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2019 Miami Open Player Field Announced

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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

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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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Djokovic Vanquishes Del Potro for Third U.S. Open Crown

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Djokovic Vanquishes Del Potro for Third U.S. Open Crown


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In 2002, Pete Sampras capped his illustrious career by claiming his 14th major at the U.S. Open, a number which seemed insurmountable for future generation at the time. Today, Novak Djokovic downed Juan Martin Del Potro 6-3, 7-6, 6-3 to hoist the U.S. Open trophy, tying Sampras’ record.

What was suppose to be a routine seventh service game for Del Potro, up 40-0, turned into a nightmare as Djokovic induced a series of miscues to seize the break. Quickly, with an uneventful hold, the Serb sealed the first set.

On the surface, it was a straight sets victory. However, the match was anything but straightforward. After Djokovic broke in the opening game of the second set, Del Potro returned the favor in the fifth game. Up 4-3, the Argentine could not penetrate Djokovic’s formidable defense. Consequently, the Serb dismissed three break points in an eighth game which lasted 20 minutes. The set was decided by a tiebreaker. After the initial three points went against the server, Del Potro finally gained a 3-1 advantage with a forehand down the line winner. Yet, with the same stroke misfiring, the players were back on serve. With two consecutive errors on serve, Del Potro went down 4-5. As the Argentine’s forehand, his most ominous weapon, deserted him, a 95 minutes set terminated with Del Potro netting a crosscourt forehand.

Again it was Djokovic pocketing the early break for 3-1 in the third set. Still, Del Potro clawed his way back and ultimately levelled the score. Djokovic’s steady play put an end to Del Potro’s two game streak and the Serb moved ahead 4-3. Promptly with a forehand flub and a double fault, Del Potro stared at double break point. As the Argentine’s backhand sailed wide, Djokovic secured the 5-3 lead. Soon, a forehand down the line winner gave Djokovic match point. It was all the Serb needed as he struck an overhead winner to conclude the set and nab his third championship after 3 hours and 15 minutes.

A chant broke out from his horde of fans as the 2018 finalist stepped up to the mic during the trophy ceremony. Del Potro cited “it’s not easy to speak right now, but I love you too guys. I’m so happy to be playing the final against this magnificent idol. He is one of my friends on tour, he knows if there is one player I want to watch winning title is him. Of course, I’m sad because I [loss], but I’m happy for Novak and his team as well. You deserve to win”.

For Del Potro, the 2009 U.S. Open titlist and world number three, it’s been a long journey to his second major final. With multiple wrist surgeries, there was doubt that he would ever return to this caliber of tennis. He expressed “I never gave up. . . I was trying to fix all my injuries to be back here, I got it after nine years which is amazing to me because the U.S. Open is my favorite tournament on tour and I am very proud for that”.

Always one to look at the glass more than half full, Del Potro conveyed in Spanish “I want to thank my team, all those who have helped me to get to this stage, my friends, all the people who have supported me. Even from those in Argentina, I could feel the energy. Lastly, I believe at times one can win or lose a tournament, but the love of the people is worth as much as this trophy. I already have this trophy, so I’ll take away with me the love from all of you”.

Post elbow surgery in March, Djokovic was an average player. A semifinal run in Rome where he fell to Rafael Nadal improved his record to 7-6. After an unexpected ousting by Marco Cecchinato in the quarterfinals at Roland Garros, Djokovic may have hoped, yet, it would hard to imagine that he’d bank on triumphs at both Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. He credits his resurgence to the “support of the love ones, my kids, my wife, my team, a small group of people that has been with me through difficult times as well. When I had the surgery this year, I could truly understand what Juan Martin was going through. . . You learn from adversity. . . I tried to take the best out of myself in these moments.”

What does this title signify for Djokovic, equaling Sampras’ feat, third on the all time list “I was hoping he was going to be here tonight, Pete you are my idol and I love you”. Moreover, Djokovic stated “I want to congratulate Juan Martin for what he has done, coming back last five years, having faith and belief in himself that one day he will be a top player. I wish him all the best. I know he is going to be here again with the champion trophy”.

