Bianca Andreescu fought off two set points in the first set and battled back from 4-2 down in the third to survive Maria Sakkari, 7-6 (7), 3-6, 7-6 (4), at 1:35 a.m. local time Friday to reach the Miami Open final.
Andreescu, into her first championship clash since triumphing at the 2019 US Open, will play No. 1-ranked Ashleigh Barty for the first time for the WTA 1000 title on Saturday.
“Yeah, I’ve wanted to play her for a long time now, so I’m super excited for that,” the world No. 9 said. “I know it’ll be a really tough match, but I’m really looking forward to it.”
Her semifinal with Sakkari, which began late Thursday night, was full of momentum swings. It started right away in the first set, where Andreescu let a 4-1 lead slip away and faced two set points in the tie-break, down 6-5 and 7-6. She saved the first one with an unreturnable serve out wide and the second with a barrage of big backhands, then rifled a crosscourt backhand winner to sneak out the first set after exactly an hour.
The Canadian then opened up a 3-1 lead in the second set—but that’s where things turned again.
Sakkari would win five straight games, and nine of the next 11, to not only take the second set, but build a 4-2 lead in the decider. Andreescu dug in, winning the next three games to go up 5-4, but Sakkari struck right back, holding for 5-all—then breaking for 6-5 and a chance to serve out the match.
But there was one last twist in the story, as Andreescu broke at love to take it to a third set tie-break and eventually closed out the two-hour, 42-minute marathon on her third match point.
“Against her I had no choice but to run to everything that I could and just fight until the end, because that’s what she was doing,” Andreescu said. “She was really taking control of the points a lot of the time, and it was really tough, I’m not going to lie—and my whole game plan was to try to do that, because I knew she was going to do that, and it could have been either of us winning tonight.
“I’m just super happy that I pulled through that.”
Sakkari finished with three more winners, 25 to 22, but six more unforced errors, 52 to 46. The Greek also won more points in the match, 113 to 109—but the Canadian won when it counted most.
Andreescu has now won 24 of her last 26 matches at WTA 1000s and 33 of her last 34 at all levels in North America. She’ll be going for her fourth WTA title, the first three all coming at the WTA 1000 level or higher—her major breakthrough at Flushing Meadows and two WTA 1000s at Indian Wells and Toronto, all in 2019.
And the 20-year-old won’t just be battling Barty for the first time—she’ll be playing a No. 1 for the first time. Andreescu owns an 8-3 mark against Top 10 players, but hasn’t faced one since 2019.