History-making British qualifier Emma Raducanu admits she cannot "actually believe" she has reached the US Open final at her first attempt.

The 18-year-old world number 150 stunned 17th seed Maria Sakkari 6-1 6-4 to book her spot in the US Open final, where she will meet fellow teenager Leylah Fernandez.

Raducanu is only appearing in her second grand slam, having made a run to the fourth round at Wimbledon in June.

The Briton has become the first qualifier in the Open era, male or female, to reach the final of a major tournament, while she is the youngest grand slam finalist since Maria Sharapova at Wimbledon in 2004.

On top of that, Raducanu is the first British woman to reach a grand slam final since Virginia Wade in 1977.

"The time here in New York has gone so fast," Raducanu said during her on-court interview.

"I've just been taking care of each day and before you know it, three weeks later, I'm in the final and I can't actually believe it."

She added during her post-match news conference: "[It is] a surprise. Honestly, I just can't believe it. A shock. Crazy. All of the above.

"It means a lot to be here in this situation. I wanted, obviously, to be playing grand slams, but I didn't know how soon that would be. To be in a grand slam final at this stage of my career… I have no words."

The Canada-born teenager will become only the fourth British woman in the Open era to appear in a grand slam final after Wade, Sue Barker and Ann Haydon-Jones.

Raducanu, who was full of praise for the Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd, added that she was feeling no pressure or expectation.

"Is there any expectation? I'm a qualifier, so technically there's no pressure on me," she said.

Raducanu was glowing in her praise for former British men's number one and four-time Wimbledon semi-finalist Tim Henman, who has been in her box during this tournament.

"Tim is honestly such a big inspiration. He's been helping me, telling me to treat it one point at a time," Raducanu added.

"In moments like this, you can't get ahead of yourself and you really have to stay present."

The US Open decider will be the first grand slam final between teenagers since the 1999 edition at Flushing Meadows when Serena Williams (17) defeated Martina Hingis (18).

Maria Sakkari reached her second grand slam semi-final of the year after upstaging fourth seed Karolina Pliskova 6-4 6-4 at the US Open.

Sakkari made history at this year's French Open, where she became the first Greek woman to reach a grand slam singles semi-final.

The 17th seed continued her impressive 2021 with a straight-sets victory over former world number one and 2016 US Open finalist Pliskova in New York on Wednesday.

After one hour, 21 minutes on court, Sakkari will face high-flying English teenager Emma Raducanu for a spot in the Flushing Meadows decider.

Pliskova entered the quarter-final, having rediscovered her best form after a slow start to the season – the Czech star claimed just 15 wins from her first 12 WTA Tour tournaments before winning 19 matches from five events, reaching two finals, since the start of July.

But Sakkari proved too good on Arthur Ashe Stadium, where the 26-year-old utilised her almost flawless serve.

Sakkari lost just two points on serve in the opening set – claiming 92 per cent of her first serves, while hitting 12 winners and clinching the decisive break.

Pliskova owned three top-20 wins this season as she was looking to emulate countrywoman Hana Mandlikova, who won the US Open in 1985.

But the second set followed a similar pattern, Sakkari tallying 10 winners while winning 11 of her 12 first serves, closing out the match at the third time of asking.

 

Data Slam: Sakkari matches career high

With her dominant win over Pliskova, Sakkari – who did not face a break point – tallied her 31st victory of the year. It equalled her best return from 2019, when she finished with a 31-23 win-loss record.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Pliskova – 14/20
Sakkari – 22/12

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Pliskova – 6/3
Sakkari – 4/1

BREAK POINTS WON

Pliskova – 0/0
Sakkari – 2/5

Maria Sakkari felt she got her just rewards for being brave as she triumphed in a late-night US Open thriller against Bianca Andreescu.

The Greek sealed a 6-7 (2-7) 7-6 (8-6) 6-3 victory in a gruelling last-16 clash that finally concluded at 02:13 local time in New York – the latest finish to a women's singles match in tournament history.

