September 2, 2015

Novak Djokovic Beats Andy Murray for Fifth Miami Title

 

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(April 5, 2015) Novak Djokovic won his fifth Miami Open title on Sunday to become the first player to complete an Indian Wells – Miami Open double three times. With Djokovic’s 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-0 victory over Andy Murray, he became the first player ever to win the Indian Wells – Miami double in back-to-back years.

“Well, it’s obviously nice and flattering to hear that I have achieved another record,” Djokovic. “Of course I do pay attention of that. Any kind of achievement that goes into history books I’m hugely proud of and I appreciate it very much, because I work hard for it and I do cherish it.

“Again, it’s not something that obviously takes away my discipline. It just allows me to motivate myself even more. Just going to try and keep the same routine and mindset so far which helped me to achieve all these results.”

World No. 1 Djokovic broke Murray five times in the over two-and-a-half hour match in which he won his 22nd Masters Series crown. It is the 27-year-old Serb’s fifth Miami tournament victory.

“It was just very tough, brutal conditions for both of us,” Djokovic said about the hot conditions on the court.

“First set was really up and down for both of us, and we tried to stay mentally tough, both of us, and kind of hang in there, battle, and wear down the other player physically.

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“There were lots of exchanges, a lot of long rallies. I was expecting that coming into the match, but one thing is to really expect and the other is to really experience it and really go through it on the court.

“So wasn’t easy, but as I said, it was the same for both players. I played a good tiebreak; managed to hang in there. Wasn’t really a great tennis display. A lot of unforced errors.

“But in these conditions you just want to try to stay with the other player and extend the punching exchange and try to wait for the opportunities. I did have some opportunities in the beginning of the second set where I maybe could have gotten the break and maybe win the match in straight sets, but he came back. He played better in the second.

“Then the third the beginning was, again, important part. First two games were pretty long. I managed to win those. After that, I felt like he was getting tired. That’s where the momentum was on my side.

“But generally it was just a physical battle between the two of us that play similar game. You know, we haven’t served that well, so we haven’t had that many free points, as a matter of fact. With first or second serve we needed to earn every single point, to work for it.

“That’s why this particular match was very tough.”

“I struggled physically,” Murray said. “I mean, yeah, I played very well for a couple of sets. Maybe I could have done a little bit better in the tiebreak in the first set.”

“I feel like when I play well against Novak the matches tend to be pretty physical, long, grueling matches. It’s tough, but, I mean, that’s what part of being a professional athlete is, is dealing with those different conditions and making those adjustments.”

Asked about what makes Djokovic difficult to play against Murray said: “He serves well, he runs well, he moves exceptionally well. Physically he’s in great shape; he hits the ball well off both sides.

“So, yeah, he does most things on the tennis court well. That’s why he’s the No. 1 player in the world just now.

“In terms of game‑wise, I feel like in a couple of the matches we played this year I feel like I’ve been able to hang with him, but just not quite for long enough unfortunately.

“Yeah, I need to try to work out why that is. Like I say, I can’t do loads more than what I’m doing to get myself in the best condition possible.”

For Djokovic, it’s his seventh straight win over the Brit, raising his overall head-to-head record to 18-8. Murray who will be getting married in Scotland on Saturday, will move up in the rankings on Monday to world No 3.

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Serena Williams Wins Eighth Miami Open Title

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(April 4, 2015) World No. 1 Serena Williams took home her eighth Miami Open trophy on Saturday defeating Carla Suarez Navarro 6-2, 6-0 in the final.

This was the American’s 66th career title victory, which leaves her one behind Billie Jean King on the All-Time list.

All-time WTA titles leader Martina Navratilova who won 167 singles crowns was in attendance to present the winner’s trophy to Williams who won her third Miami title in a row. Her career record in Miami is now 73-7.

Williams became only the fourth women to win the same title at least 8 times. Navratilova holds the record for the most number of titles at a single tournament – 12 in Chicago.

It’s also Williams’ second tournament title of the year, the first one coming at the Australian Open adding her 19th major title in January.

The final which lasted 55 minutes, saw Williams win the last ten straight games, losing only five points in the second set.

“When I play with Serena I know that she’s the best,” Suarez Navarro said. “She has the game to make me play bad.