With Nadal retiring in the semifinals with a knee injury after being down 2 sets to Del Potro, his future is uncertain. Thus, with this win, Djokovic gains traction, moving from a ranking of six to top three. As such, he has a realistic shot at ending as the year end number one.

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Djokovic Picks Up Fourth Wimbledon Trophy

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Djokovic Picks Up Fourth Wimbledon Trophy



Novak Djokovic dispatched Kevin Anderson 6-2, 6-2, 7-6 in the Wimbledon finals in order to acquire his 4th major at that the All England Club.

At the beginning of this fortnight, it’s unlikely that the odds maker had the South African on their radar. Anderson, the 2017 U.S. Open runner up, shocked Roger Federer in the quarterfinals. Never previously winning a set in their four prior meetings, he overcame a 0-2 set deficit, match point, to prevail 13-11 in the fifth, in a match lasting 4 hour and 14 minute. Two days later, clashing with John Isner, a player no stranger to marathon matches, Anderson outlasted the American 26-24 in the decisive set, he was on court for 6 hour and 36 minute. Djokovic for his part endured a 5 hour 15 minute tussle with Rafael Nadal in the semifinals over two days edging the Spaniard 10-8 in the fifth. Would fatigue be a factor as Anderson attempted to elevate his status not only to the first South African to get to the last dance, but to that of victor at this venue?

The two competitors had met 6 times before. The South African’s sole win was at the Miami Open in 2008. Anderson’s inability to connect on his most valuable asset the serve, gave Djokovic the initial game as the South African double faulted. Swiftly with another errant forehand by Anderson, Djokovic consolidated for 2-0. Later, with Anderson dumping a backhand volley into the net, Djokovic capitalized on another break point and with a love game padded his lead to 5-1. With this insurmountable advantage, Djokovic eventually captured the set.

Concern over his right elbow prompted Anderson to call the trainer for treatment, however, this was not sufficient to slow down Djokovic. A backhand miscue handed Djokovic breakpoint in the opening game. In a carbon copy of the first set, the Serb cashed in and after a hold jumped in front 2-0. Down the road, a double fault by Anderson gifted Djokovic 15-40. With the South African’s forehand up the line landing wide, Djokovic moved ahead 4-1. Serving for the set at 5-2, Djokovic’s stroke misfired off a tremendous return by his opponent. Yet, Anderson failed to convert on his first break opportunity. Djokovic went on to pocket the second set.

In the third set, with time his adversary, Anderson changed tactics slightly by coming to the net more frequently. In the eight game, a let court allowed the South African to control the point and get a break chance. However, with his backhand traveling long, Djokovic arrived at deuce and ultimately leveled the score at 4-4. The Serbian stared down two set points in his next service game. After a love hold by Anderson for 6-5, his best window to take the set came with Djokovic’s forehand down the line flub giving him 15-40. Still it was a no go. A third break point was swiftly dismissed by Djokovic. Soon with an ace, the score was 6-6. In the tiebreaker, Djokovic curled a forehand up the line pass for a winner for 3-1. Then, with Anderson’s backhand volley missing it’s target, the Serb sprinted to a 5-1 edge. With Anderson’s return finding the net, Djokovic sealed the deal at 7-3.

Anderson drove as hard as he could to make the match competitive “first and second sets, Novak beat up on me pretty bad. The whole fortnight I tried my best to keep at it, came a point or two from pushing it to the fourth set. It would have been great to play longer here. But playing against Novak isn’t easy. He is a true champion of our sport and congratulation to him.” Commenting on his physical condition, Anderson said “I am definitely not as fresh now as I was coming into the week. But this is such an amazing tournament for us players. We dedicate our whole lives to fight for a spot to be on this court. . . there’s only been a few individuals who’ve made it out here, so that’s what it takes for me to get to here, I would have given another 21 hours. It really meant a lot to me.”

