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Murray Moves On to the Semifinals at the Sony Open

Murray Moves On to the Semifinals at the Sony Open

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Andy Murray maintained his winning ways at the Sony Open. The reigning U.S. Open champion prevailed over the ninth seed Marin Cilic 6-4, 6-3.

Despite obtaining the initial break for a 2-1 lead, Cilic failed to sustain the momentum. A few more exchanges of breaks followed. After order was restored and the players arrived at 4 all, Cilic gifted his counterpart the break in a game where he committed two double faults.

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Sharapova Rolls Past Jankovic, Back in Sony Open Final

Sharapova Rolls Past Jankovic, Back in Sony Open Final

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Maria Sharapova is into her fifth Sony Open final after taking out Jelena Jankovic 6-2, 6-1 in the first women’s semifinal in Miami.

Sharapova is attempting to win her first ever title in Miami as well as completing the Indian Wells/Miami double. The last player to achieve that feat was Kim Clijsters in 2005.

“Yeah, I mean, it would be nice, but, you know, winning a title on its own, whether it’s here or Indian Wells, is a great achievement on its own”, said Sharapova. “To be able to come back from that and, you know, recover in just a few days and come back to the final here, I mean, it’s great.”

Asked about her chances in Saturday’s final Sharapova responded, “Well, it’s another final. It’s great to be putting myself in a position of this tournament to get into finals. I don’t know who has been in five finals of this event in the women’s draw, so it’s certainly, you know, a big consistent at this tournament but yet I haven’t won it, so it would mean a lot for me to be the champion here.”

A finalist in Miami in 2008, Jankovic had a quick turn over today after her match versus Vinci last night lasted over two hours.

“I served poorly today. I had a really low percentage of first serves. Overall, I wasn’t moving. I felt heavy on the court.”, said Jankovic. “I felt really tired and exhausted. So I didn’t really have enough time to recover. I finished the match last night at 11:00. I went to sleep at 1:00 by the time I came back to the hotel. Woke up early, had to play. So the schedule was tough. So today I wasn’t on the top of my game, and I wasn’t playing the way I wanted to, you know, especially on a big occasion like playing the semifinals.”

Sharapova will face either 2012 Sony Open champion Agnieszka Radwanska or Serena Williams in Saturday’s final. Radwanska faces Williams in the second semifinal match tonight in Miami.

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Haas Upsets Djokovic at Sony Open

Haas Upsets Djokovic at Sony Open

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On a bizarre night that saw temperatures plummet in Miami, Tommy Haas pulled off the upset of the tournament by defeating two-time defending Sony Open champion Novak Djokovic in straight
sets 6-2, 6-4.

“Playing against something like Novak and coming out on top at this time of my career, it’s unbelievable.”, said Haas “You know, it goes up as one of my, you know, most best wins of my career.”

Djokovic was attempting to tie the record for consecutive wins in Miami, but a slew of unforced errors from the Serbian throughout the match proved to be his downfall. Djokovic credited Haas as the better player tonight and assessed his performance in his post match interview. “Yeah, I mean, all the credit to him. He played a great match and he was the better player, no question about it.” said Djokovic. “The results show everything, you know. As far as I’m concerned, it’s definitely the worst match I have played in a long time.”

When asked to access the unseasonal conditions in Miami Djokovic responded, “I mean, conditions were really much, much different from what I have played, you know, in previous matches. Balls didn’t bounce at all.
You know, he has a quite flat shots. He used the variety really well. Yeah, it was very cold, and I just didn’t find a better solution to come back to the match.”

Earlier in the day another Serbian was upset in Miami. The number 7 seed Janko Tipsarevic was bounced from the tournament by the number 11 seed Gilles Simon in three sets 5-7, 6-2, 6-2. Haas will face Simon in Wednesday’s night session for a place in the Sony Open semi-finals.

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Murray into Forth Round at Sony Open

Murray into Forth Round at Sony Open

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Miami, FL Ricky Dimon
Absences and withdrawals have marked the 2013 Sony Open Tennis event, but Andy Murray–to name just one–is restoring order to the proceedings. Murray earned his second consecutive straight-set win by dismissing Grigor Dimitrov 7-6(3), 6-3 during third-round action on Monday afternoon.

Dimitrov, who lost to Murray in the Brisbane final earlier this season, got off to a fast start. The 21-year-old Bulgarian twice led by a break in the first set but ultimately he could not serve it out at 5-4. Dimitrov also squandered a mini-break advantage in the ensuing tiebreaker and from there he lost the second set in less dramatic fashion.

