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

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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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