After a 2 year drought, Djokovic has his 13th major “It feels amazing [to be holding the trophy] because for the first time I have someone screaming daddy, daddy. . . I’m very emotional. . . I want to congratulate Kevin and his team. . . In his first Wimbledon final, he didn’t play his best for two sets, but in the third, he was the better player. I was quite lucky to get through ”

Following his career grand slam achievement in 2016 at the French Open, Djokovic hit a dirt patch with only two titles in 2017. A round of 16 exit at the Australian Open this year finally convinced him that a niggling elbow issue could not be fixed with rehab, he underwent surgery. In addition, returning to familiar roots, coach Marian Vjada, considering today’s outcome was his most astute decision. Djokovic cited “I had to trust the process. . . I owe a great thanks to my team, last couple of years it hasn’t been easy. With a severe injury, I had many moments of doubt and did not know whether I could come back to a level to compete. . . No better place in the world to make a comeback, it’s a sacred place for the world of tennis”

When the new rankings are revealed, Djokovic will rejoin the top 10 from his current position at 21. While Anderson crack the top 5 for the first time from his spot at 8.

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Djokovic Dominates Nishikori to Win Miami Open for Sixth Time

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Djokovic Dominates Nishikori to Win Miami Open for Sixth Time


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Miami, Ricky Dimon @Dimonator
Novak Djokovic pulled off a three-peat at the Miami Open and won the tournament for the sixth time in his career by defeating Kei Nishikori 6-3, 6-3 on Sunday afternoon. Djokovic got off to a relatively slow start and dropped serve twice in the first set but ended up cruising to the title in one hour and 26 minutes.

Nishikori broke right away at love for a quick 1-0 advantage in the opener only to give it right back. The world No. 1 soon found himself trailing by a break before earning another scalp of the Djokovic serve at 2-4. A somewhat bizarre first set saw Nishikori win eight return points–all of which came in two love service breaks. Djokovic held his other three service games at love.

Set two was more straightforward, with the top-seeded Serb surrendering only four points on serve. Two breaks were more than enough for Djokovic, who coasted to the finish line as Nishikori began struggling with an apparent knee problem.

“I thought he started very well breaking my serve in the first game and coming out with some big forehands and aggressive play,” the champion reflected. “I needed to answer right back, which I did in the following game…which helped me mentally to kind of continue the match in a right way. Because if you’re a break down, 2-0 down, things are a little bit different, obviously–especially against a player like Kei.

“It was best performance of the tournament (today). It came at the right time against a great, quality player.”

“I thought I wasn’t playing too bad,” Nishikori assessed. “But (at the) same time, he played great tennis. So that’s why I couldn’t play what I wanted to play. Also my serve wasn’t going (well) today. So that was [a] shame to have that, because he had a great return. I felt a little pressure on my service game.”

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In triumphing, Djokovic gained sole possession of the all-time lead in Masters 1000 titles with 28. He also surpassed Boris Becker for 11th place on the all-time ATP Open Era victories list with 714. Additionally, Djokovic moved past Roger Federer for No. 1 on the career prize money chart and completed the Indian Wells-Miami double for a record fourth time.

“Every year that I come back to Miami, I do go through those memories from back in 2007…the first Masters I won; (it) opened a lot of doors for me, gave me a lot of self-belief,” Djokovic added. “I started to realize that I’m able to win the big trophies and to beat the best players in the world. So of course this is a particular place for me to come back to, now winning it six times. Obviously I don’t take any win for granted, and especially in the big ones.”

Ricky Dimon is a contributor to MiamiTennisNews and writes for tenngrand.com. You can follow him on Twitter under @Dimonator by clicking here.

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Djokovic Gets Past Goffin, Joined by Nishikori in Miami Open Final

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Djokovic Gets Past Goffin, Joined by Nishikori in Miami Open Final


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Miami, Ricky Dimon @Dimonator
Novak Djokovic booked a spot in his 13th consecutive final at the Masters 1000 and World Tour Finals levels by defeating David Goffin 7-6(5), 6-4 in the Miami Open semis on Friday afternoon. Djokovic improved to 27-1 on the season (his only loss has come via retirement) after two hours and five minutes.

Playing in his second straight Masters 1000 semifinal, having reached the same stage in Indian Wells, Goffin got off to a blistering start. The 15th-ranked Belgian survived a marathon service game at 2-3, after which he promptly broke Djokovic for a surprising 4-3 advantage. But the top-seeded Serb broke right back for 4-4 and never relinquished the momentum.

