Barty beats Pliskova to win maiden Miami Open title
Ashleigh Barty defeated Karolina Pliskova 7-6(1) 6-3 on Saturday to win her maiden Miami Open title and become the first Australian woman since 2013 to reach the top 10 in the world rankings.
After dominating the first set tiebreak, Barty broke the big-serving Pliskova in a 12-minute game to open the second set.
From there on the fatigued Czech, whose semi-final win over Simona Halep finished after 1 am local time earlier on Saturday due to rain delays, put up little resistance.
Barty pumped her fists when Pliskova sent a forehand long on match point to hand the 22-year-old the biggest win of her career, which includes a $1.3 million pay check.
Barty said the key to the match was extending rallies on the warm day in Southern Florida.
"It was important for me to try to make it physical," she said in an on-court interview.
"Kaja has the ability to really hit you off the court and take it away from you so I knew I had to have my running shoes on today to try and make as many balls as possible."
Barty fired 15 aces, with Pliskova barely making an effort to return some of them.
"I tried to make the most of it," she said of playing an exhausted opponent.
"You don't get these opportunities every single day and it was important for me to continue and try to do the right things and enjoy the moment as well."
The win capped a memorable week for the 2011 junior Wimbledon champion, who took a break from tennis in 2014 to play professional cricket for the Brisbane Heat.