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Sports

Barty reaches Miami final as Hurkacz topples Tsitsipas

  • But just when it appeared the match was heading for a brisk conclusion, Hurkacz finally found his range.
Published April 2, 2021
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MIAMI: World number one Ashleigh Barty bucked the upset trend at the Miami Open on Thursday, rolling into the women's final as men's second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas was toppled by Hurbert Hurkacz.

Australia's Barty fired 27 winners in a 6-3, 6-3 victory over fifth-seeded Ukrainian Elina Svitolina to return to the title match of a tournament she won when it was last held in 2019.

But Greece's Tsitsipas was left trying to explain a "self-explosion" after he squandered a commanding lead in a 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 quarter-final loss to 26th seed Hurkacz of Poland -- the latest in a string of upsets that saw men's top seed Daniil Medvedev and No. 3 Alexander Zverev bow out along with women's No. 2 Naomi Osaka.

Tsitsipas admitted it was a crushing outcome in a tournament where the absences of superstars Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer and his own recent solid form seemed to offer him a chance to shine.

"I felt like it was my opportunity," Tsitsipas said. "I feel like there was more space for me to show something greater. It's a very disappointing loss.

"It was there, everything was under control. And suddenly, I don't know, self-explosion."

Tsitsipas exited the tournament after a tense encounter that saw the 22-year-old Greek given a time violation after the second set for taking too long to change his shirt and headband.

The world number five was also reportedly involved in a tense exchange with officials before the match after refusing to share a golf cart with Hurkacz used to ferry players to the court.

There was no sign that incident had unsettled Tsitsipas early on, however, as he dominated a one-sided first set to win 6-2. Tsitsipas then quickly broke Hurkacz at the start of the second on the way to a 2-0 lead.

But just when it appeared the match was heading for a brisk conclusion, Hurkacz finally found his range.

After staving off two break points at 15-40 in the third game, Hurkacz went on to hold and then broke to level the set at 2-2 -- a lost opportunity that demoralized Tsitsipas.

Another break of serve in the eighth game put Hurkacz 5-3 up and he made no mistake on his next service game, clinching the set with an angled drop shot that left Tsitsipas scrambling to the net.

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