Sakkari saved eight of the 12 break points she faced as she racked up 46 winners and 40 unforced errors after adopting a bold approach to fight back from a set down and wrap up the victory in three hours and 30 minutes.

She ended 2019 champion Andreescu's 10-match unbeaten streak at the US Open and was delighted to see her tactics pay off, with Karolina Pliskova standing between her and second grand slam semi-final of the year.

Speaking about her fearless showing, Sakkari, who was beaten in the last four at Roland Garros, said: "It's something that I've been working with [coach] Tom [Hill] since end of last year, but I felt like I lost that bravery after the French. I was more hesitant. I was not going for it so much.

"After my loss [in Cincinnati] with Angie [Angelique Kerber] I just practiced for two weeks. I had some very tough practices where I was crying because I could not feel my shots, I could not feel my tennis. But thankfully I had Tom and Yannis, my hitting partner, that supported me a lot.

"I lost my identity. That's how I called it. I lost myself, part of myself. With my psychologist, as well, I found a way to come back and feel again what I felt out there today.

"By telling myself to be more brave, it's not like, Maria, now be brave, and you're brave. It's just a process in practice and everything that has helped me to be more brave.

"I mean, there was a decent crowd staying until 2:30 at night. I said, Maria, you cannot give up. Just stay focused and stay calm and just make balls."

Karolina Muchova was a casualty in the first round of the National Bank Open as she was stunned by Oceane Dodin in Montreal on Monday.

The 14th seed was undone by the French qualifier despite Dodin sending down 10 double faults.

The 6-3 1-6 6-2 success was Dodin's first over a top-25 player this season.

Former U.S. Open finalists and 16th seed Madison Keys was also a first-round casualty, going down 6-3 6-3 to Canadian Rebecca Marino.

Toronto-born Marino, currently ranked 220th in the world, won in one hour and six minutes, converting four of her eight break points, while she saved four from five too.

However, there were no such problems for Ons Jabeur, the 13th seed strolling to a 6-1 6-3 victory over Clara Burel.

Eleventh seed Maria Sakkari also had a routine day, her opponent Marie Bouzkova unable to continue with Sakkari ahead 6-4 3-1.

An Olympic gold medallist in the doubles at Tokyo 2020, Katerina Siniakova had more to celebrate in the singles with a 6-1 6-3 win over long-time rival Jelena Ostapenko.

Elsewhere in the draw, Paula Badosa, Sorana Cirstea, Amanda Anisimova, Nadia Podoroska and Fiona Ferro all progressed.

Naomi Osaka was never preordained to win gold at the Tokyo Olympics but it had felt that way until she ran into Marketa Vondrousova.

The surprising 6-1 6-4 loss that a lacklustre Osaka suffered on Tuesday could be explained away by the fact the 23-year-old had not played any competitive tennis since pulling out of the French Open at the end of May.

All the same, it was a major upset as world number 42 Vondrousova took out the highest remaining seed in the draw – the Japanese star who lit the Olympic cauldron on Friday.

Osaka's exit, after previous shock defeats for top seed Ash Barty and number three Aryna Sabalenka, has raised the prospect of a shock champion, just as occurred five years ago at the Rio Games when Monica Puig of Puerto Rico caused a sensation.

Now at the quarter-final stage, there is one former grand slam champion left in the field and two finalists at that level, but it really looks like anyone's title.


VONDROUSOVA SENSES AN OPPORTUNITY

It was remarkably straightforward for Vondrousova at Ariake Tennis Park, as she cruised through the opening set and soon reeled in Osaka's early break in the second.

Osaka saved two match points when serving to stay in the contest, but not a third, planting a backhand wide.

Considering Vondrousova reached the French Open final two years ago, in front of packed grandstands rather than the empty seats in Tokyo, it was no surprise she hesitated when asked whether this win over Osaka was the biggest of her career. It probably doesn't have that cachet, good a win though it was.

