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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Thursday April 1, 2021

 
Bianca Andreescu

Bianca Andreescu edged Maria Sakkari in a third-set tiebreaker to reach the Miami Open final for the first time.

Photo Source: Getty

The scorelines keep getting closer but the result remains the same: Bianca Andreescu battled through her fourth consecutive three-setter on Thursday night at the Miami Open, edging a very game Maria Sakkari 7-6(7), 3-6, 7-6(4) to book a date with reigning No.1 and defending champion Ashleigh Barty in Saturday’s final.

Tennis Express

It was a wild back-and-forth contest that saw Sakkari serve for the victory as the clock aproached the three hour mark. But in the end Andreescu displayed her big-match, big-moment prowess and finished strong.

"I have a lot of experience in these tough three-setters and digging through and finding a way," Andreescu told reporters in a zoom press conference after the match. "Sometimes I literally feel like I'm an octopus out there running side to side, I feel like I have eight legs. It's insane. Sometimes I don't even know how I get to some shots. But it's that fighting spirit I have always had in me, never giving up."

The Canadian, playing in just her third WTA event since taking 2020 off due to injuries, has proven that she is able to grind out difficult victories against some of the best talents on tour, and her success so soon in her comeback says a lot about the level of game Andreescu possesses, and her champion’s mentality.


Andreescu had her back against the wall on several occasions on Friday, but demonstrated her ability to deliver in the clutch when she needed it most. She saved two set points to close out the first set tiebreaker, and looked to be headed to a relatively uncomplicated victory when she lead by a break in set two.

But the steely Sakkari, who had saved six match points in her round of 16 victory over Jessica Pegula, and then put the kibosh on Naomi Osaka’s 23-match winning streak in the quarterfinals, would not relent.

Sakkari had the break at 4-2 in the third set before Andreescu reeled off three games to lead 5-4. But Sakkari held serve at love to level and broke again for 6-5. It was only a temporary speed bump for Andreescu, who responded in kind with a break to love to force a tiebreaker.

"Through experience you learn to find ways to deal with circumstances like this," she said. "It's really showing. Like me playing with my back against the wall really brings out my best tennis."

Sakkari took the first point but she soon fell behind 6-2. She saved a pair of match points but Andreescu finished the deal on her third, booking her seventh three-set win of the season out of the eight deciders she has played

Andreescu will face Barty for the first time and told reporters in a 3 AM press conference that she is very much looking forward to the challenge.

What makes the matchup exciting? She was asked by Courtney Nguyen, WTA Insider:

"Her being No. 1 and her doing really, really well," Andreescu said. "Her game style, as well. It's something I have never really experienced, you know. I love a challenge, and I know she's going to challenge me on Saturday, so it's a mixture of everything."


 

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