“He probably got a little bit nervous,” Murray said of Dimitrov, “and that helped me. Once I started to improve my depth a bit I made it tough for him and he started to make more mistakes after that.”

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga followed suit on the show court and hammered Jarkko Nieminen 6-3, 6-3 in one hour and five minutes. Tsonga fought off the only two break points he faced to book a fourth-round showdown against Marin Cilic.

Compared with Cilic (a straight-set victor over John Isner) and Tsonga, Tomas Berdych took a more roundabout way to the last eight. Berdych saved a match point at 3-5 in the second set with a second-serve aces and he survived another in the ensuing tiebreaker. One break in the final frame of play allowed the fourth-seeded Czech to complete his comeback win.

Ricky Dimon is a contributor in Miami and writes for TennisTalk.com. You can follow him on Twitter under @RD_Tennistalk by clicking here.

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Djokovic and Ferrer Advance to Fourth Round at Sony Open

Djokovic and Ferrer Advance to Fourth Round at Sony Open

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Miami, FL Ricky Dimon
The men’s singles draw at the Sony Open Tennis event is befitting March Madness, with plenty of surprise entrants making impressive inroads, but Novak Djokovic is doing his best to restore order in the absences of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Two days after destroying Lukas Rosol 6-1, 6-0 in his opening match, Djokovic rolled over Somdev Devvarman 6-2, 6-4 during second-round action on Sunday afternoon.

Miami’s two-time defending champion took control right away with a break for a 1-0 advantage in the first set. Djokovic broke again for 5-2 and served out the opener one game later before a single break helped him through the second. Devvarman saw his only break chance in the final game at 5-4 in the second, but he could not convert.

“Conditions (were) not so great,” Djokovic assured when asked about the wind, which gusted all day long. “It was very difficult to get into the rhythm because because you couldn’t really serve at 100 percent and you had to go for more precision and you had to put twice as much effort in the step adjustments because of the windy conditions. All in all I’m just happy to get through the rough day.”

David Ferrer also handled the conditions in commendable fashion as he dismissed Fabio Fognini 6-1, 7-5. Ferrer, who was contesting his first match of the tournament due to a Dmitry Tursunov withdrawal in the previous round, gave back a break in the second set but recovered to served out the match at 6-5.

“It’s difficult for us, for me and for my opponent,” Ferrer said of the wind. “I am happy because it is not easy to play with Fognini. He played one match before. He was more comfortable in the court. But I am happy with my game.”

More dramatic encounters featured Jurgen Melzer against Tobias Kamke and Albert Ramos against James Blake.

Kamke had taken out Juan Martin Del Potro and he got off to a fast start in this one, but Melzer stormed back to prevail 6-7(3), 6-3, 6-4. Ramos survived a hard-hitting night match in the Stadium, scoring a 6-4, 2-6, 7-5 victory over Blake. They aren’t quite making Cinderella runs of Florida Gulf Coast proportions, but either Melzer or Ramos will advance to the quarterfinals when they go head-to-head on Tuesday.

Ricky Dimon is a contributor in Miami and writes for TennisTalk.com. You can follow him on Twitter under @RD_Tennistalk by clicking here.

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Sharapova Keeps on Trucking, Kerber Ousted at Sony Open

Sharapova Keeps on Trucking, Kerber Ousted at Sony Open

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Maria Sharapova’s quest to capture both the Indian Wells and Miami titles in the same season is still on track. Today at the Sony Open, Sharapova bounced countrywoman Elena Vesnina 6-4, 6-2 to book her spot into the fourth round.

At their last showdown in 2010, it was Vesnina who recorded the victory over Sharapova. With these two tied in their head to head 1-1 and Vesnina winning her maiden WTA title in Hobart this January, a decent row was expected between these Russian rivals.

Vesnina got off the block strongly with a love hold to start the match. After Sharapova’s double fault resulted in triple break point, Vesnina later converted for 3-1 when her counterpart misfired with a forehand stroke.

Yet, Sharapova promptly struck back with a break of her own to level the first set at 3 all. Another perpetual game ensued where on a fourth break point opportunity, Sharapova capitalized for 4-3.

Soon, Sharapova consolidated for 5-3. Despite being challenged on serve, the world number two eventually bedded the opening set.

Subsequent to an interminable game to arrive at 1 a piece. Sharapova manufactured triple break point and cemented a 2-1 lead. Henceforth, Sharapova was on cruise control securing a second break and ultimately closing out the last set easily.