“But, well, this time I believe in me, in how I’m playing the other match. I try. I try until the last point, but was tough and was difficult for me.”

“I just kind of went out there and was hitting,” Williams said. “I didn’t have a plan it hit to her backhand or forehand. That’s never really my plan. I just can’t do that. I get too worked up.

“I just got to play my game. I’m not the kind of player that’s like, Oh, her forehand is weak, so I’m going to hit 100% there. I can’t do that.”

Williams remains unbeaten on the year and has won 21 straight matches since her loss in the Round-Robin stage at the 2014 WTA Year End in Singapore.

Asked about possibility of winning a calendar Grand Slam, she said: “Obviously anyone that wins the Australian Open wants to win a Grand Slam.

“I’ve won the Australian Open six times and I have not done that yet. I’m not saying this is the year or not the year. Who knows?”

Williams had to withdraw from the semifinals of Indian Wells two weeks ago with a knee injury.

Although a dominant winner, Williams felt she could have played better during the tournament. “I had to improvise in some of my matches,” she said. “Quite frankly, I had to take some pace off today because I wasn’t serving the way I normally serve. I normally serve tons of aces really hard.

“This tournament I wasn’t serving my best. On the flip side, it’s good to know that I can win relying on my groundstrokes or relying on other shots. It’s not just one shot that makes me good. It’s an all‑court game.

“It’s comforting, but at the same time, I definitely want to get my serve going again. I just really haven’t had time to practice. I’ve just been dealing with injuries, and when I’m practicing I’m hitting groundstrokes and just not hitting enough serves.”

For Suarez Navarro, despite the poor performance in the final, it was a career week for the Spaniard who will be the third Spanish woman to break into the Top Ten for the first time next week.

 

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Djokovic and Murray to Meet in Miami Open Final

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic

(April 3, 2015)Sunday’s Miami Open men’s final will feature a battle between a pair who have won multiple times in Key Biscayne when No. 1 Novak Djokovic takes on Andy Murray.

Djokovic, who will be going for his fifth Miami crown, moved past hard-serving John Isner in Friday night’s semifinal 7-6(3), 6-2. Murray, who will be attempting to capture his third Miami Open title, defeated Tomas Berdych 6-4, 6-4.

Djokovic outserved Isner 10 aces to nine. Djokovic never faced a break point. After a very tight first set, Djokovic broke Isner’s serve twice in the second set. Isner lost 70 percent of his second-serve points.

“I didn’t quite have my legs underneath me like I did yesterday maybe for whatever reason,” Isner said. Conditions, it was a little bit more humid out there tonight. I didn’t have quite as much pop on the ball as maybe I had earlier in the tournament. I needed a lot of pop in order to make a match like that closer. I just didn’t quite have it tonight.”

 

“I created a lot of opportunities for myself in the first set, even though there was only one break point and it was actually a set point,” Djokovic said.

 

“I thought I made him work for his serves games a lot from the beginning. I thought that that has influenced a little bit his physicality. I think towards the end of the first and beginning of the second set he already felt a business exhausted, and I wanted to use the opportunity and the early break in the second to open the door for me.

 

“That’s when I felt like I could start swinging through, and played a great second set.”

 

Despite the loss, Isner had a good fortnight in Miami, beating three top 11 players in succession – Grigor Dimitrov, Milos Raonic and Kei Nishikori en route to the semifinals

 

“Novak is the best in the world,” Isner said. “He’s so good. It was a good two weeks for me. I’m playing better. I have to build on this, and I will.”

 

‘He’s No. 1 in the world for a reason. I had to play pretty close to my best to beat him, and I don’t think I did that tonight.”

 

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This will be the Scot’s 13th Masters Series final and fourth Miami final.

“I felt like I served well,” said Murray. “It was tricky from one end of the court. We’re basically serving right into the sun at that time of day, so I had to take a little bit off the serve. On the second serve it was very tough to see.

“But I thought when I was behind in games, like the last game, for example, I came up with some big serves and was able to dictate a lot of the rallies from the baseline as well. I was moving him around a lot. That was good.”

Murray’s win has evened up his record against the Czech 6-6.

“Andy changed the game plan a bit,” Berdych said. “He starts to play much more aggressive in those last two matches that he played to me. I think that he’s been doing that pretty well. I think that’s the only reason.

