It’s only her third tournament back and Bianca Andreescu will once again play for the title. The Canadian fought back in the third set to defeat Sakkari 7-6 (7), 3-6, 7-6 (4).

The No. 8 seed advances to her first final since winning the 2019 US Open. It was a thrilling three-set semifinal win over No. 23 seed Maria Sakkari of Greece that ended at 1:35 a.m. in Miami. The Canadian secured the win after a marathon game that lasted two hours and 42 minutes.

READ: Bianca Andreescu advances to Miami Open semis

Andreescu got off to a quick start, overwhelming Sakkari early and jumping out to a 4-1 lead after a break of serve in the fourth game fell her way. Sakkari showed strength, closing the gap in the match and levelling the score at 4-4. Sakkari was the first to earn set points, but on Andreescu’s first chance to claim the set, she did with a cross court backhand winner.

In the second set, Andreescu opened up a 3-1 lead, breaking serve at 1-1 as Sakkari served up a double fault. The Greek then relentlessly battled back from the baseline, securing five straight games to send the match into a final set.

The third set was back-and-fourth, with many momentum shifts for the two players.

Sakkari was the first to break serve in the decider, but her lead soon became a 5-4 deficit as Andreescu refused to give in.  Andreescu stormed back to win three games in a row and land herself one break of a serve from the win. Sakkari matched Andreescu’s fight but as we expect from the Canadian, she sent the match into a thrilling decisive tiebreak. Andreescu stormed to a quick 6-2 tiebreak lead to secure a fourth three-set victory in five matches this week and become the semifinal match winner.

“Against her, I had no choice but to run for everything that I could and just fight until the end because that’s what she was doing. She was really taking control of the points a lot of the times. It was really tough, I’m not going to lie,” Andreescu said on-court after the match.

The Canadian will meet top-ranked and defending champion, Ash Barty of Australia in the final on Saturday in Miami. It will be the first time the two players have played against one-another. In her respective semifinal match, Barty took down No. 5 seed Elina Svitolina of Ukraine in two sets of 6-3, 6-3.

The Miami Open is Andreescu’s third tournament after an absence of more than a year and a half with a knee injury. The Torontonian is working hard to regain her 2019 form, a season in which she had a historic breakthrough by winning three tournaments, including the US Open.