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Saturday Finds Federer in the Spotlight at the Miami Open

Saturday Finds Federer in the Spotlight at the Miami Open

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Following a first round bye, Roger Federer, a three time champion comes out for his initial match in the new home of the Miami Open. The Swiss will clash with qualifier Radu Albot in the afternoon. This will be their first encounter.

Beforehand, Federer’s countryman, 2 time major champion Stanislas Wawrinka kicks off the day session in stadium court. Wawrinka collides with Serb Filip Krajinovic. The two have yet to play at this tour level.

The night schedule features 2013 French Open finalist David Ferrer against Alexander Zverev ranked number two. The German has prevailed in four of their prior six meetings

Other players who will be displaying their talent as they fight for a place in the third round include 2019 Australian quarterfinalist Stefanos Tsitsipas, 2 time major semifinalist Grigor Dimitrov, 2014 U.S. Open champ Marin Cilic and American hopeful Australian Open quarterfinalist Frances Tiafoe.

Here is the order of play for Saturday March 23, 2019:

STADIUM start 12:00 noon
ATP – [30] S. Wawrinka (SUI) vs F. Krajinovic (SRB)
WTA – [1] N. Osaka (JPN) vs [27] S. Hsieh (TPE)

Not Before 4:00 pm
ATP – [Q] R. Albot (MDA) vs [4] R. Federer (SUI)

Not Before 8:00 pm
ATP – [WC] D. Ferrer (ESP) vs [2] A. Zverev (GER)

Not Before 9:30 pm
WTA – B. Andreescu (CAN) vs [8] A. Kerber (GER)

GRANDSTAND start 12:00 noon
WTA – [3] P. Kvitova (CZE) vs [26] D. Vekic (CRO)
ATP – [24] G. Dimitrov (BUL) vs F. Lopez (ESP)
WTA – [Q] M. Niculescu (ROU) vs [13] C. Wozniacki (DEN)
ATP – [8] S. Tsitsipas (GRE) vs [LL] M. McDonald (USA)

Not Before 7:00 pm
WTA – A. Tomljanovic (AUS) vs [21] A. Kontaveit (EST)

COURT 1 start 11:00 am
ATP – [20] D. Shapovalov (CAN) vs [LL] D. Evans (GBR)
ATP – [6] K. Anderson (RSA) vs J. Munar (ESP)
ATP – [Q] A. Rublev (RUS) vs [9] M. Cilic (CRO)
WTA – V. Kuzmova (SVK) vs [7] K. Bertens (NED)
ATP – [28] F. Tiafoe (USA) vs [WC] M. Kecmanovic (SRB)
After Suitable Rest – [3] S. Hsieh (TPE) / B. Strycova (CZE) vs K. Christian (USA) / A. Muhammad (USA)

BUTCH BUCHHOLZ COURT start 11:00 am
WTA – [19] C. Garcia (FRA) vs [15] J. Goerges (GER)
ATP – J. Thompson (AUS) vs [10] K. Khachanov (RUS)
WTA – [12] A. Barty (AUS) vs S. Stosur (AUS)

Not Before 4:00 pm
ATP – [Q] R. Opelka (USA) vs [21] D. Schwartzman (ARG)
ATP – [3] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA) vs M. Fucsovics (HUN) / R. Jebavy (CZE)

COURT 2 start 11:00 am
WTA – L. Kichenok (UKR) / N. Kichenok (UKR) vs [WC] A. Anisimova (USA) / A. Riske (USA)
ATP – J. Chardy (FRA) / G. Simon (FRA) vs N. Jarry (CHI) / F. Skugor (CRO)
WTA – D. Jakupovic (SLO) / I. Khromacheva (RUS) vs [5] G. Dabrowski (CAN) / Y. Xu (CHN)
After Suitable Rest – R. Bopanna (IND) / D. Shapovalov (CAN) vs A. Krajicek (USA) / A. Sitak (NZL)
WTA – A. Rosolska (POL) / Z. Yang (CHN) vs K. Flipkens (BEL) / J. Larsson (SWE)

COURT 6 start 11:00 am
ATP – J. Sousa (POR) vs [31] S. Johnson (USA)
ATP – [13] D. Medvedev (RUS) vs A. Mannarino (FRA)
After Suitable Rest – J. Goerges (GER) / S. Halep (ROU) vs [2] T. Babos (HUN) / K. Mladenovic (FRA)
WTA – [8] H. Chan (TPE) / L. Chan (TPE) vs I. Begu (ROU) / M. Buzarnescu (ROU)
WTA – After suitable rest – [1] B. Krejcikova (CZE) / K. Siniakova (CZE) vs [WC] V. Azarenka (BLR) / A. Barty (AUS)

COURT 8 start 11:00 am
ATP – L. Mayer (ARG) vs [26] G. Pella (ARG)
ATP – P. Andujar (ESP) vs [18] D. Goffin (BEL)
ATP – [8] H. Kontinen (FIN) / J. Peers (AUS) vs R. Ram (USA) / J. Salisbury (GBR)
After Suitable Rest – G. Pella (ARG) / J. Sousa (POR) vs [WC] T. Fritz (USA) / N. Kyrgios (AUS)
After Suitable Rest – A. Groenefeld (GER) / L. Hradecka (CZE) vs M. Niculescu (ROU) / A. Spears (USA)

COURT 9 start 11:00 am
ATP – J. Rojer (NED) / H. Tecau (ROU) vs [5] O. Marach (AUT) / M. Pavic (CRO)
ATP – [14] M. Cecchinato (ITA) vs D. Dzumhur (BIH)
ATP – R. Haase (NED) / D. Inglot (GBR) vs [4] J. Cabal (COL) / R. Farah (COL)
WTA – A. Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) / A. Sevastova (LAT) vs V. Kudermetova (RUS) / D. Schuurs (NED)
After Suitable Rest – [1] L. Kubot (POL) / M. Melo (BRA) vs M. Cecchinato (ITA) / A. Molteni (ARG)

