Miami, Ricky Dimon
Rafael Nadal and Fernando Verdasco won their opening match at the Miami Open on Thursday evening, beating Simone Bolelli and Andreas Seppi 6-3, 6-4.
Nadal and Verdasco needed one hour and nine minutes to set up a showdown against the American duo of John Isner and Nicholas Monroe.
The all-Spanish pairing took control with a service break at 2-2 in the first set when Nadal chose to return on the deuce point and started it nicely with a stellar backhand return. The Spaniards broke again at 5-3 to finish off the opening frame of play in style.
Bolelli and Seppi appeared to be on their way out after donating serve at 0-1 in the second. Out of nowhere, however, Verdasco stumbled through the following service game with a flurry of errors and one double-fault to let the Italians back in the match. Bolelli soon found himself serving to stay in the match at 4-5, at which point another deuce situation ensued. Verdasco got a shot at it this time and sent back a strong return that induced a match-ending error.
Isner and Monroe pulled off an upset in an all-North American showdown against Jack Sock and Vasek Pospisil. The former UGA Bulldog and UNC Tar Heel saved 11 of 12 break points on their way to a 7-6(3), 6-3 victory. Sock and Pospisil, who finished runner-up in Indian Wells, won a horrendous 60 percent of the points when they put their first serves in the court.
As the first round of singles action wrapped up, Denis Istomin produced a shocking comeback at the expense of Borna Coric. Istomin had not won a single match all season long and it looked like more of the same would continue when Coric served for the match at 5-4 in the second set. The 19-year-old Croat twice came within two points of victory, at 30-15 and 30-30 at 5-4. But Istomin broke back to stay alive and then broke again to force a third.
It was soon Coric’s turn to battle back from a break deficit, which the world No. 46 did at 1-3. A streak of holds brought the proceedings to a 6-5 Istomin advantage and Coric buckled under the pressure when he served to stay in the match for a second time. Istomin broke at love to clinch a 4-6, 7-5, 7-5 triumph after two hours and 45 minutes.
Among those joining the Uzbek in round two were Tim Smyczek, Denis Kudla, Sergiy Stakhovsky, and Pierre-Hugues Herbert.