Djokovic gave back a mini-break at 4-3 in the tiebreaker, but he regained the upper hand with a return point at 5-4 before closing out the ‘breaker at 6-5. A more straightforward second set saw the world No. 1 use a single break at 3-3 to get the job done.

“I was aware of the level that he raised his game in last couple of months,” Djokovic said of his opponent. “And the fact that he played the first semifinals of a Masters 1000 event in his career in Indian Wells gave him–obviously–confidence coming into today’s match. I knew he [was] going to try to take his chances; going to try to be aggressive.

“It was evident that we both struggled with conditions today, especially after a tough start that…I think three games went 15 minutes and then the whole first set lasted for (an) hour and 15 minutes. Physically (it was) a great battle; lots of exchanges from the baseline.”

“With Novak you have a lot of balls to hit, and sometimes you’re feeling better game after game,” Goffin commented. “Yeah, that’s why I was feeling good on my baseline, so maybe that’s why it was a good match and it wasn’t scary [going up] against Novak.”

In the nightcap, Kei Nishikori had no fear against a confident Nick Kyrgios. With a remarkably clean performance, the Japanese star quieted the 20-year-old Australian 6-3, 7-5 in one hour and 24 minutes.

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Nishikori gave back a break midway through the second set with a double-fault, but that was the only occasion on which he dropped serve. The world No. 6 made up for it by breaking Kyrgios at 6-5. He capitalized on his second match point with a lunging forehand volley at the end of an entertaining rally.

“It was tough straight from the get-go,” Kyrgios admitted. “I had pretty much one easy service game, and that was the first game. He’s just playing such good tennis. When he plays me, he plays so aggressive; doesn’t let me dictate points.”

Ricky Dimon is a contributor to MiamiTennisNews and writes for tenngrand.com. You can follow him on Twitter under @Dimonator by clicking here.

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Goffin Books Semifinal Spot Against Djokovic at the Miami Open

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Goffin Books Semifinal Spot Against Djokovic at the Miami Open


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Miami, Ricky Dimon @Dimonator

Prior to the start of the BNP Paribas Open, David Goffin had never been past the quarterfinals of a Masters 1000 event. There was no reason to think anything different would transpire when Goffin faced match points against Frances Tiafoe in the Indian Wells second round earlier this month. But he saved both match points, ended up winning in a third-set tiebreaker, and the rest is history.

The red-hot Belgian reached the semifinals in the desert, upsetting Stan Wawrinka in the process before succumbing to Milos Raonic. With momentum in hand, Goffin has accomplished the same feat at the Miami Open. Benefiting from Roger Federer’s withdrawal in what became a wide-open section of the bracket, Goffin capitalized on the opportunity to cruise into the last eight with straight-set defeats of Marcel Granollers, Viktor Troicki, and Horacio Zeballos.

With the competition level ratcheted up in the form of Gilles Simon on Wednesday, Goffin came up with all the answers and recovered from a set deficit to prevail 3-6, 6-2, 6-1 in one hour and 57 minutes. The world No. 15 converted five of six break chances in the final two sets after missing all six of his opportunities in the opener.

“The first set it was tough because it was a good set with a good level,” Goffin reflected. “Gilles was really solid on his baseline, but I didn’t serve really well in the first set. I didn’t have any free points with my serve, so it was tough.

“I knew that the level was there and I had to keep going like this, just to stay more focused on some shots just to finish the points…. Then game after game I was feeling much better. The serve was there in the third set. Yeah, I think with the serve it was the key to win the third.”

Goffin will obviously have to do everything well in his semifinal showdown against Novak Djokovic on Friday. Djokovic, who has not lost this season by anything other than retirement (to Feliciano Lopez in Dubai), cruised past Tomas Berdych 6-3, 6-3 on Wednesday night.

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The top-seeded Serb got broken only once, just as he did against Dominic Thiem on Tuesday. But this time around it was far more straightforward; Djokovic had to fight off a slew of break points (14 of 15 was the final tally) in the fourth round before facing only three with Berdych on the other side of the net.

“The opening three or four games went over 20 minutes,” Djokovic commented. “We both started with great intensity and concentration. I think we made each other play a lot…. I just managed to keep my composure and play the right shots at the right time.”

On the other side of the draw, Milos Raonic will battle Nick Kyrgios on Thursday while Kei Nishikori squares off against Gael Monfils.