"Of course it's one of the biggest," Vondrousova said.

"Naomi is a great player, she has so many grand slams, so I knew it would be a tough match. But I'm just very happy with my play. I played amazingly in the first set, and then the second set was really tough. I'm just happy to be through.

"I think she was struggling a bit with my serving. Also, I use drop-shots very well. I'm just very happy with my game today."

She faces Spain Paula Badosa next and said: "It's very open now. I think every girl is playing really well. Now it's the quarter-final, so we'll see."


HAS SVITOLINA'S TIME ARRIVED?

A fixture in the top 10 over recent seasons, Svitolina has been unable to transfer her regular tour form onto the major stage on a consistent basis.

Maybe the Olympics will be a platform towards success on that stage, with Svitolina now the highest seed remaining in the draw, at number four. The Ukrainian is also on a high on the personal front, having married French tennis star Gael Monfils shortly before heading to Tokyo.

Two semi-finals, at Wimbledon and the US Open in 2019, have been her deepest runs in the majors, and this season has been one of diminishing returns, with a fourth-round run in Australia followed by a third-round Roland Garros exit and a round-two loss at Wimbledon.

Svitolina beat Maria Sakkari of Greece 5-7 6-3 6-4 on Tuesday, setting up a quarter-final against Italian Camila Giorgi who won 6-4 6-2 against Wimbledon runner-up Karolina Pliskova.

"I don't think I'm a favourite because there are lots of good players here and everyone is quite equal," Svitolina said.


A MUG SHOT?

Should Spain's Garbine Muguruza be considered the favourite from this point? With French Open and Wimbledon titles in her trophy room, Muguruza has shown she has what it takes to triumph on a big stage, and a clinical 6-4 6-1 win over Belgian Alison Van Uytvanck on Tuesday was just the job.

She goes on to face Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan, who edged past Croatian Donna Vekic.

Belinda Bencic of Switzerland caused a surprise by ousting the in-form reigning French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova, springing a 1-6 6-2 6-3 win that means there will be no repeat of the Roland Garros final in the quarter-finals.

That had been on the cards, but Bencic will be the player who takes on Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova for a place in the final four.

Pavlyuchenkova scored an impressive 6-1 6-3 victory over Sara Sorribes Tormo of Spain, the player who knocked out Barty in round one.

Russian Olympic Committee's Pavyluchenkova is looking to harness the form that took her to a maiden slam final, describing her Paris run as "a great experience to have".

"But every week is a new week and this is a new event," said the 30-year-old. "The Olympic Games is a very special event. It's different. It's nothing like the others."

Barbora Krejcikova felt the guiding hand of Jana Novotna influence her stunning 7-5 4-6 9-7 Roland Garros victory over Maria Sakkari as the former doubles expert reached a first singles grand slam final.

Five times a slam winner in doubles, in which she is a former world number one, Krejcikova has diverted a large part of her focus to singles.

Novotna – the former Wimbledon champion and two-time French Open semi-finalist – helped to coach and mentor Krejcikova in the early stages of her professional career.

The death of Novotna from cancer in 2017 hit Krejcikova and many others in tennis hard, yet the rookie finalist continues to feel her fellow Czech is watching out for her.

"When I'm on court, I only think about tennis. I don't really think about anything else. So I was just thinking about tennis," Krejcikova said.

"I was just thinking about next ball, thinking where she's going to serve, where I should serve, what shot should I play, where should I place the ball.

"I don't really think about the things from outside. It's something actually she taught me. I just try to do that.

"Like every time before the match or after the match I just feel like she's there, she's looking after me."

Sakkari had a match point when 5-3 ahead in the third set against Krejcikova but the 17th seed went on to lose in Thursday's chaotic battle.

When that big chance came her way, the Greek player floated a short backhand that Krejcikova smashed away with a nerveless drive volley.

"I have to be deadly honest: I got stressed," Sakkari said. "I was starting thinking that I'm a point away from being in the final. I guess it's a rookie mistake."