 

“So, you know, I’m just going to need some time to put myself ‑‑ prepare better for the next time I’m going to play him.

Now I know what to expect and just be more ready for it.”

 

“Well, I thought I obviously started both sets well,” Murray said of the early breaks in each set. “Yeah, that was really the difference, to be honest. We played some good points. I thought throughout the match I thought it was a pretty clean match.

Yeah, I felt like I just played a bit better than him. That was the difference.”

Murray on playing Djokovic in the final: Novak obviously started the year extremely well obviously winning Australia, and then also last week, too. He’s come through a couple of tough ones so far in this event.”

 

As for Djokovic on playing Murray: “The fact that I won I think last six, seven matches that we played against each other, especially the one just recently in Indian Wells, gives me confidence and maybe a slight mental advantage.

 

“But we’re talking about small margins. That’s always the case when we play against each other. Very few points, details can decide a winner. We have very similar games. We already played twice this year, and of course in a big match in Australian Open final which was very, very physical, very close.

 

“I expect a battle, long rallies, and I know what is expecting me on the court. I know his game pretty well, as well as he knows mine.”

Djokovic leads in head-to-head clashes with Murray 17-8

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Serena Williams, Djokovic, Suarez Navarro and Isner Advance in Miami

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(April 2, 2015) Serena Williams will attempt to win her eighth Miami Open title on Saturday. The 19-time major champion won a two-hour-and seven minute semifinal thriller on Thursday night over third seed Simona Halep 6-2, 4-6, 7-5. Williams will face 12th seed Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain the title.

“I made so many errors and I was like `Serena, just come to the net at this point, because that’s the only thing that was working for me,'” Williams said. “I’m just really happy to get through that. It was actually a really fun match and I was able to come out and play here tonight.”

“I just tried to make some shots and I tried to go for some big shots,” Williams continued. “I thought, I’m just going to go for winners. Even though I’m missing most of them, I’m still going to go for them.”

“I just made more errors than I did in my last match, which I thought was impossible. I’m just not at my best level right now and it’s a little frustrating.

“I’m not serving well. I am serving at 40%. Yeah, so it hasn’t been my best of times. But, yeah, so that’s just the only frustrating part.

“And I’m a perfectionist, so if I don’t get it right I just want to keep trying.”

 

Simona Halep

Simona Halep

Halep said: “I was close. I saw that I can win against her. I can play like until the end against her. I was a bit tired in the end, but it’s normal. I have so many matches played already.

“It’s okay. She was better than me. She is better than me because she’s No. 1 in the world and she’s Serena. I have just to take the positive things from this tournament, this match, and just go ahead.”

Williams’ victory means that her time atop the rankings has reached 116 weeks which surpasses Chris Evert’s 113-week run for third-longest in WTA history.

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Suarez Navarro advanced to the final after beating Andrea Petkovic 6-3, 6-3 in an earlier match. Her victory in the semifinal assured her of reaching the Top Ten for the first time in her career.

“I feel so happy,” said Suarez Navarro. “It’s so important for me. I was practicing and I was working during all this year with my team to a moment like this.”

Williams is 4-0 against the Spaniard. “Playing Carla,” said Williams, “I think it’ll be good for me. She’s playing a little bit like Simona, so I will be ready for that. Have to be ready. If I want to win, I have to step it up a notch”

Williams is 4-0 all-time against Suarez Navarro, who’s assured of reaching the Top 10 in the world rankings win or lose.

Williams’ countryman, No. 22 seed John Isner became the first U.S. man to reach the semifinals in Miami since Mardy Fish in 2011, upsetting fourth-seeded Kei Nishikori of Japan 6-4, 6-3.

Isner interviewed

“I played extremely well today,” Isner said.”I needed to play well in order to beat a player like Kei and that’s what I did. From start to finish, I felt like I was aggressive. I was playing all the right shots and things just went my way.”

“I can’t ask for better conditions out there,” Isner continued. “I absolutely just can’t.

“You know, with the balls, the court, the balls bouncing high, it’s hot, it’s not that humid so it’s not taking a lot out of me. It’s perfect conditions ore me.

“I just played well. I mean, I’ve been serving well really for a while now, and I did that again today.

