Ash Barty Australian Open 2021

‘I saw myself as the underdog’, says Ashleigh Barty after beating Elina Svitolina in Miami

World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty said she saw herself as the underdog against Elina Svitolina after reaching the final of the 2021 Miami Open with victory against the Ukrainian.

Barty – the defending Miami Open champion having won the 2019 edition – defeated the 26-year-old 6-3, 6-3 in the semi-finals of the WTA 1000 event on Thursday.

World No. 5 Svitolina held a 5-1 head-to-head record against the Australian heading into the encounter.

“With the head-to-head we had, I almost see myself as the underdog, I really do,” Barty said in a post-match interview.

“It gives me the chance to go out there and play with freedom. To play not careless, but carefree tennis. And just know there’s not too much riding on the result. It’s about trying to stick to the process.”

Barty received treatment for an abdominal injury between sets, on which she said: “Yeah, I was a little bit sore.

“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.”

The 24-year-old will face eighth seed Bianca Andreescu in the final on Saturday.

“I haven’t played her before, haven’t hit with her,'” Barty added on the Canadian.

“It’s a fresh one for both of us. But she’s proven time and time again that she loves the big matches, loves the big tournaments, and has the game and the physicality to win them.”