There was a reprieve late in the decider for Sakkari when a shot of hers landed out and was signalled as being out, but the chair umpire overruled, incorrectly. That was on a match point for Krejcikova, who had to rein back her excitement and play another point.

"At that moment I was just like, 'Well, it's out, but what can you do?'," Krejcikova said.

On Saturday, Krejcikova faces the biggest match of her life, against fellow pre-tournament long shot, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

The world number 32 and 33 will meet in the biggest women's match of the clay-court season, an outcome nobody expected.

Krejcikova won her first career singles title in the lead-up to this fortnight, triumphing impressively in Strasbourg.

She has a French Open title already in her back pocket, having landed the women's doubles with Katerina Siniakova in 2018.

There could yet be a twin title success for Krejcikova this weekend, as the 25-year-old and Siniakova have a doubles semi-final ahead of them on Friday.

"I always wanted to play tournaments like this, big tournaments, big opponents, last rounds," Krejcikova said, speaking of her new-found singles prowess.

"It was just taking so long. It just took me some time, but I think right now it's actually the right moment. Especially mentally, I think I'm just there.

"I really matured. I just really appreciate things a lot, especially after what I've gone through, also with this pandemic and everything."

Barbora Krejcikova reached her first grand slam final as she beat Maria Sakkari in a chaotic and error-strewn French Open last-four battle.

Sakkari, who defeated defending champion Iga Swiatek in the quarters, could not capitalise on a match point as she missed out on becoming the first Greek woman to reach the final of a tennis major.

World number 33 Krejcikova, a title winner in Strasbourg before this remarkable Roland Garros run, overcame her own inconsistency to edge through 7-5 4-6 9-7 in three hours and 18 minutes.

The 25-year-old will face another maiden major finalist in the form of Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who defeated Tamara Zidansek in much more routine fashion earlier.

"I always wanted to play a match like this," Krejcikova said of her semi-final win. "Such a challenging match, both had chances, both playing so well, but only one can win. Even if I'd lost today, I'd have been very proud of myself. Fighting is the most important thing."

Krejcikova certainly did have to battle hard, coming back from two breaks down to clinch an enthralling opening set which would set the tone for what was to follow.

Sakkari responded in fierce fashion, and seemed destined to claim a second-set bagel at 4-0 up, yet Krejcikova had other ideas, and three games later she was a break away from restoring parity.

The break did not come, however, with Sakkari holding to love. The Greek's first set point was wasted with a dreadful forehand effort, but she set up a decider at the third time of asking, leaping across the court in celebration, much to the delight of a partisan crowd.

Krejcikova made her opponent wait with a lengthy stoppage between the sets, and Sakkari's momentum appeared to have been dashed as the Czech held to race into a lead.

But Sakkari's composure returned – she dropped a deft touch shot over the net to hold, before capitalising on Krejcikova's sloppiness to make it 3-1.

Krejcikova dragged herself back again, some sensational, down-the-line backhands frustrating Sakkari, who did nevertheless move to within a game of victory.

Once more, Krejcikova refused to roll over, and a dreadful drop shot handed her a reprieve.

Krejcikova took full advantage but saw three match points go begging as Sakkari took her turn to bounce back from the brink.

Victory looked to have been assured when Sakkari sent a forehand long, only for the chair umpire to incorrectly rule the shot as in, but in a remarkable show of resilience, Krejcikova fittingly hammered a backhand down the line to seal a hard-earned victory.

 

Data Slam: Sakkari's trips to the net prove her downfall

The Greek seemed reluctant all match to take steps towards the net, instead relying on some thunderous efforts from the baseline.

Perhaps her reluctance was justified, as she missed three presentable opportunities for points when she did charge forward, playing some woefully executed drop shots, finishing with five out of eight points at the net, as opposed to 13 from 17 for Krejcikova.

