Big names fall in early rounds of women’s Miami Open
Most of the big names started the Miami Open last week and while most of the top male players successfully navigated the early rounds there were lots of big name casualties in the women’s draw.
With the likes of Eugenie Bouchard, Maria Sharapova and Lucie Safarova already eliminated, reigning champion Serena Williams is an even clearer favourite. Keep reading for our preview of all this week’s tennis action.
Miami Open – Ladies
There were some high profile casualties in the early rounds of the Miami Open with number two seed Maria Sharapova the biggest name to make an early exit.
Sharapova was beaten by the number 97 ranked wildcard Daria Gavrilova, a player who had never previously beaten anyone in the world’s top 35.
The five-time finalist was downcast after her unexpected defeat, saying:
“Of course it’s a bit of a surprise – it’s the first round. I’m expected to win. But that’s why we play the matches – you still have to go out and win it, no matter if you’re the favourite. Today I didn’t.”
Sharapova wasn’t the only seed to fall in the early days of the tournament. Jelena Jankovic reached the final in Indian Wells last week and looked to be in good form but she fell at the first hurdle.
10th seed Lucie Safarova lost in straight sets to Johanna Larsson while rising stars Zarina Diyas and Caroline Garcia went out to CiCi Bellis and Kurumi Nara respectively. Fifth seed Eugenie Bouchard lost in round three to the German player Tatjana Maria, currently outside the world’s top 100.
Sharapova’s exit has opened up the bottom half of the draw and Caroline Wozniacki and Agnieska Radwanska look best placed to take advantage. Serena Williams remains the player to beat in the top half of the draw and the world number one hasn’t lost at Crandon Park since her 6-4 6-4 defeat to Caroline Wozniacki in 2012.
Williams’ main rival on the way to the final could well be the Indian Wells champion Simona Halep who showed plenty of resilience to come through an opening encounter with Nicole Vaidisova in three sets.
Miami Open – Men
With all of the world’s top players in action in Miami – Roger Federer excepted – we expect there to be a familiar look to the latter stages of this year’s Miami Open.
Novak Djokovic was in superb form in Indian Wells and looks to be head and shoulders above his rivals at this moment in time. The Serb has won 18 of his last 19 matches at Crandon Park since 2011 although the defending champion was taken to three sets by Martin Klizan in his first match.
Federer’s absence means that Andy Murray is the third seed in Miami and this means that the earliest he could face Djokovic is in the final. The Scot is a two-time Miami champion (in 2009 and 2012) and looks to be in the more straightforward side of the draw considering the highest ranked player in the bottom half is eighth seed Tomas Berdych.
Murray beat Donald Young in his opening match, although conditions didn’t help his cause. “It was extremely hard,” Murray told Sky Sports.
“It was ridiculously windy, the ball was swirling around all over the place and changing direction during your serve so that makes it tough on your ball toss.
It was very tricky and I just tried to play how I normally do in the wind – to use some variety and make it tricky for him and it worked.”
With the likes of Milos Raonic and Kei Nishikori in the opposite half of the draw and number two seed Rafael Nadal surprisingly beaten by Fernando Verdasco in round three we fancy Murray to progress to the latter stages.