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Serena, Osaka Tested in Reaching Third Round at the Miami Open

Serena, Osaka Tested in Reaching Third Round at the Miami Open

IMG_3833_Serena_newSubsequent to taking only 24 minutes to pocket the opening set 6-0 at the Miami Open, Naomi Osaka was seriously challenged by former world number 12 and 2009 U.S. Open semifinalist Yanina Wickmayer. The Belgian fought back to seal the second set in a tiebreaker. However, in the decisive set, Osaka demonstrated the strength which garnered her the last two majors. After breaking and consolidating for a 3-0 lead, the world number one grabbed an insurance break. Later, with a crosscourt running forehand, Osaka set up triple match point. With Wickmayer’s return sailing wide, the Japanese woman secured her spot into the third round with a 6-0, 6-7, 6-1 victory. Osaka will face 27th seed Su-Hei Hsieh.

Osaka’s view as to why her journey got convoluted “It was really hard for me emotionally in the second set because I just started thinking about winning, not exactly the things I could do in order to win. I had a bit of a dip. She was also playing well. . .When I’m really in emotionally stressful situations, I find it easier to focus when [I shut down my emotions]. . .I just think it’s sort of an energy saver because of constantly being riled up for every point, I can just keep moving on to the next one. . . I think between the second and third set I tried to breathe and regroup.”

Venus Williams also forms part of the last 32. After a difficult first set, the three time champion coasted in the second for a 7-6, 6-1 win over Carla Suarez Navarro. The American battles the crafty Russian Daria Kasatkina in the next session. Kasatkina dashed the hopes of 15 year old American Cori Gauff after the youngster celebrated her maiden WTA tour conquest.

Serena Williams got off to a slow start surrendering the initial game after being ahead in the score. Still, the eight time Miami Open titlist clawed back to pocket the first set 6-3. Then, with a sleuth of miscues, Serena relinquished the second set 1-6 to Rebecca Peterson. Once again, it was matter of refocusing, as the 23 time major winner dominated the ultimate set for a 6-3, 1-6, 6-1 triumph. What got the former number one through was reiterating to herself “I could not lose this match. I knew that I could play a lot, lot, lot better. I just had to be better. At this point it was irresponsible to be playing the way I was playing in the second set. That determination was, I cannot lose this match just really kicked in. What do I need to do to win this match?” In the third round, Serena will square off against Qiang Wang who bounced 2017 Miami Open titleholder Johanna Konta.

Defending champion Sloane Stephens sailed through in straight sets 6-2, 6-3 against Ons Jabeur. In the following match Stephens will collide with German Tatjana Maria.

Garbine Muguruza is out. The French Open and Wimbledon titlist’s stay in the sunshine state was cut short by qualifier Monica Niculescu. The Spaniard was no match for the Romanian’s brand of industrious play which included a series of slices, dropshots, even an underhand surprise serve on match point which are her trademark. Niculescu prevailed 7-6, 6-4, 6-2. She will next take on Caroline Wozniacki who disposed of Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-4, 6-4.

After finding the ripcord down 1-5 and match point in the second set in the previous round, Indian Wells winner Bianca Andreescu had a less adventurous path today as she conquered 32nd seed Sofia Kenin 6-3, 6-3. Her opponent in the third round will be Angelique Kerber. The German had to work hard for her 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 win over 22 year old Karolina Muchova. Consequently, their third round will be a rematch of the Indian Wells final on this past Sunday.

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Friday at the Miami Open Features Djokovic Under the Lights, Isner Starts Title Defense

Friday at the Miami Open Features Djokovic Under the Lights, Isner Starts Title Defense

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Friday hails the return to competition of the world’s best at the Miami Open. World number one and six time victor Novak Djokovic clashes with Australian Bernard Tomic in the evening session. This will be the pairs’ sixth meeting with the Serb having prevailed in all five of their prior encounters.

The daytime has 2018 champion John Isner tussling with 23 year old qualifier Lorenzo Sonego to get on to the third round. Indian Wells titleholder Dominic Thiem begins his quest for back to back titles by facing Hurbert Hurkacz. Other notable names on court Friday include 2016 finalist Kei Nishikori, the entertaining Frenchman Gael Monfils and 2016 Wimbledon finalist Milos Raonic.

Here is the order of play for Friday March 22, 2019:

STADIUM start 12:00 noon
WTA – [1] N. Osaka (JPN) vs [Q] Y. Wickmayer (BEL)

Not Before 2:00 pm
ATP – [Q] L. Sonego (ITA) vs [7] J. Isner (USA)
WTA – R. Peterson (SWE) vs [10] S. Williams (USA)

Not Before 8:00 pm
ATP – [1] N. Djokovic (SRB) vs B. Tomic (AUS)

Not Before 9:30 pm
WTA – [WC] W. Osuigwe (USA) vs [25] D. Collins (USA)

GRANDSTAND start 12:00 noon
ATP – D. Lajovic (SRB) vs [5] K. Nishikori (JPN)

Not Before 2:00 pm
WTA – V. Williams (USA) vs [24] C. Suárez Navarro (ESP)
ATP – [27] N. Kyrgios (AUS) vs [Q] A. Bublik (KAZ)
WTA – O. Jabeur (TUN) or [LL] Kr. Pliskova (CZE) vs [4] S. Stephens (USA)

Not Before 7:00 pm
ATP – [3] D. Thiem (AUT) vs H. Hurkacz (POL)

