This year has seen an air of unpredictability in tennis with 14 different female winners from the 14 tour titles played so far and Saturday’s womens final was no different. Defending Champion Sloane Stephens early exit at the 3rd round invariably meant that a new champion would be crowned this year at the premier mandatory ATP tour event (the next biggest tour event outside the four major gland slams) .In the run up to the finals, Pliskova was deemed favourite as she had won the most matches on tour in 2019 with 21 wins. The champion at the end of the day was 22-year old Aussie Ashleigh Barty who defeated 27-year old Czech Karolina pliskova 7-6 (7-1), 6-3 to win the $1.3 million cash prize.
It was a double victory for the tennis Prodigy who took a break from the sport 5 years ago, citing burnout and stress on the ATP circuit. She swapped her tennis rackets for cricket bats, playing cricket for a Bribane outfit before making her return in February 2016. Since her return she has discovered the type of form that earned her a junior Wimbledon title in 2011 at 15 years and seems to be enjoying her best years in the game.
This win follows her U.S open doubles title she won September last year and she was able to revenge her quarter final exit at the Australian open at the hands of Petra kvitova by eliminating the latter in the quarter finals of this year’s Miami open. It’s certainly a rosy time for Barty who now climbs to 9th position on the WTA rankings, becoming the first Aussie since Sam Stosur in 2013 to break into the top 10 rankings. Karolina Pliskova despite her loss will move up to world number 4 after a pretty descent run in 2019 so far.
BY BRYAN ODIGWE