Tag Archive | "Venus"

Federer, Halep and Kvitova In Action Monday at the Miami Open

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Federer, Halep and Kvitova In Action Monday at the Miami Open


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Roger Federer continues his quest for his fourth Miami Open title on Monday when he will take on Filip Krajinovic from Serbia. Krajinovic reached the 4th round this year at Indian Wells and is hoping to equal that performance in Miami.

Prior to the Federer match, Petra Kvitova will face off against Caroline Garcia. Her best result to date in Miami is a quarter final appearance in 2014. Kvitova can achieve the world number 1 ranking if she wins the title on Saturday.

The last day session match on Stadium court will see world number 2 Simona Halep take on Venus Williams. Halep’s best showing in Miami was a semifinal appearance in 2015. Venus has hoisted the Miami Open trophy on 3 prior occasions.

The night session will feature Frances Tiafoe versus David Ferrer followed by Karolina Pliskova versus Yulia Putintseva.

Here is the complete order of play for March 25, 2019

STADIUM start 12:00 noon

WTA – [3] P. Kvitova (CZE) vs [19] C. Garcia (FRA) 

Not Before 1:00 pm

ATP – F. Krajinovic (SRB) vs [4] R. Federer (SUI)
Not Before 4:00 pm

WTA – V. Williams (USA) vs [2] S. Halep (ROU) 

Not Before 7:30 pm

ATP – [28] F. Tiafoe (USA) vs [WC] D. Ferrer (ESP) 

Not Before 9:00 pm

WTA – [5] Ka. Pliskova (CZE) vs Y. Putintseva (KAZ)

GRANDSTAND start 12:00 noon

ATP – [6] K. Anderson (RSA) vs J. Sousa (POR) 

Not Before 2:00 pm

WTA – [27] S. Hsieh (TPE) vs [13] C. Wozniacki (DEN) 

ATP – [20] D. Shapovalov (CAN) vs [Q] A. Rublev (RUS) 

ATP – [8] S. Tsitsipas (GRE) vs L. Mayer (ARG) 

Not Before 7:00 pm

WTA – M. Vondrousova (CZE) vs T. Maria (GER)

COURT 1 start 11:00 am

ATP – [24] G. Dimitrov (BUL) vs J. Thompson (AUS) 

WTA – [21] A. Kontaveit (EST) vs B. Andreescu (CAN) 

ATP – [13] D. Medvedev (RUS) vs [Q] R. Opelka (USA) 

ATP – [14] M. Cecchinato (ITA) vs [18] D. Goffin (BEL) 

WTA – Y. Wang (CHN) vs [18] Q. Wang (CHN)

BUTCH BUCHHOLZ COURT start 11:00 am

WTA – [12] A. Barty (AUS) vs [7] K. Bertens (NED) 

ATP – M. Middelkoop (NED) / D. Schwartzman (ARG) vs I. Dodig (CRO) / E. Roger-Vasselin (FRA) 

ATP – R. Albot (MDA) / N. Basilashvili (GEO) vs [5] O. Marach (AUT) / M. Pavic (CRO) 

After Suitable Rest – [1] L. Kubot (POL) / M. Melo (BRA) vs G. Pella (ARG) / J. Sousa (POR) 

ATP – [3] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA) vs N. Jarry (CHI) / F. Skugor (CRO)

COURT 6 start 12:00 noon

WTA – [8] H. Chan (TPE) / L. Chan (TPE) vs V. Kudermetova (RUS) / D. Schuurs (NED) 

WTA – S. Aoyama (JPN) / L. Marozava (BLR) vs B. Bencic (SUI) / D. Kasatkina (RUS) 

WTA – TBA – [3] S. Hsieh (TPE) / B. Strycova (CZE) vs E. Mertens (BEL) / A. Sabalenka (BLR

STADIUM start 12:00 noon

WTA – [3] P. Kvitova (CZE) vs [19] C. Garcia (FRA) 

Not Before 1:00 pm

ATP – F. Krajinovic (SRB) vs [4] R. Federer (SUI) 

Not Before 4:00 pm

WTA – V. Williams (USA) vs [2] S. Halep (ROU) 

Not Before 7:30 pm

ATP – [28] F. Tiafoe (USA) vs [WC] D. Ferrer (ESP) 

Not Before 9:00 pm

WTA – [5] Ka. Pliskova (CZE) vs Y. Putintseva (KAZ)

GRANDSTAND start 12:00 noon

ATP – [6] K. Anderson (RSA) vs J. Sousa (POR) 

