Ashleigh Barty plays a backhand in Miami Gardens, Florida. Agence France-Presse
MIAMI GARDENS: Ashleigh Barty walked away from Tennis about five years ago, saying she was basically burned out at 17.
She returned three years ago.
And now at 22, she's better than ever.
The 12th-seeded Barty has reached her first Miami Open final, enduring three rain delays on Thursday to oust 21st-seeded Anett Kontaveit 6-3, 6-3 in the first women's semifinal.
Next up in the biggest final of her singles career: Either second-seeded Simona Halep or fifth-seeded Karolina Pliskova, who were scheduled to play late Thursday night.
"Obviously, I've been doing the right things throughout the week to put be able to put myself in a position to play for a title," Barty said. "You have to go out there and embrace it."
That was also her approach to a very long - and very wet - day at Hard Rock Stadium.
Barty, who will rise to a career-best No. 9 in the world ranking next week, was to take the court for the semifinal against Kontaveit at 1 p.m. They didn't begin play until 2:08, and the delays were just getting started.
They got three games - six minutes of Tennis - in before the first in-match delay stopped things for more than two hours. They got another game in before more rain arrived, prompting another two-hour delay.
At 7:32 p.m., finally, it ended. Kontaveit fended off one match point with a forehand drop shot, but was ousted by an ace on the following point. Barty was down 3-1 in the second, but won the final five games.
"Very long day," said Barty, who passed the time in the locker room by drinking coffee and watching golf. "But for me, it's an opportunity to come out and play another match. We can't control the weather."
Barty has already beaten both Halep and Pliskova in her career - but given the seeds and the respective rankings, she won't be the favorite come Saturday.
And she's fine with that.
"I can go in there and play with freedom and try to play my best Tennis," Barty said.
Roger Federer is preparing himself for a barrage of Kevin Anderson big serves after the Swiss superstar sealed his place in the ATP and WTA Miami Open quarter-finals in just 61 minutes on Wednesday.
Roger Federer jumped up one spot to fourth in the ATP rankings released on Monday after capturing his 101st career title with his victory over John Isner in Miami.
Roger Federer admits he faces a real battle to land the 101st title of his career with the in-form Daniil Medvedev next up after Serbian Filip Krajinovic was dispatched 7-5 6-3 on Monday at the ATP and WTA Miami Open. The Swiss superstar produced an excellent all-round performance despite being tested by the world number 103 who belied his lowly ranking by producing some excellent tennis during an exciting first set.
A tearful Kevin Muscat quit as Melbourne Victory head coach by mutual agreement on Monday, ending his 14-year association with the A-League powerhouse. “It’s clearly an emotional time,
Rafael Nadal defeated Novak Djokovic 6-0, 4-6, 6-1 to win a ninth Italian Open title and a record 34rd Masters crown on Sunday.
World number one Djokovic, winner at the Madrid Open last week, produced an error-strewn performance in his 54th meeting with second-ranked Nadal, who claimed the 81st title of his career.
Leeds: Chris Woakes took five wickets as England beat Pakistan by 54 runs to win the fifth one-day international at Headingley on Sunday. Victory, in their final match before the World Cup hosts and favourites name their tournament squad on Tuesday, saw England to a 4-0 series win after the first match was washed out.
Belgian defender Vincent Kompany said on Sunday he would be leaving Manchester City and joining Anderlecht as player-manager after helping the Premier League club to become the first team to win the English domestic treble. Club captain Kompany, 33, leaves having won four Premier League titles, two FA Cups and four League Cups with City.