Tag Archive | "Wawrinka"

Federer Fends Off Albut to Advance to the Third Round at the Miami Open

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Federer Fends Off Albut to Advance to the Third Round at the Miami Open


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Three time Miami Open and holder of 20 majors Roger Federer struggled today in his opening match. Still, in the end, the Swiss put away qualifier Radu Albot 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 to move on to the third round at the Miami Open.

Playing someone for the first time can be a tricky, Federer dropped the opening game of the match and could not bank on any of the four break points he manufactured. Consequently, Albot, who secured his first ATP tile this year in Delray Beach, grew in confidence. Federer finally capitalized on break point in the second set to push the match to a third set. Once again, in the last set, one break point in Federer’s favor was the difference.

Federer pinpointed that his struggles stemmed from the fact that ” I felt like I was in two minds, how you play sometimes in a first round. You’re looking to take on the ball, but then sometimes you also know you just cannot go big all the time. You also have to hold back. Sometimes you feel like it happens always at the wrong times. You pull the trigger at the wrong times. You’re going safe at the wrong times. That has something to do with how I thought he played his game. He seemed very clear to me, and I wasn’t. In the heat of the moment, I started forgetting stuff also that my coach told me. I felt like all the important points, points that could have led to something interesting for me, I played poorly because I was in two minds. . . I thought actually how I protected my serve, after getting broken in the first game, was actually very good. There’s definitely really some good elements there in the game, but I did struggle obviously. I’m very, very happy that I found a way.”

In addition to the opponent, there was the venue to contend with “there’s definitely always a slight sort of buzz in the stadium. I think it’s more because of the size and the ventilation. You feel there’s always a bit of a noise there, which is sometimes a bit unusual for tennis. Of course, indoors you get that more often. We do have it occasionally. . .a very key element of our sport is you can hear a pin drop. . .Here it’s not so much the case. When somebody hits the ball, it’s not as clear maybe, which then can feel almost like it’s a little bit of an empty space. That can feel maybe a little bit different. I didn’t feel like it was totally something out of the ordinary where I had no clue where my boundaries were, like I’ve had maybe at some other courts from around the world in the past. I’ve gotten used to it quite quickly. . .it’s a big place. I mean, the side stands are huge. It goes far away. It’s unusual to have it that way. I would have thought maybe they would put it in the corner, the stadium, instead of on the long side. Still it was a good atmosphere.”

Stanislas Wawrinka, Federer’s countryman, was not as fortunate. The three time major champion fell in the day’s initial match to Filip Krajinovic 5-7, 6-2, 7-6 spoiling the all Swiss third round collision. Wawrinka led in the tiebreaker 5-2 and lost the next five points.

Other notable upsets include 9th seed Marin Cilic who went down to qualifier Andrey Rublev 6-4, 6-4. Tenth seed Karen Khachanov was sent packing by Australian Jordan Thompson 6-2, 6-3. American qualifier Reilly Opelka stunned 21st seed Argentine Diego Schwartzman 6-4, 3-6, 6-4. While 20th seed Denis Shapovalov squeezed by lucky loser Daniel Evans 4-6, 6-1, 6-3.

Also, moving onto third round are Kevin Anderson who toughed it out against Jaime Munar in three sets. Grigor Dimitrov had no trouble with Feliciano Lopez. The Bulgarina dismissed the Spaniard in 60 minutes, 6-1, 6-3. Eighth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, 13th seed Danil Medvedev, Leonardo Mayer, 18th seed David Goffin and Joao Sousa booked their bid into round three in straight sets.

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Saturday Finds Federer in the Spotlight at the Miami Open

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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, 3 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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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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Federer Top Billing on Saturday at the Miami Open

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Federer Top Billing on Saturday at the Miami Open


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First on Stadium Saturday at the Miami Open, Stanislas Wawrinka takes on Horacio Zeballos. The world number three holds a 2-0 record against Zeballos who had his best results at this event last year as a lucky loser. After Roger Federer pulled out due to illness, he shocked both Juan Martin Del Potro and Fernando Verdasco to advance to the round of 16 before being stopped by David Goffin. Consequently, with the Argentinian fans behind him and fond memories, Zeballos could present a challenge for the men’s top seed.