In total, both players clocked up over 50 unforced errors.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Krejcikova – 31/58
Sakkari – 27/53

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Krejcikova – 5/5
Sakkari – 2/3

BREAK POINTS WON

Krejcikova – 7/15
Sakkari – 6/11

Iga Swiatek blamed a gruelling recent schedule after her French Open defence ended in a shock quarter-final defeat to Maria Sakkari.

The Pole came into Wednesday's last eight match having won her last 22 sets at Roland Garros, but lost 6-4 6-4 to the competition's 17th seed.

Swiatek headed to Paris full of confidence after winning on clay in Rome two weeks prior, and she had also helped Bethanie Mattek-Sands into the semi-finals of this year's doubles.

However, the world number nine believes she may have paid the price for all that tennis in the form of a lacklustre display against Sakkari.

She said: "Well, obviously I didn't play my best tennis. That's for sure. But Maria did a good job with playing at my forehand, which wasn't working pretty well today.

"It's good for her that she saw that. She picked good tactics, for sure. I struggled with picking the right place where to play. I couldn't play some shots that usually give me points.

"Yeah, my balls weren't, like, really deep and heavy. Basically that's my biggest weapon, so it was really hard to play without that.

"Also, you know, I think, like, past couple weeks hit me kind of yesterday. I just didn't have good days, I couldn't do like physical recovery well because I was stressed. Days like that happen, and it's normal."

Swiatek left the court for treatment on her thigh after losing the first set, but she refused to blame that issue for her defeat.

She added: "Right now I know it's nothing serious. When I was on court, I felt it totally differently. As I said, I couldn't even sleep well yesterday. I slept like a few hours.

"I think I was feeling everything twice as much as I should. It was hard to rationally just see what's going on. I made the decision to tape it just to feel sure [to give] me, like, a little bit more confidence when I was moving.

"Still my reaction was bad. I didn't play well, like, tactically and also technically. I was on my heels, so it's hard to make something of that kind of game."

Sakkari, meanwhile, revealed that her commitment to simply enjoying Wednesday's match helped her secure a maiden Grand Slam semi-final berth.

She said: "I'm speechless - it is a dream come true. It is a very nice feeling, I couldn't have done it without my team and their support so I want to thank them.

"We still have a long way to go of course [if we want to win the tournament] but we made a huge step.

"I'm not going to tell you the game plan of course because we will play again [against Swiatek] for sure! So I'm not gonna say our little secrets!

"But I really enjoyed it. Before coming into the match I just sat down and spoke to myself and said it is a very important match but just enjoy it - playing at one of the best stadiums in the world. So I have enjoyed it."

Greece boasts two semi-finalists in this year's French Open after Stefanos Tsitsipas also progressed to the last four of the men's draw.

And Sakkari believes the sport may even have overtaken football and basketball in terms of popularity back in her homeland.

She continued: "Now it's probably the biggest sport these days. Football is over. Basketball is over. So tennis is in the spotlight.

"Yeah, with Stefanos, I mean, we're very close. We know each other since a very young age. I mean, I see him every day here. We're actually having dinner with our teams next to each other every night.

"I'm very, very happy for him and his family. It's very exciting times for Greek tennis."

Iga Swiatek saw the defence of her French Open title ended by a rampant Maria Sakkari in Paris.

Number 17 seed Sakkari was playing in her first grand slam quarter-final but showed no signs of nerves as she closed out a 6-4 6-4 victory against last year's champion in one hour and 35 minutes.

Sakkari will play unseeded Barbora Krejcikova in what will be a first major semi-final appearance for both players.

It was a scrappy start to the contest with both players struggling to establish a rhythm on serve.

Early breaks were exchanged before Sakkari had to save four break points in her next game to avoid another and Swiatek then fended off three in the next.

Sakkari looked a different player from then on as she seized control. At 4-4, a powerful forehand winner gave her two break points and she claimed the first of them.

