As noteworthy that accomplishment is, the win produced another significant milestone: On Monday, Barty will be a member of the WTA Top 10 in singles for the first time, further cementing her return to the game as one of the more impressive in recent years.
Only 22 years old, Barty is already in the second phase of her professional life. After a standout junior career, the Australian would go on to reach three Grand Slam doubles finals at the senior level with countrywoman Casey Dellacqua before she turned 18.
Unable to break through in singles and citing burnout, Barty decided to step away from the game in 2014, with her next foray into the sports realm an unusual one: She took up cricket and competed professionally.
Returning to tennis in 2016, Barty made gradual strides and in 2017, the comeback was in full effect as she captured her first singles title in Kuala Lumpur. She also won the doubles title there with Dellacqua and those two would go on to reach the French Open final, as well, giving them championship appearances at all four majors.
Finishing that season in the Top 20 in both disciplines, Barty went even further last year, claiming two singles titles and her first Grand Slam in doubles at the US Open, one of four she won in that discipline in 2018.
So far in 2019, the upward swing has continued: Barty reached the singles final in Sydney, then followed that up with her debut Grand Slam quarterfinal finish in Melbourne. In both of her losses in those tournaments, it was Kvitova who stopped her charge: The two-time Wimbledon winner edged her out in a third-set tiebreaker in the title bout, then won a more straightforward match at the Australian Open.
As she’s consistently shown the past couple of years, though, Barty made the necessary adjustments to top Kvitova for the first time in Miami, denying the Czech in her outright pursuit of the No. 1 spot. Barty’s not done yet as she’ll be favored in her semifinal against Anett Kontaveit, the 21st seed, as they face each other for the first time.
With the race to the top in the women’s game a crowded one of late, her continued climb has put her a step closer to getting in the mix.