Not Before 2:00 pm

WTA – [27] S. Hsieh (TPE) vs [13] C. Wozniacki (DEN) 

ATP – [20] D. Shapovalov (CAN) vs [Q] A. Rublev (RUS) 

ATP – [8] S. Tsitsipas (GRE) vs L. Mayer (ARG) 

Not Before 7:00 pm

WTA – M. Vondrousova (CZE) vs T. Maria (GER)

COURT 1 start 11:00 am

ATP – [24] G. Dimitrov (BUL) vs J. Thompson (AUS) 

WTA – [21] A. Kontaveit (EST) vs B. Andreescu (CAN) 

ATP – [13] D. Medvedev (RUS) vs [Q] R. Opelka (USA) 

ATP – [14] M. Cecchinato (ITA) vs [18] D. Goffin (BEL) 

WTA – Y. Wang (CHN) vs [18] Q. Wang (CHN)

BUTCH BUCHHOLZ COURT start 11:00 am

WTA – [12] A. Barty (AUS) vs [7] K. Bertens (NED) 

ATP – M. Middelkoop (NED) / D. Schwartzman (ARG) vs I. Dodig (CRO) / E. Roger-Vasselin (FRA) 

ATP – R. Albot (MDA) / N. Basilashvili (GEO) vs [5] O. Marach (AUT) / M. Pavic (CRO) 

After Suitable Rest – [1] L. Kubot (POL) / M. Melo (BRA) vs G. Pella (ARG) / J. Sousa (POR) 

ATP – [3] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA) vs N. Jarry (CHI) / F. Skugor (CRO)

COURT 6 start 12:00 noon

WTA – [8] H. Chan (TPE) / L. Chan (TPE) vs V. Kudermetova (RUS) / D. Schuurs (NED) 

WTA – S. Aoyama (JPN) / L. Marozava (BLR) vs B. Bencic (SUI) / D. Kasatkina (RUS) 

WTA – TBA – [3] S. Hsieh (TPE) / B. Strycova (CZE) vs E. Mertens (BEL) / A. Sabalenka (BLR

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

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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

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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

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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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Marvelous Monday at Miami Open Features Federer versus Del Potro as the Marquee Match

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Marvelous Monday at Miami Open Features Federer versus Del Potro as the Marquee Match


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From the outset of the draw, the most anticipated potential third round encounter was Roger Federer against Juan Martin Del Potro. The fans got their wish since these two will battle it out for a fourth round berth.

Secondary to injury, Del Potro has off the tennis circuit for long stretches at a time the last four years. The last time Federer and he collided was in 2013 at the Barclays’ world tour finals. Federer holds a 15-5 record over the Argentine. As always the X-factor is the South American fans. Without question, the stadium will be sizzling which means anything can happen.

After the heights of Federer and Del Potro, John Isner clashes with youngster Alexander Zverev. The 19 year old, currently ranked 20th, won their sole prior meeting at the 2016 ATP Masters tournament in Shanghai.

For the women, the daytime’s most compelling match is Garbine Muguruza taking on former world number one Caroline Wozniacki. The 2016 French Open champion clawed her way to this stage needing three sets in both matches while Wozniacki sailed through. Muguruza has a 3-1 lead in their head to head. However, the two have not competed against each other since 2015.

Top seed Stanislas Wawrinka has the honor of opening the night session against 33 year old Tunisian veteran Malek Jaziri who is this far at Miami Open for the first time. He has a Herculean task in keeping his hopes for a fourth round spot alive as the two meet for the first time.

The night ends with two former Miami Open champions Venus Williams and Svetlana Kuznetsova duking it out for a quarterfinal spot. They’ve fought it out on court nine times previously with the Russian banking 5 wins over the American.

With the women seeking advancement to the quarterfinals, there is a plethora of interesting matches to pick from on Monday including world number one Angelique Kerber’s and second seed Karolina Pliskova’s.

Click here for for Monday’s complete order of play.

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Venus Williams and Kerber Move on to the Fourth Round at the Miami Open

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Venus Williams and Kerber Move on to the Fourth Round at the Miami Open


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Three time Miami Open champion Venus Williams took another step forward in the hope of seizing another trophy at the Miami Open. She defeated 22 year old Romanian qualifier Patricia Maria Tig 6-3, 6-0 to advance to the fourth round where she will face 2006 winner and 2016 finalist Svetlana Kuznetsova. The Russian put a stop to American qualifier Taylor Townsend’s dream run with a 6-4, 6-2 triumph.