After a first opportunity to move ahead was not taken as she served for the set, two big serves saved a break point and gave her another chance that was taken with a fine backhand, prompting huge emotion from the Greek.

Sakkari had the momentum and went 2-0 up in the second set, at which point Swiatek called for a medical timeout that resulted in a 10-minute delay.

After emerging with strapping on her right thigh, Swiatek looked more confident on her return, holding confidently before saving two break points in her next service game to remain in contention.

But Sakkari was undeterred, serving superbly and not allowing a single break-point opportunity in the second set, clinching a famous triumph that brought tears to her eyes with her third match point.

Data Slam: Swiatek streak ends

Having not dropped a set in any round of her successful campaign last year or in her four victories in 2021, Swiatek saw her streak of winning 22 consecutive sets in Paris abruptly halted. 

Still just 20, Swiatek will have many more opportunities but this result will have come as a shock to the system.

 

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Sakkari – 26/24
Swiatek – 17/25

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Sakkari – 5/2
Swiatek – 0/2

BREAK POINTS WON
Sakkari – 3/8
Swiatek – 1/6

Iga Swiatek is the only top-10 player remaining in the women's singles draw at the French Open after Maria Sakkari beat Sofia Kenin in straight sets.

Sakkari moved into the quarter-finals of a grand slam for the first time with an emphatic 6-1 6-3 defeat of last year's runner-up Kenin on Monday.

Greek 17th seed Sakkari will face either defending champion Swiatek or Marta Kostyuk in the last eight at Roland Garros.

The 25-year-old is the first Greek woman to reach a grand slam quarter-final in the Open Era.

World number four Kenin made 32 unforced errors and racked up nine double faults in a one-sided contest on Court Suzanne-Lenglen.

Sakkari broke the 2020 Australian Open champion, beaten by Swiatek in the 2020 final, six times and lost just four points on her first serve to march into the last eight.

Coco Gauff, 17, earlier became the youngest grand slam quarter-finalist for 15 years by beating Ons Jabeur 6-3 6-1, while Barbora Krejcikova thrashed Sloane Stephens 6-2 6-0 in Paris.

Petra Kvitova recovered from a poor start to beat Magda Linette in the first round of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia on Monday.

Linette took just 31 minutes to win the first set in Rome, but world number 10 Kvitova responded superbly to win 1-6 6-0 6-2.

Two-time grand slam champion Kvitova racked up 16 unforced errors in the first set, yet rallied like the great competitor she has proved to be for so long to ensure she will face Vera Zvonareva - conqueror of Christina McHale - in the second round.

The 11th seed from the Czech Republic said: "The first set I started very badly. I was missing almost everything. On the court... [the ball] was bouncing everywhere as well. A little bit windy. I just had to get used to probably everything.

"The beginning of the second set when finally I held my serve and broke her serve, I think since then it was much, much better."

French Open champion Iga Swiatek advanced when Alison Riske retired at 5-4 down in the first set due to a recurrence of a left foot injury.

Swiatek, who will take on Sloane Stephens or Madison Keys in the second round, made 18 unforced errors but had won four games in a row from 4-1 down when the American was unable to continue. 

Coco Gauff battled past Yulia Putintseva 7-5 4-6 6-4 to set up a meeting with 17th seed Maria Sakkari  - who fended off qualifier Polona Hercog 7-6 (8-6) 3-6 6-2.

Amanda Anisimova will do battle with Elina Svitolina, a winner of this tournament twice, after defeating Wang Qiang 7-5 6-3. Jessie Pegula, Jennifer Brady and Petra Martic were among the other winners on day one.

Naomi Osaka quickly adapted to playing again on clay as she was among the seeds to triumph in Friday's action at the Madrid Open.

Osaka had not featured on the red dirt since a third-round exit at the 2019 French Open, missing out on competing on the surface last year due to injury.

This year's Australian Open champion stumbled out of the blocks against Misaki Doi, quickly falling 3-0 behind in the opener, but recovered from the early setback to prevail in straight sets.