COURT 1 start 11:00 am
ATP – I. Ivashka (BLR) vs [19] K. Edmund (GBR)
ATP – [12] M. Raonic (CAN) vs M. Marterer (GER)
WTA – [Q] V. Golubic (SUI) or A. Sasnovich (BLR) vs [13] C. Wozniacki (DEN)
ATP – [25] L. Pouille (FRA) vs A. Ramos-Vinolas (ESP)
WTA – [Q] T. Townsend (USA) vs [2] S. Halep (ROU)
WTA – [5] Ka. Pliskova (CZE) vs P. Martic (CRO)

COURT 2 start 11:00 am
WTA – A. Riske (USA) vs [27] S. Hsieh (TPE)
WTA – [31] A. Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) vs V. Kuzmova (SVK)
WTA – [32] S. Kenin (USA) vs B. Andreescu (CAN)
WTA – K. Siniakova (CZE) vs [11] A. Sevastova (LAT)
WTA – [29] C. Giorgi (ITA) vs A. Schmiedlova (SVK) or T. Maria (GER)

BUTCH BUCHHOLZ COURT start 11:00 am
WTA – [9] A. Sabalenka (BLR) vs A. Tomljanovic (AUS)
ATP – [11] B. Coric (CRO) vs R. Carballes Baena (ESP)
WTA – [20] G. Muguruza (ESP) vs [Q] M. Niculescu (ROU) or T. Zidansek (SLO)
ATP – R. Haase (NED) vs [16] G. Monfils (FRA)
ATP – G. Andreozzi (ARG) vs [15] F. Fognini (ITA)
WTA – [6] E. Svitolina (UKR) vs Y. Wang (CHN)

COURT 5 start 11:00 am
WTA – M. Kato (JPN) / M. Ninomiya (JPN) vs S. Aoyama (JPN) / L. Marozava (BLR)
WTA – A. Krunic (SRB) / A. Panova (RUS) vs [WC] L. Davis (USA) / C. Mchale (USA)
WTA – L. Arruabarrena (ESP) / H. Watson (GBR) vs [7] A. Klepac (SLO) / M. Martinez Sanchez (ESP)
WTA – [6] S. Stosur (AUS) / S. Zhang (CHN) vs R. Atawo (USA) / K. Srebotnik (SLO)

COURT 6 start 11:00 am
WTA – A. Anisimova (USA) vs [21] A. Kontaveit (EST)

Not Before 12:30 pm
ATP – [17] N. Basilashvili (GEO) vs M. Zverev (GER)
WTA – [Q] K. Muchova (CZE) vs [8] A. Kerber (GER)
ATP – [22] R. Bautista Agut (ESP) vs [PR] J. Tipsarevic (SRB)
WTA – A. Cornet (FRA) vs [30] M. Buzarnescu (ROU)

COURT 7 start 1:30 pm
WTA – D. Jurak (CRO) / R. Olaru (ROU) vs D. Krawczyk (USA) / S. Santamaria (USA)

Not Before 3:00 pm
ATP – [WC] M. McDonald (USA) / R. Opelka (USA) vs [2] J. Murray (GBR) / B. Soares (BRA)
After Suitable Rest – R. Albot (MDA) / N. Basilashvili (GEO) vs B. McLachlan (JPN) / N. Skupski (GBR)

COURT 8 start 11:00 am
WTA – [16] E. Mertens (BEL) vs P. Parmentier (FRA)
ATP – F. Delbonis (ARG) vs [32] J. Millman (AUS)
ATP – [Q] F. Auger-Aliassime (CAN) vs [29] M. Fucsovics (HUN)
WTA – [23] B. Bencic (SUI) vs Y. Putintseva (KAZ)
WTA – [28] L. Tsurenko (UKR) vs [Q] M. Doi (JPN)

COURT 9 start 11:00 am
ATP – J. Chardy (FRA) vs [23] G. Simon (FRA)
WTA – M. Vondrousova (CZE) vs [22] J. Ostapenko (LAT)
WTA – [14] D. Kasatkina (RUS) vs [WC] C. Gauff (USA)
WTA – [18] Q. Wang (CHN) vs J. Konta (GBR) or [Q] J. Pegula (USA)
After Suitable Rest – [WC] M. Demoliner (BRA) / M. Kecmanovic (SRB) vs J. Isner (USA) / S. Querrey (USA)

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Terrific Thursday:  Andreescu Comes Back from the Brink, Venus and Kvitová win in Straight sets at the Miami Open

Terrific Thursday: Andreescu Comes Back from the Brink, Venus and Kvitová win in Straight sets at the Miami Open

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The ladies were the top attraction on Thursday at the Miami Open. After being tested in the first set, three time champion Venus Williams dismissed 27 year old qualifier Dalila Jakupovic 7-5, 6-3 to punch her ticket into the second round. Down break point in the opening game, two time Wimbledon titlist Petra Kvitová went on to secure the first set 6-1. Then, behind 0-2 in the second, the Czech leveled the set and eventually captured the match 6-1, 6-4 against Maria Sakkari.

Without questions, the match of the tournament to date belonged to Indian Wells reigning champion Bianca Andreescu battling Irina Begu. The Canadian double faulted in the second set on break point to stare at a 4-6, 1-5 deficit. At that point, the 18 year old called her coach on court. Those words of wisdom and the confidence of the ultimate two weeks led to Andreescu dismissing a match point. Little by little, the young talent chipped away at Begu’s lead to move ahead 6-5. The second set was settled in a tiebreaker dominated by Andreescu. Soon, the teen sensation took control of the decisive set to complete her comeback 4-6,7-6,6-2.

