World number one Ashleigh Barty qualified for the semi-finals of the Miami Open on Tuesday as Russian seed Daniil Medvedev booked his spot in the quarter-finals of the men’s tournament. Barty fought in her third hat-trick of the fortnight to oust seventh seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus in 2:16 on the grandstand court. The Australian will face Elina Svitolina of Ukraine in the semi-final after her grueling 6-4, 6-7 (5/7), 6-3 win. Fifth seed Svitolina advanced to the final four after beating Latvia’s Anastasija Sevastova 6-3, 6-2 later on Tuesday.
After taking a tight first set, Barty looked to be on the verge of victory after taking a 3-1 lead in the second set tie-break.
Sabalenka, however, staged a superb recovery to snatch the 7-5 tie-break, forcing a decisive third set.
Barty regrouped in the third however and with Sabalenka clearly in pain clutching his stomach, knocked home his advantage to complete a deserved victory.
The victory leaves Barty one semifinal away from winning her world rankings, although the Australian insisted she was not concerned with retaining the top spot.
“It’s an amazing thing to be world No. 1 right now, but I promise you that’s not what makes me happy,” Barty said afterwards.
“It’s a goal of course. I want to try to do my best, but it’s not a distraction or pressure in any way.”
– Medvedev shoots down Tiafoe –
Medvedev meanwhile had an easier run in the men’s tournament edging Frances Tiafoe of the United States in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3.
Medvedev beat 11 aces in the victory, beating Tiafoe three times en route to victory.
Medvedev will face Roberto Bautista Agut in the last eight games after the Spaniard knocked out John Isner in straight sets to avenge his 2019 quarter-final loss in Miami.
Bautista Agut saved a match point at 5-6 in the third set tiebreak to claim a victory of 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (9/7).
“I think I played a brilliant set the first set, and then with John you always feel under pressure,” said Bautista Agut. “It was a really tough fight until the last point.”
The biggest upheaval of the day saw world number 87 Sebastian Korda continue his slaughter run by knocking out fifth seed Argentina Diego Schwartzman, winning 6-3, 4-6, 7-5.
“I played an amazing game today,” said Korda, the Florida-born son of former Australian Open champion Petre Korda.
“I think mentally I was great there. I stayed calm. Even in difficult situations I believed in myself and I got there,” added the 20-year-old.
Korda will face fourth-seeded Andrey Rublev from Russia in the last eight games. Rublev reached the quarterfinals with a 6-4, 6-4 loss to Marin Cilic.
In Tuesday’s other 16 matches, 21-seeded Jannik Sinner of Italy defeated Emil Ruusuvuori of Finland 6-3, 6-2 to advance to the final eight.
This is the first time the 19-year-old has reached the quarter-finals of an ATP Masters event.
“To me that means a lot,” Sinner said. “The first goal is always to try to improve day after day, to go to the training grounds and then when you sometimes have good results, it’s nice.”
Sinner will face 32nd seed Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan in the quarter-finals. Bublik qualified for the last eight with a 6-7 (5/7), 6-3, 6-4 victory over 22nd-seeded American Taylor Fritz.
Elsewhere, Polish 26th seed Hubert Hurkacz defeated 12th seed Milos Raonic 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/4) to advance to an eighth meeting with second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, a 6-2, 7-6 (7/2) winner against the Italian Lorenzo Sonego.
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