Later on in the afternoon, Wawrinka’s compatriot Federer begins his quest for the coveted Indian Wells, Miami Open double trophy, something he has not accomplished in over a decade. The 35 year old, 18 time major champion faces American rising star, 19 year old Frances Tiafoe. This will be their first meeting. The dynamic should be interesting dynamic considering the venue and the disparity in their resume.

A few day matches on the men’s column which are must see include, Sam Querrey versus Tommy Robredo and John Isner versus wildcard
Thomaz Bellucci.

On the women’s side, after her narrow escape in three sets on Friday, needing a rain delay and saving a match point against Christina McHale, Spain’s Garbine Murguruza returns for her third round match against China’s Shuia Zhang. The two met for the first time in Doha this year in the round of 16 with Zhang pulling off the upset. Thus, Murguruza will hungry for payback.

Another compelling day session match is Agnieszka Radwanska versus Mirjana Lucic- Baroni. The Croatian stunned 2012 Miami Open Champion in the second round this year at the Australian Open on route to her semifinal berth for the first time at a major since Wimbledon 1999. So, revenge will be on the agenda for the Pole without question.

Second seed Karolina Pliskova and fifth seed Dominika Cibulkova also are back on court for their third round matches as well as 2015 French Open finalist Lucie Safarova.

The honor of closing out the night on the men’s side belongs to Juan Martin Del Potro as he tussles with Robin Haase. With a 2-0 record over the Dutch and with the South American crowd likely to be in full force, Del Potro will likely book a projected date with Federer for the third round.

For the ladies, Sorona Cirstea battles Caroline Wozniacki to end the evening. It will be a riveting contest considering their close head to head of 4-3 with the former world number one having the edge.

Click here for Saturday’s complete order of play.

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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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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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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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Nadal follows Federer in mass exodus of seeds out of Miami Open

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Nadal follows Federer in mass exodus of seeds out of Miami Open


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Miami, Ricky Dimon
Round two of the Miami Open was an unmitigated disaster for the tournament. It all started when Roger Federer withdrew on Friday due to illness, after which Juan Martin Del Potro lost to lucky loser Horacio Zeballos. It continued on Saturday, when Rafael Nadal and Stan Wawrinka were ousted–albeit in much different fashions.

On a searingly hot day in Miami, Nadal succumbed to the conditions and retired while trailing Damir Dzumhur 2-6, 6-4, 3-0. The fifth-ranked Spaniard rolled through the opening set but he clearly began to fade in the second.

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“Everything was fine until end of the first set,” Nadal explained. “I start to feel myself not very good. It[was] getting worse, worse, and worse, so finally in the second set I realize that I was not able to keep playing. I tried to resist, but I [got] a little bit scared to be too dizzy. So I [called] the doctor a couple of times, but I felt that I was not safe. I wanted to finish the match, but I seriously could not.”

He wasn’t the only one.

Sergiy Stakhovsky, Thomaz Bellucci, and Aljaz Bedene also retired. Sam Querrey might as well have done the same. Serving at 4-5 in the third set against Adrian Mannarino, Querrey completely shut down–perhaps both mentally and physically. The American received a warning, reportedly for not giving an effort, and then incurred a match-ending point penalty at 0-40.

John Isner looked like he might retire against fellow American Tim Smyczek in their first set, as the world No. 13 struggled with both the heat and a left-knee issue. But he was saved, albeit temporarily, by cloud coverage and the setting sun. Isner battled back to force a third set but ultimately went down 6-2, 2-6, 7-6(5). He double-faulted twice in the final-set tiebreaker, including down match point. Isner’s last four losses have all come in third-set ‘breakers.