Following the match, Andreescu commented “she’s a great fighter. I started a bit slow in the first and second set, and then I called my coach. He obviously helped me, like he always does, and I fought as hard as I could. I’m really proud of myself with how I dealt with everything. I think confidence is a lot. If you have trust in your game and in your training, then a lot of good things can happen. I think at that moment that’s exactly what happened.”

According to Andreescu at the outset of 2019 what she hoped for was “to get into the main draw of the French Open, which I have accomplished already, to always improve as a player and as a person with every match I play, to crack into the top 50 by the end of the year.” The Canadian is currently ranked 24th and her star is on the upswing.

Caroline Garcia squared against three time Miami Open champion Victoria Azarenka in the second round. A see saw second set was finally claimed by Garcia for a 6-3, 6-4 victory. 2017 winner Johanna Konta comfortably vanquished qualifier Jessica Pegula 6-1, 6-4.

34 year old Samantha Stosur regrouped after squandering a 6-4, 3-0 cushion against 17th seed Madison Keys. In addition, the 2011 U.S Open winner was a break down 3-4 in the third set. She pocketed three successive games, helped by a bevy of miscues by Keys, to advance 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 into the third round where she will face fellow Aussie Ashleigh Barty.

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Former Miami Open Champions Venus and Azarenka Star Attraction on Thursday

Former Miami Open Champions Venus and Azarenka Star Attraction on Thursday

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Two decades after winning the first of her three Miami Open trophies, Venus Williams opens up the day session on stadium court against 27 year old qualifier Dalila Jakupovic in the first round.

Australian Open finalist and 2 time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova begins her campaign by battling dangerous Greek talent Maria Sakkari in second round action. The last ladies match on stadium court features a second round contest between 2011 U.S. Open titlist Samantha Stosur and 2017 U.S. Open finalist Madison Keys.

Just one day after fending off 2014 Australian finalist Dominika Cibulkova in three tough sets, three time Miami Open titlist Victoria Azarenka takes on 19th seed Carolina Garcia for a spot in the third round. 2017 Miami Open victor Johanna Konta hopes to recapture the magic of yesteryears as she clashes with American qualifier Jessica Pegula.

Here is the complete order of play for Thursday, March 21, 2019:

ORDER OF PLAY – THURSDAY, MARCH 21, 2019

STADIUM start 12:00 noon
WTA – [Q] D. Jakupovic (SLO) vs V. Williams (USA)
ATP – [WC] C. Eubanks (USA) vs D. Dzumhur (BIH)

Not Before 4:00 pm
WTA – [3] P. Kvitova (CZE) vs M. Sakkari (GRE)

Not Before 7:30 pm
WTA – S. Stosur (AUS) vs [17] M. Keys (USA)

Not Before 9:00 pm
ATP – S. Querrey (USA) vs [WC] D. Ferrer (ESP)

GRANDSTAND start 12:00 noon
ATP – T. Sandgren (USA) vs [Q] A. Bublik (KAZ)

Not Before 2:00 pm
WTA – Y. Wang (CHN) vs K. Mladenovic (FRA)
ATP – F. Lopez (ESP) vs B. Paire (FRA)

Not Before 5:00 pm
WTA – [19] C. Garcia (FRA) vs V. Azarenka (BLR)

Not Before 7:00 pm
ATP – E. Gulbis (LAT) vs [WC] M. Kecmanovic (SRB)

COURT 1 start 11:00 am
ATP – C. Norrie (GBR) vs J. Thompson (AUS)

Not Before 12:30 pm
WTA – S. Zhang (CHN) vs P. Martic (CRO) 02
ATP – M. Marterer (GER) vs T. Fritz (USA)
ATP – J. Sousa (POR) vs [WC] C. Tseng (TPE)
ATP – [Q] R. Opelka (USA) vs J. Struff (GER)
WTA – [WC] Xiy. Wang (CHN) vs [7] K. Bertens (NED)

BUTCH BUCHHOLZ start 11:00 am
ATP – L. Mayer (ARG) vs [Q] M. Ymer (SWE)

Not Before 12:30 pm
ATP – T. Fabbiano (ITA) vs I. Ivashka (BLR) 46 30
WTA – I. Begu (ROU) vs B. Andreescu (CAN) 00
WTA – O. Jabeur (TUN) vs A. Van Uytvanck (BEL) 00
WTA – J. Konta (GBR) vs [Q] J. Pegula (USA)
WTA – S. Sorribes Tormo (ESP) vs [26] D. Vekic (CRO)

COURT 6 start 11:00 am
ATP – R. Haase (NED) vs [Q] L. Lacko (SVK)
WTA – [WC] W. Osuigwe (USA) vs [WC] M. Osaka (JPN)
WTA – A. Tomljanovic (AUS) vs A. Friedsam (GER) 46 00
ATP – [Q] R. Albot (MDA) vs M. Ebden (AUS)
WTA – [Q] K. Muchova (CZE) vs [Q] N. Hibino (JPN)
ATP – P. Herbert (FRA) vs F. Krajinovic (SRB)
ATP – P. Andujar (ESP) vs I. Karlovic (CRO)

COURT 8 start 11:00 am
WTA – [Q] K. Kanepi (EST) vs A. Riske (USA)
ATP – D. Lajovic (SRB) vs [Q] P. Cuevas (URU)
WTA – V. Lapko (BLR) vs A. Cornet (FRA) 57 76(7) 10
WTA – [Q] V. Golubic (SUI) vs A. Sasnovich (BLR)
ATP – [LL] D. Evans (GBR) vs M. Jaziri (TUN)
WTA – [12] A. Barty (AUS) vs D. Yastremska (UKR)
ATP – [LL] M. McDonald (USA) vs U. Humbert (FRA)

