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Barty advances to 4th round at Miami by beating Ostapenko

TENNIS: MAR 27 Miami Open

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - MARCH 27: Ashleigh Barty (AUS) during the third round match of the Miami Open on March 27, 2021, at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Michele Eve Sandberg/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

MIAMI -- Top-ranked Ash Barty advanced to the fourth round at the Miami Open by beating Jelena Ostapenko 6-3, 6-2.

Barty had a much easier time than in the previous round, when she saved a match point to beat qualifier Kristina Kucova. That was Barty’s first match away from her native Australian since February 2020.

She kept Ostapenko on the move and on the defensive, pulling her in and moving her from side to side.

Barty is the defending champion as the 2019 winner. The tournament was canceled last year at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Her potential path to the final became easier when No. 3-seeded Simona Halep withdrew before her third-round match because of a right shoulder injury.

“I wanted to come here to give my best and play many matches, but unfortunately I can’t,” Halep said in a statement.

Halep earned her 400th career win with a comeback victory over Caroline Garcia in the second round. She had been scheduled to next meet Anastasija Sevastova, who advanced to the fourth round.