“So I was taking care of my serve. I was taking my chances on his serve, and the ball was finding the right spots for me.”

“Serve, I didn’t have any chance,” said Nishikori.

“Also, his forehand, also backhand, he hit some winners from back of the baseline. I think he close his eyes and hitting so many winners. Couldn’t really stop him today.

“So I don’t think I really play bad. Maybe I could do little better everything, but I think he played well today.”

 

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic

Next for Isner will be No. 1 Novak Djokovic who defeated David Ferrer 7-5, 7-5 on the Spaniard’s 33rd birthday.

“I expected it to be a very physical match as it always is with David,” Djokovic said. “He’s one of the greatest competitors out there.”

“Every game is different, and I think tonight, my tactic, it was good,” Ferrer said. “My performance was good, playing aggressive with my forehand. But I think it’s difficult beat Nole when I am playing with him in the night because the ball is bigger when we are ending the set. And he has more power than me.

“Anyway, for beat Nole, I know I have to play perfect in important moments, play aggressive. And maybe tonight, the first set in important moments I didn’t play aggressive, no, with my forehand.”

Djokovic commented on playing Isner next:

“It’s going to be quite different match from tonight’s match. John is probably the best server we have in the game currently. At 6’10” he can hit any angle he wants with that serve.

“He won against Dimitrov, Raonic, and Nishikori in the last three matches, and that deserves a lot of respect. He obviously feels very confident playing here. He played great against Nishikori today.

“I think he improved his baseline game. Most of the players, when the play him, obviously he highly relies on his serve, but yet again, he does put a lot of balls back in play in his return games. He likes to run around his backhand and hit the forehand inside out. That’s his favorite shot.

“So I kind of know what to expect. He has his own patterns, as everybody else. I’m going to try to analyze his game, remember what I’ve done right in Indian Wells couple weeks ago, and try to obviously win.

“Hopefully we play during the night so the conditions will be a bit slower, which is going to maybe help me to get few more serves back in play, even though I know it’s going to be very close match.”

 

I’ll have nothing to lose,” Isner said. “I run into him a lot in Masters events, especially in the U.S. I think this would be our fourth encounter or something like that, playing at a Masters event in the States. Maybe fifth. I don’t know.

“But playing him, it’s always a challenge. He’s the greatest player in the world right now hands down. I played well against him last week in Indian Wells and he beat me in a tight two‑set match.

“I’m going to have to bring that level and some if I do play against him. I believe I can do that. Think I exhibited that today. He’s got a tough match against one of the best competitors or sport has.”

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Serena Williams Wins 700th Match; Will Face Simona Halep in Miami Open Semis

(April 1, 2015) Serena Williams overcame some inconsistent play to earn her 700th career win in defeating Sabine Lisicki 7-6 (4), 1-6, 6-3 to earn a spot the semifinals of the Miami Open on Wednesday.

Her 700th win puts the American in a very select club which has only eight members.

“I didn’t know I had 700 wins,” noted the 19-time major champion.

“So now I’m like I just want to keep going, doing the best that I can. Just staying positive and winning as much as I can.”

“I grew up playing tennis. I think my destiny was to play tennis,” Williams said. “I saw a picture where I was in a stroller on the tennis court.”

The seven-time Miami Open champion has now won 16 straight matches in Key Biscayne.

Williams made 51 unforced errors on the day, had some problems with the sun and served well below her usual efforts.

“I know today wasn’t my best day,” Williams said. “I just told myself, I’m not serving the way I normally serve and hitting the way I normally would hit, so at this point all I can do is just fight and try to give 200% instead of 100%.

“At the start of the third set it was definitely a little bit of a natural reaction. Obviously I don’t want to lose, or at least I want to try to do the best I can. She had a lot of momentum going into the third set after winning the second set, so I just wanted to stay strong, and basically hold my serve.”

 

Williams will battle No. 3 Simona Halep for a place in the final. The Romanian defeated American Sloane Stephens 6-1, 7-5.

“I look forward to it because I didn’t get to play her last time,” said Williams. “I was really disappointed to not be able to play and just not even be close to 100%.

“So, you know, I look forward to it this time. I’m just happy to be in the semis and still be alive somehow.”

Simona Halep

Simona Halep

“It will be a very nice match,” Halep said after he win. “I have to try everything. She is No. 1 in the world. She’s the best player. I have nothing to lose.”