The first point of the match was a double fault by Williams. The 36 year old struggled to find the rhythm on her first serve which cost her in the third game, permitting Tig to capitalize on break point for 2-1. Undeterred, Williams broke back at love to even up the scoreboard.

Up to that point, the Romanian had been quite impressive knocking out Heather Watson of Great Britain in her maiden main draw match. Subsequently, she dismissed 2017 Indian Wells semifinalist and 18th seed Kristina Mladenovic in straight sets.

Once up 4-3, Venus seemed to find her form and by feasting on the second serve offerings by Tig. She got the second break of the set for 5-3. Later with a winner, she closed out the deal on her serve.

The 2017 Australian Open finalist and 7 time major title holder cruised through the second set pocketing six successive games to get to the next stage.

Williams did not get out of the gate as expected, “I’ve never played her, so you have to get used to patterns or rhythm. So I thought she played well. She’s got a great game. Every game was competitive. Definitely a lot of credit to her.”

As the adage goes, it’s not how one starts but finishes. Venus turned on the afterburner in the second set “no matter what, I’m going to leave everything on the court: all my guts, blood, sweat, tears. Obviously you don’t want to wait until you’re a set down to find your best game. Today I was quite happy to acclimate quicker.”

On court coaching has been an aspect of the sport that Venus has hardly utilized, she likes to earn her victories the old fashion way “I hadn’t thought a ton about it. From my understanding, on-court coaching was supposed to be a selling point to build the game and get more interest . . . If it’s doing that, then it’s a plus. We want the game to grow and people to watch because it’s exciting. I don’t necessarily have an opinion. If it’s helping the game, I’m like down. I’m good.”

Regarding her next challenge, Kuznetsova who holds a 5-4 lead in their head to head, Venus made these comments pre match ” We’ve had a lot of great matches. I played her in the very beginning of her career and now we both have had great careers that are continuing to be amazing. I know her game. I don’t think there will be any surprises. She knows mine. I just want to continue to control the court. That’s what I’ll try to do.”

Earlier in the day, world number one and top seed Angelique Kerber had to work to obtain a 6-4, 7-5 win over American Shelby Rogers. In the first set, the top seed fell behind 3-0. However, she went on a five game streak to move ahead 5-4. Soon, with Rogers committing her 21st miscue, Kerber had triple set point which she banked as the American misfired again.

In the second set, with Rogers’ backhand winner clipping the line, Kerber faced triple break point. As the 2 time major champion dumped a forehand into the net, Rogers secured a 4-2 edge. But her joy lasted only a few minutes. The very next game she surrendered the advantage due to a litany of mistakes. In the eleventh game, Kerber allowed her opponent to press while she stayed consistent with her stroke. That strategy banked her the break for 6-5. With a swift hold, she punched her ticket into the round of 16.

Next up for the German will be 23 year old Japanese qualifier Risa Ozaki who upset 16th seed Kiki Bertens in the second round, then booted Julia Goerges ranked 47th.

Madison Keyes’ comeback from left wrist surgery is still a work in progress. Today the world number 9 was send packing by Lara Arruabarrena, ranked 72nd, 7-5, 7-5.

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Fabulous Friday at the Miami Open Features Nadal and Nishikori in Action

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Fabulous Friday at the Miami Open Features Nadal and Nishikori in Action


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Friday the men will be the main attraction at the Miami Open as top ten players finally take court for second round play. The initial ATP match on display in Stadium Court showcases world number four Kei Nishikori against Kevin Anderson. The two played on three previous occasions all in 2015. Nishikori holds a 2-1 advantage in the win column. A former top 10 player, Anderson’s ranking has fallen to 74 due to niggling injury the last two seasons. However in looking to rebound, the 6 foot 8 inch South African will be quite a handful for Nishikori last year’s Miami Open finalist.

Later on in the afternoon, four time Miami Open finalist Rafael Nadal, with the absence of Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, begins his hunt for his first title in South Florida. Standing in the way in his maiden match is Dudi Sela. They’ve battled once before at the Australian Open with The Spaniard prevailing comfortably in three sets.

In the evening session, Grigor Dimitrov collides with Guido Pella on Stadium court. Two years ago, they duked it out with Dimitrov edging the Argentine out in two tough sets 7-6,6-4. Ranked 13th in the world, Dimitrov should handle his opponent, now at 178, with ease. But factoring in that the Argentinian will have plenty of support from the pro South American crowd, things might get dicey for the Bulgarian.