COURT 9 start 11:00 am
WTA – [Q] S. Vickery (USA) vs [Q] Y. Wickmayer (BEL)
WTA – [Q] T. Townsend (USA) vs J. Larsson (SWE)
WTA – R. Peterson (SWE) vs [Q] L. Siegemund (GER)
WTA – [Q] M. Niculescu (ROU) vs T. Zidansek (SLO)
WTA – M. Rybarikova (SVK) vs [15] J. Goerges (GER)
ATP – A. Mannarino (FRA) vs A. Bedene (SLO)

COURT 2 start 11:00 am
WTA – [WC] Xin. Wang (CHN) vs [Q] M. Doi (JPN)
ATP – M. Klizan (SVK) vs [Q] L. Sonego (ITA)
ATP – [Q] F. Auger-Aliassime (CAN) vs [Q] C. Ruud (NOR)
ATP – J. Munar (ESP) vs [Q] P. Gunneswaran (IND)

COURT 3 start 1:00 pm
ATP – J. Chardy (FRA) vs N. Jarry (CHI) 00
ATP – [Q] A. Rublev (RUS) vs T. Daniel (JPN)
ATP – A. Zverev (GER) / M. Zverev (GER) vs M. Gonzalez (ARG) / H. Zeballos (ARG)
WTA – B. Bencic (SUI) / D. Kasatkina (RUS) vs [4] N. Melichar (USA) / K. Peschke (CZE)

COURT 5 start 11:00 am
ATP – K. Khachanov (RUS) / D. Medvedev (RUS) vs W. Koolhof (NED) / S. Tsitsipas (GRE)
ATP – S. Johnson (USA) / D. Thiem (AUT) vs [7] M. Granollers (ESP) / N. Mektic (CRO)

Not Before 1:00 pm
ATP – M. Copil (ROU) vs A. Ramos-Vinolas (ESP)
ATP – B. Tomic (AUS) vs [Q] T. Monteiro (BRA)

COURT 7 start 11:00 am
WTA – E. Mertens (BEL) / A. Sabalenka (BLR) vs D. Collins (USA) / J. Ostapenko (LAT)
WTA – [WC] C. Gauff (USA) vs [WC] C. Mcnally (USA)
WTA – V. Kuzmova (SVK) vs D. Gavrilova (AUS)
WTA – A. Schmiedlova (SVK) vs T. Maria (GER)

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Miami Open: New Home with Same Residents as Serena, Djokovic and Federer Get Acclimated

Miami Open: New Home with Same Residents as Serena, Djokovic and Federer Get Acclimated

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There was no azure sky to welcome the Miami Open at its new venue as a constant drizzle washed out the first round of play. Nevertheless, two weeks of exhilarating tennis prepare to unfold as many familiar faces will parade through with the goal of capturing the title.

On the gentlemen’s side, three time champion Roger Federer is on a collision course in the quarterfinals with 2018 Wimbledon Finalist Kevin Anderson. The South African surprised the former world number one in the Wimbledon quarterfinals last year after Federer was up two sets to none. Stefanos Tsitsipas, the 20 year Greek, who upended Federer a few months ago at the Australian Open could be Federer’s opponent in the semifinals.

Fresh off his biggest title at Indian Wells, Dominic Thiem will attempt to garner the rare sunshine double. However, he will likely need to go through reigning world number one Novak Djokovic, a six time titlist in Miami. Moreover, John Isner, the defending champion will have plenty to say. He is slated to clash with Djokovic in the quarterfinals.

Naomi Osaka will have to show the form that led her to capture the last two majors if she plans to walk away with her first trophy in Miami. The world number one could potentially meet Garbine Muguruza, the 2016 French Open and 2017 Wimbledon champion, in the fourth round or 2018 Australian Open winner, Caroline Wozniacki. In the quarterfinals, 2 time major holder, Angelique Kerber possibly awaits Osaka. To add to the degree of difficulty, the semifinals could be a rematch of this year’s Australian Open final with Petra Kvitová.

Still searching for her maiden trophy since the birth of her baby, Serena Williams is back at one of her favorite events. The eight time titlist will likely find world number two Simona Halep in the quarterfinals in her way. In the semifinals, defending champion Sloane Stephens or Karolina Pliskova could be Serena’s obstacle. Pliskova shocked the 23 time major holder this year in Australia down 1-5 in the third set in the quarterfinals. As a 3 time victor in Miami, unseeded big sister Venus is also a dangerous floater on Serena’s side of the draw as well.

As the storms clear, who will ultimately shine in the South Florida sun on championship day? Stay tuned.

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2019 Miami Open Player Field Announced

2019 Miami Open Player Field Announced

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The 2019 Miami Open will break ground at its new location at the Hard Rock Stadium next month.

Today, the tournament announced the players field that will be taking to courts at the state of the art facilities in Miami Gardens. The ATP and WTA field includes a total of 19 Major singles champions.

The men’s side will be highlighted by the 2019 Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic. Joining Djokovic in Miami are the likes of Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Juan Martin del Potro and 2018 Miami Open champion John Isner.

The women’s side will be highlighted by the 2019 Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka. Osaka will be joined by defending Miami Open champion Sloane Stephens, Serena Williams, Simona Halep, Petra Kvitova and Caroline Wozniacki.

Here is the official press release from tournament:

Miami Gardens, FL (February 6, 2019) – The 2019 Miami Open presented by Itaú will make its debut at Hard Rock Stadium March 18-31, and fans will have the opportunity to see one of the best player fields in tennis at its new lifestyle and entertainment venue.

This year’s extraordinary lineup features 19 players who have combined to win 108 career Grand Slam singles titles including all-time record holders Roger Federer and Serena Williams. Reigning Australian Open champions, and the world’s No. 1 ranked players, Novak Djokovic and Naomi Osaka top one of the strongest ATP and WTA tournament draws of 2019.