“I have just to play aggressive like I did today at the beginning the match. I think this is the most important thing to have to the chance against Serena.

“So I just want recover my body until tomorrow and to be ready it hit the balls.”

No. 9 Andrea Petkovic will face No. 12 Carla Suarez Navarro in the other semifinal on Thursday.

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In men’s action, two-time Miami champion world No. 4 Andy Murray advanced to the men’s semifinals by rallying past unseeded youngster Dominic Thiem 3-6, 6-4, 6-1. Murray will play No. 8 Tomas Berdych next.

“At the beginning of the match I didn’t return well, especially returning his first serve,” said the Scot. That put me in sort of a defensive position a lot when he was serving. I ended up doing quite a lot of running there.

“Returned the second serve well, but everything he made a first serve I was returning short and he was dictating all of the points.

“I thought on my own serve was doing fine. I just played one bad game, and my return game let me down a bit in the first set.

“Then, again, the second set I went up and I was creating quite a lot of opportunities, which was good, but just not quite finding the right shot.

“I think in the third set the difference was really my returning. Returned his first serve extremely well. I put him on the back foot. When I was returning the first serve well I was able to dictate points when he was hitting his first serve, and on his second, and then on my first serve as well.

“So when you’re sort of able to control 75% of the points, makes a huge, huge difference. That’s the most pleasing part for me.”

It was a career week for the 21-year-old Thiem who reached his first Masters 1000 quarterfinal.

“Before this week I would have given a lot for the quarterfinals, but now of course in the first moment I’m a little bit disappointed, especially I won the first set,” said the Austrian. “I played a good match.

“But, yeah, I will leave Miami positive for sure and with a good feeling for the clay court season.”

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Venus Williams Loses to Carla Suarez Navarro in Miami Open Quarterfinal

Carla Suarez Navarro

Carla Suarez Navarro

(March 31, 2015) In a very topsy-turvy match, Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro recovered from losing the first set 6-0 to recover to defeat three-time champion Venus Williams at the Miami Open on Tuesday 0-6, 6-1, 7-5 to reach the semifinals.

Williams needed just 27 minutes to blow out Suarez Navarro in the first set, nailing 14 winners.

The second set saw a reversal of fortune for the Spaniard, as she moved 16th seeded Williams from corner to corner, dominating with her forehand.

Both women broke each other’s serve, the 12th seed Suarez Navarro coming back from twice from being a break down.

Williams made 41 unforced errors.

The victory for the Spaniard moves her into the most important semifinal of her career- a Premier Mandatory. A win in the semifinal will move her into the top ten for the first time.

“It was a crazy match, crazy first two sets,” said the winner. “Venus was unbelievable at the beginning.

“I start a little bit nervous, but, you know, in tennis, even if you lost the first set, you’re still in competition. I’m happy with the way I come back after the first set.”

“Just a little too many errors and I was going for it the whole match,” Williams said. “Towards the end just never found the happy medium between being aggressive and putting the ball in the court.”

“Of course I want to play well every match as much as I can,” the seven-time major champion said, “I feel like I have the ability to win this match.

“Unfortunately it was a loss, but I learned a lot from them, and they always make me better. “

The Spaniard will play No. 9 seed Andrea Petkovic for a place in the final. The German ousted No. 14 Karolina Pliskova 6-4, 6-2, earlier in the day.

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Andy Murray Reaches 500th Win Mark with Victory Over Kevin Anderson at Miami Open

(March 31, 2015) Andy Murray became the ninth player on the ATP World Tour to win 500 career matches with his victory over Kevin Anderson 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 to reach the Miami Open quarterfinals.

The Scot is the 46th player in the Open era with 500 or more wins and the first British player to accomplish this feat.

“It’s nice I think obviously for me the fact that it happened here,” said the two-time Miami Open champion. “It’s just fitting just because I have spent so much time training here and working to get better and to improve. That was nice.

“Yeah, I hope I’ve still got a lot more wins in me. To get to 500 is good. It’s not an easy thing to do at my age. It’s nice. Hopefully I can keep going.”

“I hope for me this isn’t the end and I can keep trying to progress,” he added. With each win you get closer to going past a great player.

