(March 24, 2019) It was a split decision in results for defending Miami Open champions on Sunday. Sloane Stephens, the fourth seed could do nothing against German Tatjana Maria 6-3, 6-2.
The unseeded German, who lives within the Miami metropolitan area was ecstatic after the victory.
“I could not be happier right now,” she said in her on-court interview. “I think I played at home, because I live here. It was helping me a lot.”
2018 Men’s champion John Isner reached the four round beating Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain 7-5, 7-6 (6).
The American, seeded seventh will play Britain’s Kyle Edmund next. The 19th seeded Edmund beat 12th seed Milos Raonic 6-4, 6-4.
No. 1 Novak Djokovic is on the hunt for seventh Miami Open title. The Serb was visibly frustrated when he lost a lead in the second set but won the match over Federico Delbonis 7-5, 4-6, 6-1 in the third round.
“To be honest, I lost my focus,” said Djokovic. “I should have done better I think mentally than I have done end of first set and also end of second set. I managed to really play well last couple games of first set, go up a break, put myself in front, then I played a couple of really bad service games. Credit to Federico, he stepped in. He was the one controlling the pace. I backed up. I didn’t have that much depth and power in my shots, and he used it.
“He stepped in, didn’t have anything to lose. I think first two, three games of the third set were crucial, really fighting, trying to be present, regain the positioning on the court more than anything.
“I think last four games have been terrific, so I ended up in a positive way.”
Djokovic will play for a place in the quarterfinals against Roberto Bautista Agut. He talked about what he has to do to beat him:
“I think I’m hitting the ball well. I just need a little bit more consistency I think to hold that level of play throughout the entire match. I think that’s what it’s going to take to win against Bautista. He is one of those players that make you work very hard for every single point. He doesn’t make mistakes. Just runs around the court.
“He’s very, very consistent and very solid. He improved his backhand, he improved his serve, and his forehand was always very, very solid and powerful.
“He won against me in Doha this year. I was a set and a break up. I remember that match. He managed to turn the match around. I’ll definitely do my homework and hopefully get the win in that match.”
Three-time champion Venus Williams is into the round of 16 with a 6-3, 6-1 win over No. 14 Daria Kasatkina 6-3, 6-1. The 38-year-old veteran, who is usually very serious on court, broke out with a smile when Katsakina hit a “tweener” shot.
“I never smile on the court, and this week I’ve smiled a lot,” said the seven-time major champion. “There’s a lot to smile for. That’s all I can say.”
“I’m always at my best when I’m playing aggressive,” she said. “Just got to execute that today.”
Williams will play the no. 2 seed Simona Halep in the next round.
“She always plays flawless tennis against me, so I have to be ready for that,” said Williams. “Every match is a different match, opportunity to play better and to learn. I know each point will be an opportunity for me to play better and learn. That’s how I look at it.
“I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
Halep had to comeback against Polona Hercog 5-7, 7-6 (1), 6-2.
“I was running like crazy for three hours,” said Halep. “If I keep doing this, I think I have a chance to be back No. 1.”
“It was not easy at all, ” said the Romanian. “I think the level was very, very high. She played unbelievable. If she keeps playing like this, she can be top 20 easy.
“I think it was a great match for both of us. I’m really happy I could win it in the end. It was a lot of effort today.”
On facing Venus Williams, the 2018 French Open winner said:
“Well, it’s always tough against Venus. I’m not going to say that it’s going to be easier because I won the last matches against her. It’s a big challenge for me, always I face Williams sisters.
“I will be motivated. I will be ready to play. Hopefully I will be 100% tomorrow. Why not, I will believe that I have the chance. Still I will stay focused.”
With the No. 1 player Naomi Osaka losing in the third round, Halep has a chance to get back to the top spot by reaching the final.
Nick Kyrgios played a wild match against Dusan Lajovic – underarm serves, no look rallies and getting into an argument with a fan. Despite the circus-like atmosphere, the Australian prevailed easily 6-3, 6-1.
“I don’t know what tomorrow is going to bring on the tennis court, but I’m going out there and having fun,” said Kyrgios.
The 27th seed will match up against Croatia’s Borna Coric, the 11the seed.
Borna Coric fought back to eliminate Jeremy Chardy, 6-7, 6-2, 6-3.
Eighteen year-old Félix Auger-Aliassime has reached his first fourth round at a Masters 100 event with a 7-6(5), 6-4 victory over Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz. The win puts the young Canadian qualifier into the Top 50 for the first time.
More to follow….