Overall, each of the top 79 ranked men and 76 ranked women have entered to compete in Miami.

Federer and Djokovic lead a men’s field that includes 17-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal, three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka, and former US Open champions Juan Martin del Potro and Marin Cilic, along with defending Miami Open champion John Isner.

The player field also boasts the next generation of ATP stars including World No. 3 Alexander Zverev, Australian Open semifinalist Stefanos Tsitsipas, American Frances Tiafoe and Australian Nick Kyrgios.

The women’s field is even more impressive. Osaka, winner of the last two Grand Slam singles titles, leads a field that includes 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams and defending Miami Open champion Sloane Stephens. Fans also will have the opportunity to see seven-time Grand Slam Champion Venus Williams, five-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova, two-time Grand Slam winner Garbiñe Muguruza, two-time Grand Slam winner Angelique Kerber, two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, reigning French Open champion Simona Halep, 2018 Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki and 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko.

The player field however is just part of the story.

Tournament Owner IMG and Miami Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross partnered to keep the Miami Open in Miami and have worked together to build a permanent world-class tennis facility that will provide an elevated fan experience while incorporating a unique Miami look and feel. The improved amenities will allow the tournament to host a true lifestyle and entertainment event featuring the best in tennis, art, food and music.

Tickets to the 2019 Miami Open are on sale now and available by phone at 305-943-6736 or online at www.miamiopen.com. Individual session tickets start at just $28 so get your tickets today. Ticket packages, group programs, and luxury hospitality offerings also are available.

Qualifying rounds will be March 18-19 and will determine 12 additional slots in each singles draw. The Miami Open also will award wildcards to five men and eight women. The women’s main draw begins on Tuesday, March 19, followed by the first round of the men’s main draw on Wednesday, March 20.

ATP Acceptance List (as of February 6, 2019)

Name Country Rank
Novak Djokovic, SRB, 01
Rafael Nadal, ESP, 02
Alexander Zverev, GER, 03
Juan Martin del Potro, ARG, 04
Kevin Anderson, RSA, 05
Roger Federer, SUI, 06
Kei Nishikori, JPN, 07
Dominic Thiem, AUT, 08
John Isner, USA, 09

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Unmatched:  Djokovic Trounces Nadal For A Record Making Seventh Australian Open Title

Unmatched: Djokovic Trounces Nadal For A Record Making Seventh Australian Open Title

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The 53rd career meeting between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, world number 1 and 2 respectively, took place in the final at the Australian Open. The Serb dominated the 17 time major champion 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 to hoist the trophy for an unprecedented seventh occasion and bank his 15th major title.

Djokovic continued to display the form that garnered him the last 2 majors, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, beginning the match with a love hold. Quickly, the world number one had double break point when Nadal buried a backhand crosscourt into the net. The Spaniard had not yielded a break since the opening round. With Nadal flubbing an easy forehand, Djokovic secured the game. He bolstered the break by capturing his 8th consecutive service point for 3-0. After saving break point, Nadal finally posted a game on the board. Still, Djokovic kept on rolling extending his lead to 5-2 after his fourth hold at love. The Serb surrendered only 1 point as he shut out the opening set 6-3.

Few competitors have succeeded in frustrating Nadal or making him look ordinary, especially in a final at a major. That’s exactly what Djokovic accomplished up to this point. After Nadal pocketed a tough first game to start the second set, Djokovic breezed through to square the proceedings at 1 all. With another arduous game, Nadal had his first lead for 2-1. However, the satisfaction was short lived as Djokovic cruised again on his serve to level the score at 2-2. The next few minutes pressed into mistakes after mistakes, Nadal stared at double break point as he hit his racket in disgust. As the Spaniard’s lob landed long, Djokovic converted the break for 3-2. Nadal’s best chance came the following game at 15-30 and deuce. But, the Serb pushed harder on the accelerator to eventually consolidate for 4-2. With a forehand up the line winner, soon, Djokovic was in position to nab a double break lead. He did so when Nadal dumped another forehand stroke into the net. The Serb finished the second set by winning four successive games.

Up to this juncture, Nadal had yet to manufacture a break point. His forecourt game which had worked beautifully this fortnight had deserted him, his first serve offered no solace. As Djokovic blanketed the baseline, Nadal was literally being pushed out of the stadium with each stroke. The Spaniard needed to rethink his tactics, minimize his errors and have his rival’s level of play dip. In the third game, misfiring on a forehand down the line, Nadal gave Djokovic double break point. With the Spaniard unable to handle a forehand volley, the Serb grabbed the break for 2-1. There had never been a straight sets victory in all of their previous 7 major finals. Winning 86% of his first serves, 89% of his second, with 28 winners and 4 unforced errors up to now, Djokovic was looking to make this one the first. Subsequent to his counterpart consolidating for 3-1, Nadal quickly held to keep the deficit at one game. In the sixth game, at last, Nadal had his maiden break point of the contest when Djokovic netted a makeable forehand. Anew, Nadal’s backhand failed to clear his side of the net, the score was at deuce. Djokovic simply would not be denied. With a couple of winners, the Serb was at 4-2. Down 3-4, Nadal again pushed his opponent to deuce, but to no avail. With a let court volley winner, Djokovic marched on for 5-3. Then, after 2 hours and 4 minutes, a forehand up the line winner gave the Serb double championship point. Djokovic cashed in on his second opportunity, when Nadal’s backhand went long.

