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Miami | Pliskova and Barty to contest final

Miami | Pliskova and Barty to contest final

Simona Halep hopes of returning to the top of the rankings were shattered by Karolina Pliskova on what was a gloomy and wet day which produced a greatly disrupted Miami schedule.

It wasn’t easy waiting for so long, but I managed to stay aggressive Karolina Pliskova

Halep just had to win the semi-final of the Miami Open to displace Naomi Osaka, the current incumbent, but fell to the fifth seeded Czech 7-5 6-1, in a match which finished just after 1 am.

Pliskova won nine straight games – and 10 of the last 11, battling back from 5-3 down in the first, hitting 29 winners to Halep’s 18.

“It wasn’t easy waiting for so long, but I managed to stay aggressive,” said Pliskova, who was delighted at making the final where she will meet Australia’s Ashleigh Barty.

“Ashleigh is a good player, but I am excited for the final,” the lanky Czech added.

The pair played a tight first set which Pliskova eventually clinched with some outstanding court coverage as she used her long reach to chase down a series of shots by Halep that would have been winners against many a player.

She then raced through the second set and was on the brink of victory, up 5-0 when another shower sent the players to the locker room as the clock struck midnight.

They eventually returned an hour later for Pliskova to close it out in a near-empty arena.

Earlier Barty secured her place in the final with a sound 6-3 6-3 win over Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit  having been forced to wait out an hour-long rain delay before her match. Then after five minutes, they were driven back into the locker room.

Two and a half hours later they returned to play one more game before again rain intervened forcing another two-hour delay!

Barty finally secured the win with an ace on her second match point, six-and-a-half hours after the original scheduled start.

“I have been here for 12 hours today, but really happy with the way I was able to come out after the rain delays and kind of get on the front foot pretty early,” said Barty, 22, who has three career titles.

“I did the best with what I had and was able to get out of some tight service games at crucial times and get a bit of a roll on.”

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