“You know, the people that are ahead of me have all done pretty amazing things in the sport, so that’s what’s nice about it. And, yeah, it gives me ‑‑ also feels like it gives me motivation, as well, for some reason.

“I don’t know why, but getting to 500, yeah, it gives me motivation to go on and try and win more. When you look at the list of players and the wins that certain guys have got, it gives you something to aim at, as well.”

No. 3 seed Murray will face off against 21-year-old Dominic Thiem, who reached his first Masters 1000 quarterfinal with a win over No. 28 Adrian Mannarino 7-6 (5), 4-6, 7-5.

“He had his best year on the tour last year,” Murray said. “He’s a very talented guy. He’s strong. I know him fairly well. I practice with him quite a bit. He’s very hard worker. Very good attitude. Very respectful guy. He’s got a very good career ahead of him.

“So I expect tomorrow will be a tough match. He struggled a little bit the beginning part of the year. He changed racquets. “You know, always takes a few months to get used to that. Obviously this week he’s played very well again.”

Also advancing to the quarterfinals were No. 1 Novak Djokovic, No. 4 Kei Nishikori, No. 6 David Ferrer, No. 8 Tomas Berdych, and Juan Monaco.

Djokovic survived a test from Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-7, 7-5, 6-0. Dolgopolov was a point a way from a 7-6, 4-0 lead. Berdych advanced when Gael Monfils retired from the match with a hip injury in the second set.

 

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Venus and Serena Williams Reach Miami Quarters

Serena Williams

Serena Williams

(March 30, 2015) Venus Williams kept her record perfect against No. 4 seed Caroline Wozniacki on Monday at the Miami Open defeating the Dane 6-3, 7-6(1).

Venus, a three-time Miami winner joined her sister seven-time winner Serena in the quarterfinals. Serena bested two-time major champ Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-2, 6-3.

Venus and Serena could meet in the final of the tournament.

Venus did not return to Indian Wells as her sister did two weeks ago but spoke about her sister’s return.

“It was wonderful to see,” Venus said. “I definitely watched every moment, and it was great to see her and my family there. Next year will be a big year for us being an Olympic year.

“I can’t exactly say what my schedule will be, but it was wonderful to see her reception.”

“I have heard so much about how much the tournament has just improved in general in terms of the fans and the players.

“So it will be something to see for me.”

“She’s playing really well,” Serena said of her sister’s play. “She’s playing really aggressive. I have always said what Venus has gone through has really motivated me.

“I think a lot of the things happened to help me become a better player in the past few years. You know, that’s another thing. I was really motivated by her and her spirit and her fight.

“I thought that I was doing really well, that I could ‑‑ I thought since she was doing really well, I could, as well.”

Another American reaching the quarterfinals is Sloane Stephens who stopped 18-year-old Belinda Bencic 6-4, 7-6 (5). Other women reaching the final eight include Carla Suarez-Navarro, Sabine Lisicki, Karolina Pliskova and Andrea Petkovic.

Four-time champion and No. 1 Novak Djokovic beat qualifier Steve Darcis 6-0, 7-5 to reach the final 16 where he will meet Alexandr Dolgopolov.

“I saw a couple of matches he played here, and he’s feeling good,” Djokovic said of his next opponent. He likes this surface. Generally likes a bit slower court with a higher bounce.

“Very quick dynamic motion on the serve and can serve very big for somebody of his height. And moves around very well around the court.

“So I know his game pretty well. I know what to expect. Hopefully I’ll be able to start as well as I did in the first two matches, but then end it in a bit different way. Keep the concentration going, you know, all the way through.”

Also advancing were No. 4 Kei Nishikori, No. 5 Milos Raonic while No. 9 Grigor Dimitrov fell to John Isner in straight sets.

More to follow.

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Rafael Nadal Upset by Fernando Verdasco in Miami

Fernando Verdasco

Fernando Verdasco

(March 29, 2015) Rafael Nadal’s quest for a first Miami Open title was stopped by countryman No. 24 Fernando Verdasco 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 in the third round on Sunday.

It’s Verdasco’s second straight win over the current world No. 3, with the last victory coming back in 2012 at the Madrid Masters. Verdasco lost to Nadal 13 straight times before that.