In other action on the Grandstand, Andrey Kuznetsov upset an out-of-sorts Stan Wawrinka. The fourth-ranked Swiss served at just 54 percent, won only 65 percent of his first-serve points, and lost way more than half of his second-serve points (18 of 32).

“Today was very tough to play [in] this weather, with these conditions” Kuznetsov assured. “I think it actually helped me a little bit, because I saw that Stan was also struggling with moving.”

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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Nadal Headlines Day Session at the Miami Open on Saturday

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Nadal Headlines Day Session at the Miami Open on Saturday


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Rafael Nadal’s opening singles match at the Miami Open is scheduled for Saturday. Prior to meeting his second round opponent, Damir Dzumhur, the four time finalist sat down with the media to opine on a variety of topics including the state of his game in comparison to a year ago, the pluses and minuses of having one dominant player on tour in reference to Novak Djokovic and reaching soon the age of 30. Here is an excerpt of the what the world number five had to say.

Thus far, Nadal’s career has been one for the record books, including 67 titles, 14 major and an Olympic gold medal. Yet, the desire for to add to his tally is ever present ” I am happy doing what I am doing. I enjoy playing my sport. It’s about love for the game, about passion for what I am doing, and I am going to be here until I am unhappy doing what I am doing.”

Despite being denied Miami’s grand prize several times, Nadal enjoys coming back season after season to compete. “I played well in my career here, Four finals; another semifinals; some more quarterfinals. So a positive tournament for me. the atmosphere here is great. I enjoy being here. The fans here are amazing with me”.

Rumors abound that the tournament may change venue. It’s certainly preoccupying to the Spaniard” I think it’s obvious that Miami is an amazing city and is unbelievable for us to be here in Miami, to play here in Miami. . . for the Latin people, Spanish people, we feel close because very big community of Latinos here. So in my opinion, will be not good if the tournament moves from here. At the same time, it’s obvious that something needs to happen. . . all the tournaments are improving . . .making improvements on facilities and everything, and is true that this tournament didn’t make that happen for a while. . . [With] Indian Wells and Miami back-to-back, you see all the things that Indian Wells is improving day by day. Miami it’s obvious that probably for the situation it’s difficult to make something bigger because you are just almost in the middle of the city. So probably of the comparison is not helping this tournament. But still, an amazing event. For sure I love being here. I love this tournament. I would like to keep watching this tournament here.”

With regards to his uncle and coach Toni expressing his concerns that tennis “will become a game of speed and power and not so much skill and tactics”. Nadal cited “the sport in general needs to improve in all aspects, and it’s obvious that the players today are taller than before. The racquet hits the ball harder than four years before. [At] the same time, it is true that nothing changed in our sport in terms of rules. So for the moment, it is obvious that the tennis has had tremendous successful for I think a long time now. The sport is healthy, but at the same time we need to move to predict the future. I’m not talking for my generation, but for the next generation. People, in my opinion, like the drama, the rallies. I don’t remember amazing matches that were only one serve and one shot. The matches that the people remember most, are slow matches with unbelievable points, and the applause of the people or the emotions of the people are not only with one serve and one shot. People get emotional when the points are intense, long. If every time we make that happen less often, it’s obvious that our sport can be in trouble for the future”.

Djokovic has been gobbling every trophy in sight. Nadal was asked whether that’s healthy for the sport or are rivalries better:

“Unfortunately, it’s obvious that now it is better for Novak. I don’t know. Depend for who. I think the real thing is rivalries are good. In my opinion, it is not good if a different player wins a tournament every week. Because if there is 20 players winning tournaments different weeks, the people arrive to the tournament and nobody knows who are the favorites to win. It’s difficult because people need to support one player. So you need the stars. To create the stars you need players who have been there for a long time and players competing for the most important events very often. At the same time, it’s good to have combination of styles; it’s good to have different players who fight for the important things, and one or another can win. So I think happened the last 10, 12 years, and now for last year and a half, two years one is dominating maybe too much. But he deserves.”