The second seed hit 26 winners in a 7-5 6-2 triumph over her compatriot, who has now lost all three of their meetings on the WTA Tour.

"You obviously want to play well against a player that's from the same country," Osaka said.

"I never really know what to expect because I feel like she always plays better when I play against her, so it's a bit tough to manage controlling my emotions. But I think I was able to do it pretty well."

Simona Halep also won in her opener at the event, the third seed racing through the first set before holding off a fightback from Sara Sorribes Tormo in the second.

Halep – who needed 83 minutes to clinch a 6-0 7-5 victory – has been crowned champion twice in Madrid, the first time coming in 2016 before she returned a year later to successfully defend the title.

Aryna Sabalenka wasted little time in seeing off the challenge of Vera Zvonareva, the fifth seed producing 37 winners in a 6-1 6-2 win, her first ever in the event.

Maria Sakkari found the going much tougher before eventually ousting Amanda Anisimova, losing the first seven games in a row before rallying for a 0-6 6-1 6-4 triumph.

Daria Kasatkina was also pushed in her opener, with a 4-6 6-4 7-6 (7-1) win over Irina-Camelia Begu taking just over three hours.

Karolina Pliskova had to go the distance after falling a set behind against Coco Gauff, while two-time finalist Victoria Azarenka came out on top in a deciding set against Ekaterina Alexandrova.

In the final match on a busy day, Jennifer Brady won 6-2 6-4 in an all-American clash with Venus Williams.  

World number one Ashleigh Barty maintained her winning run in Miami with her best performance of the 2021 tournament to date dispatching of Elina Svitolina to book a spot in the final.

Barty defeated fifth seed Svitolina 6-3 6-3 in Thursday's semi-final, hitting 27 winners and breaking her Ukrainian opponent five times.

The Australian had been down a match point in her opening clash of this year's Miami Open against Kristina Kucova but the 2019 champion has responded to every challenge since.

However, Barty needed three sets to overcome both Victoria Azarenka and Aryna Sabalenka in earlier rounds before making more light work of Svitolina to make it 11 straight wins in Miami, given 2020's event was cancelled.

Barty will play 2019 US Open winner Bianca Andreescu in Saturday's final after she defeated Naomi Osaka's conqueror Maria Sakkari 7-6 (9-7) 3-6 7-6 (7-4) in Thursday's other semi-final.

"Yeah, I think it was," Barty said in her on-court interview when asked if it was her best match of the tournament.

"I think [with] Elina, you have to produce your best tennis. Happy with the way we were able to execute today."

Svitolina went into the match with a 5-1 head-to-head advantage over Barty, while the Australian had not played on foreign soil prior to the event since February 2020, opting to step away from the tour during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"With the head-to-head we had, I almost see myself as the underdog, I really do," Barty said.

"It gives me the chance to go out there and play with freedom. To play not careless but carefree tennis."

Barty has reinforced her world number one ranking from Osaka, who lost to Sakkari in the quarters, by progressing this far although adding a second Miami Open title will be top priority.

The 24-year-old 2019 French Open champion had a medical timeout between sets to tend to a preexisting abdominal issue but said she would be fine for the decider on Saturday.

"Yeah, I was a little bit sore," she said. "I got some assistance with some tape on it. But knowing we’ve got a day to recover tomorrow, I promise you I’ll be right as rain and then we’ll be good to go."

Eighth seed Andreescu booked her place in the decider with a strong three-set victory over 23rd seed Sakkari in a match which finished in the early hours of Friday morning.

The Canadian won in two hours and 42 minutes in a match full of momentum shifts, as Andreescu won her fourth three-setter in five matches in Miami this week.

World number one Ashleigh Barty maintained her winning run in Miami with her best performance of the 2021 tournament to date dispatching of Elina Svitolina to book a spot in the final.

Barty defeated fifth seed Svitolina 6-3 6-3 in Thursday's semi-final, hitting 27 winners and breaking her Ukrainian opponent five times.