The 2009 victor had these words for his rival “many congratulations to Novak and his team. It was an amazing level of tennis tonight and during both weeks, well done.” Still for Nadal, all is not lost “even though tonight was not my best day…It’s been a very important 2 weeks for me. I have been going through tough moments during the last year. . . since the U.S. Open I was not able to play a professional match until the first round of the Australian Open. For me so important to be where I am today coming back from injury. [This] is going to be good energy, good inspiration for myself, for what’s coming. I’m going to keep fighting hard, keep working hard to be a better player. . . Sometimes, this tournament has been hard for me, in terms of injury and opponents like tonight [laughing]. But I’m going to keep practicing, putting all the things that I have to comeback and give myself better chances in the future.”

Never one to forget the spectators, the Spaniard recognized them by saying “all the people, all the fans have been fantastic. The connection with all of you is difficult to describe. When I am not playing what I miss the most is the support and the love of all of you, many thanks”.

For Nadal, it’s always about perspective “I know tennis is not forever. We are not 20 anymore. My only goal is to keep going and fight for the thing that makes [me] wake up every morning. I want to do it as long as I can. You appreciate your rivals because you share a lot of important moments in your lives”.

Collecting his seventh Norman Brooks Challenge Cup, Djokovic complemented Nadal “on a great couple of weeks. . . You were unfortunate throughout your career to go through some injuries. You are showing me, other colleagues and many young tennis players throughout the world what is the definition of the fighting spirit and resilience, thank you for that”.

Djokovic went on to say “I had surgery exactly twelve months [ago]. To be standing now in front of you today, managing to win, this title, 3 out of 4 slams, this is truly amazing. I am speechless.” Moreover, he cited “I would like to thank my team. [Tennis] is an individual sport, but you guys are always behind me, tolerating me on my bad days. You are putting together a great successful formula that is working really well. Marian [Vajda], thank you for coming back to my team. . . [to my wife and kids], trophies are even more special when I have someone so dear, so special to me in my life to share it with. They are the dearest thing next to my parents and two brothers. I want to thank them for unconditional support. Through all these years, they’ve sacrificed a lot of their time and energy for me to live my dream, I always try to remind myself and not take that for granted”.

For Djokovic, in addition to the physical, it also seemed a matter of motivation, the last couple of years. But, he certainly found it again “the very essence of why I play the sport, love and passion for the game. I had to dig deep. That kind of pure emotion got me going. Nadal historically throughout my life and career has been the greatest rival that I’ve played against. Those kind of encounters have made me the player I am today without a doubt. These are the kind of matches you live for, the finals of slams against the greatest rival, what else can you ask for”, indeed. If Djokovic maintains the kind of focus he’s demonstrated since June of 2018, he will be impossible to halt. Consequently, 2019 may be the year which marks finally a true grand slam, Djokovic holding all 4 majors in the same calendar year.

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Osaka Soars with First Australian Open Championship and Claims Number One Ranking

Osaka Soars with First Australian Open Championship and Claims Number One Ranking

Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships - Day 6 - Saturday 7th July 2018 -  All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club - Wimbledon - London - England
The 2019 Australian Open championship was a contest between two endearing women. Naomi Osaka world number 4 and Petra Kvitová ranked 8th. The fact that these were not novices, the former the reigning U.S. Open champion and the latter 2 time Wimbledon titlist, foretold the potential for a thrilling final. It lived up to its billing. In the end, Osaka walked away with the Daphne Akhurst trophy by prevailing 7-6, 5-7, 6-4.

Osaka displayed her anxiety by double faulting to begin the match. Yet, the Japanese star managed to hold serve. Her initial time, Kvitová sailed through with a love game which Osaka duplicated for 2-1. In the fifth game, Kvitová twice tattooed backhand crosscourt return winners to set up break points. Still, Osaka found the ripcord to stay on serve at 3-2. Then by forcing a forehand miscue from her rival, the Japanese player set up break point. However, the Czech star successfully extricated herself out of that situation. Swiftly, with a double fault and backhand mistake by Osaka, Kvitová had triple break point. Anew, the 2018 U.S. Open winner battled to level the score at deuce and pocketed the game for 4-3. Serving at 5-6, Kvitova netted a backhand to gift Osaka set point. With a winner, the Czech wrestled herself out of that jam. Osaka had a second chance to wrap up the set which she wasted. Thus, the tiebreaker was called upon. Osaka took control by striking backhand down the line return winner for a 2-0 mini break lead. Then, with a forehand up the line winner, she secured a 5-1 cushion. The Japanese competitor promptly closed out the set.

Kvitová responded to the challenge by holding to start the second. Also, seventh time was the charm, as the Czech thumped a forehand return crosscourt for a winner to break for 2-0. Unable to consolidate on three game points, Kvitova double faulted to hand Osaka break point. Soon, Kvitova misfired on a backhand to donate the game. Later, Osaka converted on triple break point and bagged the next 4 games. Nevertheless, Kvitová didn’t relent. Down 3-5 and 0-40, one point from defeat, with stellar serving, the Czech won the next 5 points to hold. Incredulous, Osaka faltered attempting to finish things off. Visibly perturbed as a double fault handed Kvitová double break point. Osaka erred on a forehand to equalize the set at 5 all. After salvaging break point, Kvitová seized on a break point opportunity. She pocketed the 4 consecutive games to push the final to a deciding set.

Towards the latter part of the second, Osaka’s emotions overwhelmed her. She berated herself for each error and concluded with a double fault on triple break point. Coming out to play the third, it’s as if she turned on the serenity switch. Kvitová continued the momentum with a love hold. However, the Japanese star halted the slide for 1-1. Then, she capitalized on a double fault which contributed break point by landing a backhand crosscourt winner. Subsequently, Osaka extended her lead to 3-1. Still, the Czech preserved. Serving at 2-4 and down 0-40, once again, Kvitová escaped by connecting choice serves and winners. Surely, Osaka had to do her utmost to block out the sensation of deja vu. Unlike the second set, Osaka shrugged away the evaporated chances with a love game. Regardless, Kvitová was going to make the 21 year old earn the victory after holding for 4-5. Demonstrating nerves of steel, Osaka stepped up with an ace, forehand up the line winner and provoked a backhand wide from Kvitová to arrive at triple championship point. Finally as on Osaka’s 5th try, as Kvitová backhand travelled wide, she secured the trophy.

