MIAMI — Top-ranked Ash Barty advanced to the fourth round at the Miami Open by beating Jelena Ostapenko 6-3, 6-2 Saturday.
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. Halep’s scheduled opponent, Anastasija Sevastova, advanced to the fourth round via walkover.
In other women’s play, 14th-seeded Victoria Azarenka beat No. 24 Angelique Kerber 7-5, 6-2. The match was Azarenka’s first this week after a bye and walkover. She won Miami in 2009, 2011 and 2016.
Wild card Ana Konjuh upset No. 15 Iga Swiatek. Konjuh’s career has been slowed by four elbow surgeries, and this week she has earned her first three wins in main-draw WTA play since 2018.
“It has been frustrating the past couple of years, just having been through all these surgeries and comebacks and just never getting it right,” Konjuh said. “So just to be back, you know, healthy and to compete at this level, it means a lot.”
No. 5 Elina Svitolina eliminated No. 30 Ekaterina Alexandrova 7-6 (1), 6-4, and No. 7 Aryna Sabalenka ousted No. 32 Veronika Kudermetova 7-6 (4), 6-4.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.