Australia’s Ashleigh Barty promised the largest singles title of her career to date with victory over the world number 1 Karolina Pliskova at Miami.
The 22-year-old will move into the top – the very first Australian to achieve this since Samantha Stosur at 2013 – after having a 7-6 (7-1) 6-3 triumph.
She struck on a career-high 15 aces contrary to the Czech to make a fourth title.
After a tightly contested first set, Barty dropped just five points at the last 4 games to seal victory.
The 5ft 5in Australian’s triumph in Florida on Saturday means the initial 14 events of the 2019 women’s singles have been won by players that are different.
Barty’s victory continued her remarkable renaissance since returning into the sport in February 2016 having stopped couple of years earlier to play professional cricket.
Now the 2011 Wimbledon junior champion is observing her first WTA Premier Desired title – that the tier of championships below the Grand Slams and WTA Finals – and – climbing to ninth in the rankings.
Despite just finishing her semi-final triumph over French Open champion Simona Halep after 1am local time before Saturday, Pliskova made a confident start with breaking Barty’s serve and moving to a 3-1 lead.
But Barty climbed into the competition and wore down the 27-year-old to reestablish parity in 3-3 before taking the first set at a one sided tiebreak.
Big-serving Pliskova, who’ll rise to fourth in the rankings on Monday, just won 65% of things on her serve compared to 86% from Barty.
“I’m very tired however Ashleigh created the goods today,” Pliskova explained.