Tennis-Ash Barty
World No.1 Ash Barty was unstoppable as she fired 27 winners on way to her semi-final win over Elina Svitolina on Thursday. Image Credit: AFP

Miami: World number one Ashleigh Barty bucked the upset trend at the Miami Open on Thursday, rolling into the women’s final as men’s second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas was toppled by Hurbert Hurkacz.

Australia’s Barty fired 27 winners in a 6-3, 6-3 victory over fifth-seeded Ukrainian Elina Svitolina to return to the title match of a tournament she won when it was last held in 2019.

But Greece’s Tsitsipas was left trying to explain a “self-explosion” after he squandered a commanding lead in a 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 quarter-final loss to 26th seed Hurkacz of Poland - the latest in a string of upsets that saw men’s top seed Daniil Medvedev and No. 3 Alexander Zverev bow out along with women’s No. 2 Naomi Osaka.

Tsitsipas admitted it was a crushing outcome in a tournament where the absences of superstars Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer and his own recent solid form seemed to offer him a chance to shine.

“I felt like it was my opportunity,” Tsitsipas said. “I feel like there was more space for me to show something greater. It’s a very disappointing loss.

“It was there, everything was under control. And suddenly, I don’t know, self-explosion.”

Tsitsipas exited the tournament after a tense encounter that saw the 22-year-old Greek given a time violation after the second set for taking too long to change his shirt and headband.

It was there, everything was under control. And suddenly, I don’t know, self-explosion

- Stefanos Tsitsipas after his defeat

The world number five was also reportedly involved in a tense exchange with officials before the match after refusing to share a golf cart with Hurkacz used to ferry players to the court.

There was no sign that incident had unsettled Tsitsipas early on, however, as he dominated a one-sided first set to win 6-2.

Tsitsipas then quickly broke Hurkacz at the start of the second on the way to a 2-0 lead.

But just when it appeared the match was heading for a brisk conclusion, Hurkacz finally found his range.

After staving off two break points at 15-40 in the third game, Hurkacz went on to hold and then broke to level the set at 2-2 - a lost opportunity that demoralized Tsitsipas.

Another break of serve in the eighth game put Hurkacz 5-3 up and he made no mistakes on his next service game, clinching the set with an angled drop shot that left Tsitsipas scrambling to the net.

In the semis, Hurkacz will face Russian fourth seed Andrey Rublev who won a rain-interrupted quarter-final with a 7-5, 7-6 (9/7) victory over unseeded Sebastian Korda.

The 23-year-old Rublev advances to his first Masters 1000 semi-final by beating Korda in straight sets in a night match.

Rublev won the first set after several rain delays, including one return to the court that lasted for just one point.

Rublev put an end to Korda’s inspired Miami run by blasting five aces and winning 85 percent of his first serve points in the one hour, 42 minute match.

On the women’s side, Barty will face Canada’s Bianca Andreescu, who reached her first final since winning the 2019 US Open title by beating Greece’s Maria Sakkari in three sets, 7-6 (9/7), 3-6, 7-6 (7/4).