The Australian had been down a match point in her opening clash of this year's Miami Open against Kristina Kucova but the 2019 champion has responded to every challenge since.

However, Barty needed three sets to overcome both Victoria Azarenka and Aryna Sabalenka in earlier rounds before making more light work of Svitolina to make it 11 straight wins in Miami, given 2020's event was cancelled.

Barty will play 2019 U.S. Open winner Bianca Andreescu in Saturday's final after she defeated Naomi Osaka's conqueror Maria Sakkari 7-6 (9-7) 3-6 7-6 (7-4) in Thursday's other semi-final.

"Yeah, I think it was," Barty said in her on-court interview when asked if it was her best match of the tournament.

"I think [with] Elina, you have to produce your best tennis. Happy with the way we were able to execute today."

Svitolina went into the match with a 5-1 head-to-head advantage over Barty, while the Australian had not played on foreign soil prior to the event since February 2020, opting to step away from the tour during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"With the head-to-head we had, I almost see myself as the underdog, I really do," Barty said.

"It gives me the chance to go out there and play with freedom. To play not careless but carefree tennis."

Barty has reinforced her world number one ranking from Osaka, who lost to Sakkari in the quarters, by progressing this far although adding a second Miami Open title will be top priority.

The 24-year-old 2019 French Open champion had a medical timeout between sets to tend to a preexisting abdominal issue but said she would be fine for the decider on Saturday.

"Yeah, I was a little bit sore," she said. "I got some assistance with some tape on it. But knowing we’ve got a day to recover tomorrow, I promise you I’ll be right as rain and then we’ll be good to go."

Eighth seed Andreescu booked her place in the decider with a strong three-set victory over 23rd seed Sakkari in a match which finished in the early hours of Friday morning.

The Canadian won in two hours and 42 minutes in a match full of momentum shifts, as Andreescu won her fourth three-setter in five matches in Miami this week.

Maria Sakkari insisted there was still room for improvement despite ending Naomi Osaka's 23-match winning streak in stunning fashion at the Miami Open.

Osaka had not lost for over a year prior to Wednesday's outing, putting together the ninth-longest unbeaten run seen on the WTA Tour since the start of 2000.

However, this year's Australian Open champion was simply unable to match her opponent's high standards in their quarter-final clash, resulting in a 6-0 6-4 triumph for the excellent Sakkari.

World number 25 Sakkari had battled hard to get past Jessica Pegula in the previous round – including saving six match points – but needed just 69 minutes to see off four-time grand slam champion Osaka, who managed just five winners during her surprisingly brief stint out on court.

Afterwards, Sakkari revealed how coach Tom Hill helped devise a strategy to trouble the second seed – albeit she had to come from 3-0 down after a difficult start to the second set.

"I don't think tennis-wise it was like the best tennis I have ever played in my life," said Sakkari, according to the WTA Tour's website.

"I think I executed our strategy with Tom really well. I just did what I had to do. I'm not gonna tell you what. What we discussed before the match, I just did it most of the match, except maybe a couple of games where things didn't go right."

Osaka's previous loss was back in February 2020, when she was also beaten in straight sets by Sara Sorribes Tormo at the Billie Jean King Cup.

Since then, she has won last year's US Open and then the first grand slam in 2021, though the loss to Sakkari did not come as a complete surprise to her having struggled for rhythm in Miami.

"She's a really big fighter so I knew it wasn't going to be easy. I felt like I haven't been playing well this whole tournament," Osaka said.

"I couldn't find a groove, so mentally it's really hard for me to play against really high-quality players with what I feel is low-quality tennis."

Next up for Sakkari in the semi-finals is another former grand slam champion – Bianca Andreescu.

Triumphant at Flushing Meadows in 2019, eighth seed Andreescu outlasted Sorribes Tormo 6-4 3-6 6-3 in the day's final match at the WTA Premier event.

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