Nadal feels much more positive about his form on court n 2016 as opposed to last year where his belief was lacking “The difference is I’m enjoying on court. I’m not feeling that nerves on court. I’m not feeling that strange feeling that I never felt. I am enjoying on the practices, I am enjoying on the tennis court. I feel with the right energy. I can lose, I can win, but I am happy on court. That’s the most important thing.”

In order to get a shot at hoisting his maiden Miami Open trophy, Nadal may need to go through Stan Wawrinka in the quarterfinals and Andy Murray in the semifinals.

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Nadal Axes Almagro at the Miami Open, Murray Also Moves on

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Nadal Axes Almagro at the Miami Open, Murray Also Moves on


IMG_3458_NadalThe twelfth contest between fellow Spaniards Rafael Nadal and Nicolas Almagro went the way many of the others have gone. Nadal posted a 6-4, 6-2 victory to advance to the third round at the Miami Open.

Almagro came in with a ray of hope after banking his maiden victory over the world number 3 last year in Barcelona. Today was the competitors’ third meeting on hardcourt and Almagro’s triumph materialized on clay a surface he excels at. Moreover, the latter’s 2014 season was marred by a foot injury requiring surgery. Almagro began 2015 on the right foot with a successful South American swing which culminated with a semifinal appearance in Buenos Aires.

Nadal hasn’t been sizzling on any surface of late. His 46th clay court prize in Buenos Aires a few weeks ago was his first since the 2014 French Open. The world number three’s best on hardcourt in 2015 has been quarterfinals at Indian Wells and Australian Open. Consequently, Almagro came in with a ray of hope.

With a flubbed forehand volley by Almagro, Nadal converted on break point in the initial set for 2-1. The 14 time major winner stared down three break points on his serve before securing the set.

In the second set, Almagro dumped a forehand into the net on double break point to place his opponent in the lead at 2-1. Shortly thereafter, Nadal bolstered his edge with a love hold. Later on, with a forehand winner, Nadal cushioned his position with an additional break for 4-1. At that stage, it was clear that Almagro would have to wait another day for the hope of a second victory over his compatriot.

In analyzing his performance, Nadal believes “I played a solid match. . .I had to put the balls in and play with no mistakes today with very tough conditions. . .my forehand worked well. . .I’m happy, Almagro was not an easy opponent for the first round”.

Nadal was disappointed with some aspects of his game with his loss at Indian Wells. Today, he was determined to “play with no mistakes on the important points. . .last week, I had a lot of opportunities in the quarterfinals. . . I didn’t have a lot of mistakes, he played well. But I lost the opportunities to convert. It’s important to change the dynamic of these things quick. Doing it in this match is important for me”

Commenting on the deluge which followed a few minutes after he was done, “sure important to finish the match before the storm arrived. . .But that can happen here in Miami. It’s nothing new”.

Four times the groomsman, never the groom, the Miami Open has been less kind to Nadal than Indian Wells, he possesses three of those trophies “it is true that Indian Wells has been a tournament that has worked better historically for my game. . .the bounces are higher. . .I like playing in [Miami]. . .some days can be very humid and hard for the body. But in general, they are the conditions I like to play tennis. . .Sea level, hot, no problem, I like to play tennis”.

With the weather delay, Nadal’s third round counterpart has yet to be established. It will be either countryman Fernando Verdasco against whom he has 13-1 mark or 23 year old Australian James Duckworth ranked 97th in a first meeting

Earlier in the day, two time Miami Open champion Andy Murray disposed of Donald Young in two sets 6-4, 6-2. Murray improves his record against the American to 5-1. After surrendering the opening set in a tiebreaker, world number eight, Stanislas Wawrinka knocked out Carlos Berlocq.

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