“Of course is a huge victory, and it’s always really nice to feel, you know, in a packed stadium or almost packed stadium in a very important tournament like this one and playing against one of the best players in history,” Verdasco said

“Today was a good day. I played good and I won… I’m very happy, and now I just need to try to rest and be ready for the next one.”

 

Rafael Nadal Miami

“I played some good games at the beginning, bad games at the end of the second set; some good games on the second; not bad at the beginning of the third,” Nadal said.

“But he played well the third, so he deserved to win more than me without any doubt tonight. Just congratulate him for the victory.”

“Today my game in general improved since a month and a half. But at the same time, still playing with too much nerves for a lot of moments, in important moments, still playing with a little bit of anxious on that moments.”

Verdasco had 29 winners breaking Nadal’s serve three times. Nadal was 3-12 on break points with 32 unforced errors with 18 winners.

“Obviously always beating a player like Rafa is the same like if you beat, I mean, (Andy) Murray or (Roger) Federer or these guys,” Verdasco said. Is one of the biggest victories that you can have in tennis.

“Of course is a huge victory, and it’s always really nice to feel, you know, in a packed stadium or almost packed stadium in a very important tournament like this one and playing against one of the best players in history.

“You know, at the end you just try to enjoy the moment also. Not even winning or losing. You always try to win, but enjoy the moment.”

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Serena Williams Sails Past Bellis at Miami Open; Murray Wins 499th Match

Serena Williams

Serena Williams

(March 29, 2015) Seven-time Miami Open winner Serena Williams moved into the round of 16 with a 6-1, 6-1 thrashing of 15-year-old countrywoman Cici Bellis in 41 minutes.

Bellis upset 2014 Australian Open finalist and the No. 12 player at the time Dominika Cibulkova in the first round of last year’s US Open.

“It wasn’t like, Oh, I’m so happy to win this match,” Williams said.

“Yeah, it was tough. I think, you know, she’s young and her being an American and her just doing so well, you want to see people like her do well. So when you’re up against them you have to kind of put that aside. Even though I’m always cheering for her. Otherwise I have to put it aside and play the match.”

“I was pretty nervous,” said Bellis. “I mean, she’s No. 1 in the world and like the best of all time for a reason.

“I think it was just a really good experience for me for the future and I’m glad I got to do it, but she’s a lot better than me for right now.”

Next up for Williams in will be 2006 Miami Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova who beat No. 13 Angelique Kerber 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.

Last weekend’s Indian Wells winner, No. 3 Simona Halep has reached the fourth round by besting No. 30 Camila Giorgi 6-4, 7-5.

“It’s first time when I’m in fourth round here in Miami,” Halep said. “I like to play here. You know, I come from Indian Wells where I won a title, and I have more confidence now to win matches.

“I’m just trying to keep my mind very focused and to recover my body every day and with good work, because I need it. I feel a little bit tired, but it’s normal. I have to accept this.

“I’m just looking forward to improve more in my shots, and I just want to hit the serve better and better day by day.

“I’m working, and, you know, I just want to go on court to fight for every chance.”

Mubadala World Tennis Championship

Andy Murray is a victory away from joining the 500-win club. The No. 3 seed at the Miami Open moved into the fourth round on Sunday defeating Santiago Giraldo 6-3, 6-4.

“It’s nice, because when you see, you know, the list of the players that have won that many matches, you know, there isn’t loads,” Murray said. “I think there is only 40 or so players that have done it.

“Hopefully I can win some more throughout my career. I mean, maybe it doesn’t happen in a couple of days; I hope it does. But if not, then, you know, I’m sure at some stage I will get there.

I obviously want to try and win more, and hopefully still have quite a few years ahead of me left to add to that number.

Yeah, it’s a lot of wins. It’s not easy these days to win that many matches, so that’s a good sign.”

Next Murray hopes to become the ninth active man to reach 500 wins when he takes on Kevin Anderson on Tuesday.

Murray said it will be a “tough match.”

“He’s a big server. He plays predominantly from the baseline. Yeah, when his game is on, he’s very tough guy to play against, because he can hold serve.

“He obviously is used to these conditions here. He lives 45 minutes away, so he obviously plays and practices in this weather a lot. I won’t have as much of an advantage against him as maybe some of the guys, because he’s used to the conditions here.

“So it will be a tough match.”

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