Ricky Dimon is a contributor to MiamiTennisNews and writes for tenngrand.com. You can follow him on Twitter under @Dimonator by clicking here.

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Djokovic Escapes Thiem to Advance to Miami Open Quarterfinals

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Djokovic Escapes Thiem to Advance to Miami Open Quarterfinals


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Miami, Ricky Dimon @Dimonator

The record will indicate that Novak Djokovic made routine work of Dominic Thiem during fourth-round action at the Miami Open on Wednesday afternoon. A more accurate picture, however, is painted by both the statistics and the eye test. Anyone who was in attendance surely appreciated the entertaining affair to which they were treated, even though Djokovic got the job done in seemingly dominant 6-3, 6-4 fashion.

A much different story could have unfolded if Thiem had been able to come up with the goods at the critical junctures. Instead, the 22-year-old Austrian squandered 14 of 15 break points and the only one he converted came courtesy of a Djokovic double-fault.

In the opening set, Thiem survived a three-deuce game and saved one set point to hold for 3-5. He then had four break points to get back on serve, but Djokovic battled trough a four-deuce game to seal the deal. With the top-seeded Serb serving for the match at 5-4 in the second, he fought off four more break points, navigated seven deuces, and finally converted a fourth match point to triumph after one hour and 49 minutes.

“It [was] going to end sooner or later,” Djokovic commented. “Generally I don’t face that many break points, but conversion of break points from my opponent today was only one out of [15], so that’s a positive in a way. But I’ll try not to get myself in those positions too much…. It was a straight-set win, but far from easy. It was a tough match.”

“Today (there) were positive and negative things,” Thiem posted on Facebook. “I can take advantage of (them) in the future…. I couldn’t take advantage of my [break points]; I only converted one out of 15; that’s [not enough], especially when your opponent is the No. 1 in the world.

“Nevertheless, I am happy about my performance here in Miami; I was able to gain some new experience and now I am heading, of course a little bit disappointed, back home. Next up, clay-court season!”

The hard-court proceedings will continue at least one more one more round for Djokovic, and for Gael Monfils. Joining Djokovic in the quarterfinals by also prevailing on Tuesday were Monfils, Milos Raonic, Nick Kyrgios, Tomas Berdych, Gilles Simon, and David Goffin. Monfils recovered from a set deficit to outlast Grigor Dimitrov 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-3 in a day-session match that went well into the night.

After going down an immediate break in the third set, the Frenchman broke right back and earned another scalp of the Dimitrov serve at 4-3 before closing the door at love in emphatic fashion. By lasting exactly two and a half hours, it forced the Kei Nishikori vs. Roberto Bautista Agut showdown to be moved from the stadium to the Grandstand.

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

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Murray Falls to Dimitrov at the Miami Open

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Murray Falls to Dimitrov at the Miami Open


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Miami, Ricky Dimon @Dimonator

First it was Roger Federer. Then it was Rafael Nadal. And the hits have kept coming at the Miami Open.

Federer withdrew from the tournament due to illness, while Nadal could not get through his first match because of issues related to the heat. David Ferrer followed his fellow Spaniard out of South Beach by losing to Lucas Pouille on Sunday night. On the women’s side, Serena Williams and Agnieszka Radwanska both lost on Monday afternoon. The carnage continued when Andy Murray succumbed to Grigor Dimitrov 6-7(1), 6-4, 6-3 during third-round action.

Dimitrov trailed 3-1 in the final set but reeled off five straight games to wrap up the victory in impressive style after two hours and 25 minutes. It was a much-needed result–and one of his best ever–for the Bulgarian, who currently registers 20 spots off his career-high ranking at 28th in the world. He had not defeated a top-10 opponent since upsetting then-No. 9 Stan Wawrinka at the Monte-Carlo Masters last spring. This is Dimitrov’s second-even win at the expense of a top-2 opponent, having previously stunned world No. 1 Novak Djokovic on the clay courts of Madrid in 2013.

“I’m happy,” Dimitrov assured. “Of course I’m happy with that victory. Every time you beat a top player you know you must have done something good.