American Jack Sock fresh off his semifinal run at Indian Wells faces off against Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka who himself as a lucky loser in the desert, had the tournament of his young tennis life so far. Nishioka shocked Ivo Karlovic and Tomas Berdych to arrive at the round of 16. He nearly collected his biggest scalp against Miami Open top seed Stanislas Wawrinka before succumbing in a third set tiebreaker after failing to close out the match twice after being up a break. In their second meeting, Sock hopes to do better than their first in Acapulco this year since he was unable to collect the W.

On the ladies’ side, with sister Serena sideline by injury, Venus Williams carries the family’s hope for this Miami Open. The three time champion last made an appearance in the finals in 2010 with an unfavorable result. She clashes with Beatriz Haddad Maia for the first time in the second round. Also, World number one Angelique Kerber starts her campaign for the title, looking to improving on her best showing in South Florida which was a semifinal berth in 2016. The German contends with China’s Ying-Ying Duan, the two have never battled.

Click here for Friday’s complete order of play.

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Serena Williams Seizes Her Eighth Miami Open Title

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Serena Williams Seizes Her Eighth Miami Open Title


IMG_9003_SerenaBy choosing South Florida as her base and lifting the trophy on seven prior occasions, the Miami Open is Serena Williams’ home. Consequently, this afternoon, first time finalist Carla Suarez Navarro needed to play the match of her career to steal the title from the two time defending champion. Williams romped Carla Suarez Navarro 6-2, 6-0 for a third successive Miami Open trophy, her eighth overall.

After coasting through the early stages, Serena averted close calls in the quarterfinals and semifinals. First, Williams fought off Sabine Lisicki 7-6, 1-6, 6-3, the player who ended her bid as defending champion for a sixth Wimbledon prize in 2013.

Next up, the world number one clashed with Simona Halep, the 2015 titlist at Indian Wells. Ironically, the Romanian received a walkover into the final from Williams at that event because of an inflamed knee. A match fit Serena battled herself, her opponent and the Romanian partisans but eventually prevailed 6-2, 4-6, 7-5.

The opening game was a glimpse of how the proceedings would unfold as Serena held at love. For a short time, Suarez Navarro managed to keep up and in the fifth game was at 30-30. However, with two aces, Serena moved ahead 3-2.

After the Spaniard dismissed double break point, Serena provoked a few errors and capitalized on her third break point. The American easily consolidated for 5-2. With another break, 17 winners, 8 unforced errors and in just 32 minutes, Williams secured the set.

Prior to the second set, Suarez Navarro conferred with her coach. His advice was to “change the rhythm, serve better, get the shots deeper”. Consequently, the first game of the second set, the Spaniard arrived at break point. But, with an ace, Serena dismissed the sole break point she stared at the entire match. Swiftly, Suarez Navarro surrendered the next game. The Spaniard won only two more points in the remainder of the match.

Suarez Navarro has yet to capture a set from the world number one in their five meetings. Moreover, this was Serena‘s fifth love set.

There were mixed feelings for Suarez Navarro after she shocked Venus Williams in the quarterfinals, then dispatched world number nine Andrea Petkovic to advance to the biggest final of her career, at one of only four mandatory premier tournaments.

The 26 year old expressed “ I came into the final with the firm belief that she could win.. . It was difficult to compete with her, I tried to be solid, however, with her strength it proved to be impossible.”

Still, Suarez Navarro affirms that “Serena is not unbeatable, she has more experience and success. People are aware that she beatable. But you have to play at a high level. My plan is keep believing and to work hard.”

Despite the score, Suarez Navarro attested that “ I enjoyed the tournament. it’s worth the pain, I fought till the end, you learn from these moments”. For her efforts, when the rankings are released, Suarez Navarro will be rewarded with the number 10 spot. Furthermore, she is the first Spanish female in the top ten since Conchita Martinez and Arantxa Sanchez Vicario.

Every time Serena step on the court, she climbs a new benchmark. This week, she joined the exclusive 700 wins club, only the eighth female player to reach that mark.

In 2013, she surpassed Steffi Graf‘s all time record of five trophies at the Miami Open. Following her tenth final at the Miami Open, with losses only to Venus in 1999 and Victoria Azarenka in 2009, Serena cited “it feels really good to have eight under my belt. Can’t say I thought I would win, especially at the beginning of the week. . .each one is special. Some finals are long; some finals have been shorter. At the end, each one is a lot of hard work. ”

Yet, Williams’ celebration was muted “I was so focused out there today. When you’re winning 5-Love, 40-Love, it’s not a surprise. . .you’ve kind of accepted that you’re going to win . . . It’s different if it’s 5-All or 7-5. You don’t know which way it’s going to turn.”