A home invasion in December 2016 caused injury to four of Kvitova’s fingers on her left hand as she warded off an attacker carrying a knife. Following her surgery, Kvitová’s tennis future was in limbo. In an interview before the match, the Czech cited “Not many people believe that I can do that again[get to the final after five years]. I did not know if I would ever play tennis again, it’s been a long journey.”

After the match, the admirable runner up expressed “it’s crazy. I can’t believe I played a final of a grand slam again” as spectator shouted “we love you Petra”. A feeling that clearly reverberated through the stadium and touched her deeply. Kvitová went on to say despite the outcome “it’s a great tournament so for me it’s a big honor to hold this beautiful trophy as well.” The 2 time major holder turned to her opponent “It was a great final well done Naomi; to your team as well. You really played well. Congrats on being number one.”

Above all, Kvitová realized that without the support from family, friends and her team, she would never reach this stage “thank you for sticking with me even though we didn’t know if I’d be able to hold the racket again. Every single day supporting me, staying positive for me when I really needed it. It probably wasn’t easy. Thank you so much”.

Osaka is the first back to back winner at the majors since Serena Williams in 2015 and the first since Jennifer Capriati in 2001 to triumph at their initial first two tries at the majors. In disbelief of her accomplishments, Osaka began by apologizing “sorry, public speaking is really not my strong side. Huge congrats to you Petra. I’ve always wanted to play you, you’ve been through so much. Honestly, I would not have wanted this to be our first match. Huge congrats to you and your team. You are really amazing and I’m really honored to have played you in the final of a grand slam”.

The Japanese player went on to say to the crowd “I want to thank you guys for coming and watching. It’s really hot at times, [nevertheless], you come out and show support. I really want to show my gratitude to you”. She also acknowledged her box “I don’t think I would have made it through this week without you guys. Behind a tennis player there is always a team, so I’m really grateful. So thank you everyone. I’m really honored to have played in this final”.

The experience was quite different from Osaka’s last outing in a major final “In New York, the crowd was for Serena. Here it felt like it was split. When I heard the crowd was for both of us, I was happy. At the same time, I was just focused on playing the match”. Referring to her meltdown at the closure of the second set, Osaka confessed when she walked off “I was in tears. [She told herself] my second time playing in a final, I can’t act entitled playing one of the best players in the world to loose a set and suddenly, I think I am so much better than her that it isn’t a possibility. I wanted to enjoy my time here. Last year, I lost in the fourth round. This year I was in the final. I wanted to enjoy my time and have no regrets about today”

Osaka’s rise appears meteoric to those on the sidelines, finishing at 144 in 2015, floundering in the top 70’s in 2017 to this stage. Yet, she iterated “to me it doesn’t. For me, every practice, every match that I’ve played, the year feels short and long at the same time. But I’m aware of all the work that I’ve put in; I’m aware of all the sacrifices that every player does to stay at this level. In my opinion, it didn’t feel fast. It feels kind of long”.

Prior to the match, Osaka reflected “everyone has dreams that they want to win. I’ve had dreams that I’ve won this tournament and I don’t want to jinx it. Now that I’ve won a grand slam, the biggest thing for me is the belief. I think I believe in myself more this year. I want to win another one. I feel lucky that I’m kind of unknown. I’m a ghost, you don’t see me”. Even if she or others may have thought the U.S. Open was a fluke, with her second major, Osaka is no longer invisible any longer. Moreover, by ascending to world number one, she has beenforced out the shadow into the light. The Australian Open is her coming out party.

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2012 Miami Open Champion Agnieszka Radwanska Announces Retirement

2012 Miami Open Champion Agnieszka Radwanska Announces Retirement

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Agnieszka Radwanska, the 2012 Miami Open champion, announced her retirement from the WTA professional tennis tour. The former world number 2 from Poland made history when she became the first Polish player, man or woman, to reach a Major singles final at the 2012 Wimbledon Championships. Known for her crafty all court game, Radwanska will be missed on the WTA tour.

Here is the official press release from the Women’s Tennis Association:

Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska announced today her retirement from professional tennis. She leaves the game following 20 career WTA singles titles, highlighted by the 2015 BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global trophy.

Radwanska became the first player from Poland – man or woman – to reach a Grand Slam singles final at 2012 Wimbledon, which helped her reach a career high ranking of WTA World No.2. She earned over $27.6 million in prize money over her career, which currently ranks seventh on the all-time career prize money earnings list.

“Today, after 13 years of playing tennis competitively, I have decided to end my career,” said Radwanska in her statement. “This was not an easy decision. I am grateful to have so many special memories, including 20 WTA titles, the WTA Championships in Singapore, a Wimbledon final, and so many others.”

In addition to her on court accomplishments, Radwanska, also known as “the Magician” by fans and media due to her crafty style of play, was voted the WTA Fan Favorite for six consecutive years.

“Congratulations to Agnieszka on an outstanding career,” said WTA CEO and Chairman Steve Simon. “Agnieszka embodies the qualities that make a true champion, on the court delivering world class performances and incredible displays of athleticism, and off the court with her poise, professionalism and support for her fellow players. Agnieszka leaves a legacy on the game across the globe and on behalf of the WTA, she will truly be missed.”

Radwanska played her last professional match in September at the KEB Hana Bank Incheon Airport Korea Open in Seoul.

Click here to read more on Radwanska’s remarkable career.

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