BY RAJDEEP SINGH PURI
Ashleigh Barty's spectacular start to the 2019 season continued as she claimed the biggest title of her career so far at the Miami Open.
The 22-year-old Australian defeated world No.4 Karolina Pliskova in straight sets 7-6 (7-1), 6-3 to lift the trophy in front of a packed stadium.
She found herself a break down early in the first set but then fought back to break Pliskova's serve in the sixth game and then went on to dominate the tie-break, losing just one point.
The second set was a lot more straightforward for the young Aussie as she broke Pliskova early on and managed to hold on to her serve for the rest of the set, winning the match.
In the post-match presentation ceremony, Barty said it was "important for me to try to make it physical".
"Kaja has the ability to really hit you off the court and take it away from you, so I knew I had to have my running shoes on today to try and make as many balls as possible."
With this win, Barty also became the first Australian since Sam Stosur in 2013 and only the second Australian in the past decade to enter the top 10 in the WTA rankings.
In January, she had reached the quarter-final of the Australian Open for the first time in her career, losing to Petra Kvitova in straight sets.