Does one game give a glimpse into the outcome of a match? Perhaps. Looking back on the seventh game of the first set, Sharapova stated “I was down 1-3. . . I felt I had a bit of momentum. . . It was a really long one, I was ready for a water break. . .It was a very important game”. Considering the blistering wind and the hot temperature, Sharapova expressed that it was “one of those days when you know you might not be playing your best tennis. . . I got through and on to the next one”.

Depending on how Serena Williams performs in Miami, Sharapova could regain the number one ranking. On the subject, Sharapova cited “it’s always a great position to be in when you put yourself in a position to be close to No. 1. . . I don’t take that for granted. . . But I also know that it’s important to be levelheaded and think about the next [match] rather than the end result. . . So my theory is just to try to win . . .matches. . . and that gives you a better chance to be on top.”

Next up for Sharapova will be Klara Zakopalova. The latter defeated Maria Kirilenko 7-6, 6-4. Sharapova has bested Zakopalova in four of their five meetings, the last one was in Doha this February.

Earlier in the day, sixth seed Angelique Kerber was booted by Sorana Cirstea 6-4, 6-0. Cirstea will clash in the fourth round with Jelena Jankovic who defeated Nadia Petrova.

American teenager Lauren Davis’ run was halted at the third round by Alize Cornet who triumphed in three sets.

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Djokovic and Sharapova Top Billing at Sony Open On Sunday

Djokovic and Sharapova Top Billing at Sony Open On Sunday

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Reigning champion Novak Djokovic takes the court on the first Sunday of the tournament. The Serb battles Somdev Dewarman in the third round as he attempts to pocket his third successive title at the Sony Open.

Four time finalist Maria Sharapova faces fellow Russian Elena Vesnina in the round of 32. Sharapova is trying for the second straight year to reach the finals at both Indian Wells and Miami.

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Murray Rolls at Sony Open, Top Americans Battle into Third round

Murray Rolls at Sony Open, Top Americans Battle into Third round

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Miami, FL Ricky Dimon
While other top players prematurely tumbled out of the tournament or skipped the Sony Open Tennis event altogether, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray forged full steam ahead.

Less than 24 hours after Djokovic hammered Lukas Rosol 6-1, 6-0, Murray took care of Bernard Tomic 6-3, 6-1 during second-round action on Saturday afternoon. The third-ranked Scot struck eight aces and held all eight of his service games to prevail in a mere 56 minutes.

Tomic held his first two service games of the match and even saw multiple break points at 2-1 in the opener, but it was downhill for him the rest of the way. The 20-year-old Australian dropped five of the next six games, including at 3-5 on his own serve. Tomic, who explained afterward that he had been dealing with an illness, was more hopeless in the second. He won a mere two return points and saved none of the break points he faced.

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Serena Williams Dispatches Morita for a Fourth Round Berth at Sony Open

Serena Williams Dispatches Morita for a Fourth Round Berth at Sony Open

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Despite being tested, five time Sony Open champion Serena Williams posted a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Japan’s Ayumi Morita in the third round in Miami.

This was the second career meeting between these ladies. Earlier this year, in Australia, the two clashed in the third round with Williams comfortably prevailing 6-1, 6-3.

Double faults were Williams undoing her initial service game resulting in the donation of a break. Morita went on to consolidate for 3-0. Soon though, the world number one found her game and rolled off six games in a row to capture the opening set.

The second set, Morita ultimately found a bandage to stop the hemorrhage and terminated Williams’ run at seven consecutive games.

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Del Potro Upset, Djokovic Advances at Sony Open

Del Potro Upset, Djokovic Advances at Sony Open

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Miami, FL Ricky Dimon

No Roger Federer, no Rafael Nadal, and now no Juan Martin Del Potro. Always a marquee draw, especially at a tournament sometimes known as “the Latin American slam,” Del Potro lost his opening match at the Sony Open on Friday evening. The Argentine lost to Tobias Kamke 7-6(5), 6-1 in one hour and 50 minutes.

Del Potro, coming off a runner-up finish in Indian Wells, led 5-2 in the first set and even had two set points in the eighth game. Not only did the world No. 7 fail to close the deal, but he also squandered a mini-break lead in the ensuing tiebreaker. After a rain delay halted play for two hours in between sets, a listless Del Potro had nothing left in the tank. Kamke raced to a 5-0 advantage before serving out the match with a routine hold at 5-1.

“I made a lot of mistakes,” Del Potro assured. “I was excited to play here, but it was just a bad day and he played really well. I think he deserved to win and it’s okay.”

Although the German’s victory made for a shocking result, it was by no means the most bizarre event of the day. Early on in the night session, not long after Del Potro’s setback, a power outage blacked out the grounds and delayed the action yet again, this time for 30 minutes.

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