Serena is only the fourth WTA competitors to bank the same title at least eight times. Will she be aiming for twelve at the Miami Open? Martina Navratilova won Chicago that many times “I hope not. Because I would still be here  I would be how old? Let’s pray that I don’t get to 12.”

With her 66th career prize, Serena is one title away from knotting Billie Jean King at number six on the roll call. Serena’s goal for the clay season “ I just want to stay consistent and get a little more fit. . . you have longer matches. I’m looking forward to the challenge and looking to have fun.”

By collecting her 19th major at the Australian Open, Serena is for the sixth time in a position to pull off the calendar grand slam. Furthermore, Jennifer Capriati was the last person to hold both the French and Australian in 2001 “I don’t know if I can do it. I’ve never done it. . .I don’t think it’s necessarily tough. I just think that sometimes the tournament’s hard and you fall at the wrong time.”

For now, Serena will relish her recent triumph in Miami. Who knows one day instead of stadium court, it will be Serena Williams Stadium.

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Venus Williams Proceeds to the Quarterfinals at the Miami Open

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Venus Williams Proceeds to the Quarterfinals at the Miami Open


IMG_6949_VenusSeven time major winner Venus Williams ushered out world number four Caroline Wozniacki 6-3, 7-6 in the round of 16 at the Miami Open to punch her ticket into the quarterfinals for the first time since 2012.

The players could not maintain serve until the sixth game when Williams held for 4-3. Subsequent to a couple of long games, Wozniacki once again faltered. Venus broke to wrap up the opening set.

In the second set, Wozniacki threw the gauntlet with a break for 3-2. Although Williams found the equalizer promptly, as the serve deserted her, she was broken once more. In spite of difficulties, Wozniacki consolidated for 5-4. With the Dane serving for the set, Williams crushed a forehand up the line for triple break point. Soon, score was knotted at 5 a piece.

But, ahead 40-0, Williams had three consecutive double faults and eventually gifted another opportunity to her rival to push the match to a third set. Quickly, the American bounced back with triple break point and capitalized to bring up a tiebreaker.

With a nearly pristine performance, Williams claimed the tiebreaker 7-1. The American preserves her spotless record against Wozniacki and is now 7-0.

At age 34, no hint that she is contemplating retirement. Williams still has a passion for her profession “tennis has always been a blast…I never get bored. Tennis is not pushing paper. When you get out there you have no idea what’s going to happen. You can try to plan it the best you can, but it’s up in the air. You have to improvise every single time. You have to be very focused and disciplined. It’s all worth it when you get to the tournament, that excitement level comes up and I love it.”

Williams seized her 46th career title earlier in the year by also defeating Wozniacki in Auckland. Moreover, she advanced to the quarterfinals at a major for the first time since 2010. It’s been a long journey after her diagnosis of Sjogren syndrome “definitely a road not traveled. There is no handbook that says how to handle yourself. I’m persistent. I don’t give up and I believe in myself no matter what the odds are. I have always seen it as something to overcome and not something that could stop me.”

Williams made her debut at the Miami Open in 1997 and went on to land the title the following year, the biggest of her burgeoning career up to that point “Miami was my first big win besides the Australian Open mixed that year. So 1998 was definitely a great year. I learned a lot. Today, I played similar to young V, either knocking a winner or an error. It feels good.”

Williams had 40 winners today. With time, her game has changed “1997 I was a girl without a plan. Go out and swing. There’s a certain freedom to that, but there is also costly mistakes. At this stage, it’s about finding that happy medium, playing the percentage, being smart, using your experience, but at the same time continuing to be aggressive.”

With her appearance this season, Serena ended her boycott of Indian Wells. Is Venus far behind? “what Serena did was just awesome for me to see as a big sister. In this instance she took the role of big sister. We continue to protect each other no matter what. Next year is an Olympic year, it would be awesome to return, but I don’t know my schedule.”

Williams will clash with Carla Suarez Navarro in the subsequent match. The Spaniard stunned 2012 champion and world number eight Agnieszka Radwanska 5-7, 6-0, 6-4 to book her first quarterfinal appearance in Miami. Unlike today’s opponent, Suarez Navarro has 2-2 record against the American. Williams knows the match will be a battle “she plays a good mix of defense and offense. I just have to go out there and try to make my shot and use my power. Go for it.”

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