“I played quite a few times against [Murray]. I think we know our games pretty well. I just played better in the good moments today. That’s it. I think I was just a smart player throughout the course of the whole match. Even though I lost the first set, I kept a good composure…. I think when I was 3-1 down in the third set, I really felt that I know I’m going to get another chance because I was returning well, playing very good in the key moments.”

Murray played a near-flawless first-set tiebreaker, but he struggled in the pressure-packed moments throughout the duration of the proceedings. After trailing 4-0 in the second set, he had a break point to get back on level terms at 5-5 but could not convert. The Scot also dropped his last three service games of the match without even getting to deuce a single time.

“(I made) a lot of unforced errors in the third set for sure,” Murray lamented. “Obviously (I) didn’t start the second set particularly well. After winning a close first set you obviously want to try and put your opponent under pressure. Credit to him. He was more solid than me…. Physically it was okay. I mean, the conditions were actually not that bad today. It was just humid. Obviously the cloud cover helped. It was just very, very humid. Physically I was okay.”

Dimitrov will have to be ready for another physical battle against Gael Monfils on Tuesday. Monfils has enjoyed a much more routine trek through the Miami draw, having disposed of Tatsuma Ito and Pablo Cuevas in easy straight sets. Dimitrov, on the other hand, preceded his triumph over Murray by outlasting Federico Delbonis 7-6(8), 4-6, 6-4 in two hours and 39 minutes.

Joining Dimitrov and Monfils in the last 16 were Nick Kyrgios, Kei Nishikori, Roberto Bautista Agut, and Andrey Kuznetsov.

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

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Order Restored at the Miami Open as Djokovic Cruises

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Order Restored at the Miami Open as Djokovic Cruises


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Miami, Ricky Dimon
Order was restored to the Miami Open on Sunday, when scorching conditions relinquished at least a small part of their grip on Crandon Park Tennis center. Three retirements in the men’s singles draw had taken place amidst brutal heat on Saturday, which was not what the tournament needed 24 hours after Roger Federer withdrew due to illness. But no early stoppages plagued the field on Sunday as third-round action got underway.

Novak Djokovic’s only real trouble came in the form of a nasty fall during his first set against Joao Sousa. The world No. 1 also dropped serve twice in the opener, but he eventually picked up the pace and cruised to a 6-4, 6-1 victory.

“I slipped few times,” Djokovic commented. “Conditions here are quite different from Indian Wells. It’s pretty humid. Players are sweating a lot, so you have some obviously spots, especially behind the baseline, where it’s a little bit too wet…. That first set went down to a few points; (a) couple (of) long games when I lost my serve and then I broke him back. After that it was quite a good performance.”

It was a positively dominant one in set two. Djokovic surrendered a mere three points in three service games while breaking Sousa on three occasions. Sousa won just 10 points in the entire set before bowing out after one hour and 17 minutes.

“(The) second set felt much more comfortable,” the top-seeded Serb assured. “(I was) serving very well the entire day. It’s not easy. Obviously everybody talks about conditions being different, but it’s something that you have to accept. It’s same for your opponent and you. I’m glad that I managed to finish the match the way (I did).”

Four of the eight men’s matches on Sunday took long, circuitous routes to finish. A quartet of contests went the three-set distance and each of those four lasted more than two and half hours.

Tomas Berdych and Steve Johnson began the day on stadium court and the Czech needed two hours and 43 minutes to hold off the American 6-3, 6-7(6), 6-3. On the Grandstand, lucky loser Horacio Zeballos saved one match point before upsetting Fernando Verdasco 1-6, 6-4, 7-6(4) in two hours and 34 minutes. Following a Richard Gasquet rout of Benoit Paire in between, Gilles Simon outlasted Marin Cilic 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-3 in two hours and 46 minutes. It was the sixth time in as many head-to-head meetings that Simon and Cilic went to a final set.

Arguably the best was saved for last, as the nightcap in the stadium saw David Ferrer and Lucas Pouille battle to just a few minutes shy of 12:00 a.m. After two hours and 45 minutes of a roller-coaster affair, Pouille pulled off a 6-7(1), 7-6(5), 7-5 upset. The Frenchman held serve at 6-5 in the third from 15-40 down to clinch the biggest win of his career.

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

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