Aryna Sabalenka and Iga Swiatek lead the main draw at the Miami Open - UBITENNIS
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Aryna Sabalenka and Iga Swiatek lead the main draw at the Miami Open

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The WTA Tour moves from California to Florida for the Miami Open, the second stop of the Sunshine Double. The top seeds of the tournament at the Hard Rock Stadium are Aryna Sabalenka and Iga Swiatek.

 

Twenty-seven of the top 30 players feature in the main draw. 

Sabalenka could meet Irina Camelia Begu or US wildcard Hailey Baptiste in the second round. If she gets through to the third round, she could meet 25th seed Daria Kasatkina, who will face Aliaksandra Sasnovich in her first round. 

Sabalenka could face either last year’s Olympic gold medallist Belinda Bencic or last year’s Miami semifinalist Elina Svitolina. Bencic and Svitolina will meet Marta Kostyuk and Aranxta Rus in the first round respectively. 

Sabalenka has won 10 WTA singles titles, including four at WTA 1000 level, but she is looking to reach her first final since she won the WTA 1000 Madrid title last May. 

The bottom section of the first quarter features two former world number 1 players Karolina Pliskova and Simona Halep and last year’s US Open champion Emma Raducanu.

Halep could face Raducanu in the third round. The Romanian player is in good form and reached the semifinals at Indian Wells last week. 

Pliskova, who reached the final in Miami in 2019, is the favourite against either Camila Giorgi or Ajla Tomljanovic. 

Sabalenka could be on a collision course for a quarter final against Halep. 

Number 3 seed Annett Kontaveit leads the second quarter of the draw. The Estonian player has won five titles in Cluj Napoca, Moscow, Ostrava, Cleveland, St. Petersburg and has a record of 43-8 last August. She will take on either Ann Li or Mayar Sherif. 

Kontaveit could face a tough match against this year’s Australian Open quarter finalist Alizé Cornet. 

Kontaveit is projected to face Ons Jabeur for the third time this season in a potential semifinal. They are 3-3 in their six head-to-head matches. 

The winner of a possible match between last year’s US Open semifinalist Leylah Fernandez and Angelique Kerber awaits Sabalenka. Fernandez beat Kerber at the US Open last year. 

Naomi Osaka will play against Astra Sharma in the opening round. The winner of this match will face Kerber in the second round. 

Fernandez will face against the winner of the all-Czech match between Karolina Muchova and Tereza Martincova in the second round. 

This year’s Australian Open finalist Danielle Collins could meet Ons Jabeur in the Round of 16 in the bottom half of this quarter. Collins will open her campaign against either Caroline Garcia or Anna Bondar. 

Jabeur could take this year’s Australian Open quarter finalist Kaia Kanepi in the third round.                           

Last year’s Indian Wells champion Paula Badosa is on a collision course for a quarter final match against Maria Sakkari. It would be a re-match of their last week’s Indian Wells semifinal last Friday. 

Badosa starts her Miami Open campaign against either Laura Siegemund o a qualifier before a possible clash against Marketa Vondrousova. The winner of this match could face Victoria Azarenka in the Round of 16. Azarenka will have to beat either Elise Mertens or Jasmine Paolini. 

Azarenka has won the Miami Open title three times in 2009, 2011 and 2016 and is the most recent player to score the Sunshine Double in Indian Wells and Miami in 2016. 

Sakkari will face the winner of the first round match between Beatriz Haddad Maia and Nuria Parrizas Diaz. The Greek player is projected to face Madison Keys in the third round, but the US player will have to beat Sofia Kenin first in the second round. 

Sakkari in on a collision course for a possible Indian Wells quarter final clash against Elena Rybakina, who will have to come through a tough section match that features Jessica Pegula and Sloane Stephens. 

Garbine Muguruza will open her campaign against a qualifier before a potential second round match against Petra Kvitova in the third round. 

Kvitova has not lost to Muguruza since their first round match in 2015. 

Muguruza could face a Round of 16 match against 2018 Miami Open finalist Jelena Ostapenko, who will open her campaign against either Shelby Rogers or Amanda Anisimova. Rogers beat Ostapenko in Indian Wells last week. 

Iga Swiatek has won her past 11 matches by winning the first two WTA 1000 titles of the season in Indian Wells and Miami. 

Swiatek will play against either Viktorjia Golubic or a qualifier in the second round and could meet local favourite Coco Gauff in the Round of 16. 

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Injured Bianca Andreescu retires From Semi-Final match In Hua Hin

The Canadian was looking to book a spot in her first WTA final of the year but was forced to retire after injuring her right shoulder.

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BIANCA ANDREESCU OF CANADA - PHOTO: ALBERTO NEVADO / MMO

Lesia Tsurenko booked her spot in the final of the Thailand Open in Hua Hin after Bianca Andreescu was forced to retire whilst down 7-6, 4-0.

 

The first set was extremely tight with the first four games being breaks of serve. Andreescu got the crucial break to lead 5-3 and served for the first set but the Ukrainian fought back to level the set at 5-5. Then Tsurenko was the one to break serve but she was able to close out the first set.

After the opener, the semi-final clash went completely one-sided with Tsurenko taking over by winning four games off the trot before Andreescu decided to call it quits. The Canadian had a medical timeout during a second set changeover.

Tsurenko gave full credit to her opponent and despite the retirement says it was a very difficult match.

“Bianca is such an amazing player she said. She is capable of hitting all kinds of shots and gave so much trouble today”. She said.

Tsurenko is looking to win her fifth WTA title and will be playing in her first final since 2019 in Hua Hin. She faces the China’s Lin Zhu who earlier in the day beat the number seven seed Xinyu Wang 6-2, 6-4, in one hour and 38 minutes to book her spot in the final.

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The US team secure their spot in the Davis Cup Group Stage with a 4-0 win over Uzbekistan

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Rajeev Ram and Austin Krajicek beat Uzbekistan’s Sayniar Fayziev and Sergey Fomin 6-2 6-4 after just 52 minutes in the doubles match of the best-of five qualifier to secure the US team a spot in the 2023 Davis Cup Group Stage. 

 

Ram and Krajicek broke twice in the third and seventh games to win the first set 6-2. The US team earned an immediate break in the first game and held their service games to win the second set 6-4. Ram praised the Uzbek team after the match. 

“Rankings-wise the Uzbek opponents are the underdogs. They are not the favourites in this match, but even in the singles they tried their best and they really fought until the end and that’s a pretty good quality to have. It helps you win matches you are not supposed to win”, said Ram. 

Denis Kudla beat Amir Milushev 6-4 6-4 to complete the 4-0 sweep.

The US team did not drop a set in four matches this weekend. 

The previous day Davis Cup rookie Mackenzie McDonald secured the first point for the US team with a 6-4 6-1 win over Fomin before Australian Open semifinalist Tommy Paul came back from 0-4 down in the second set to beat Khumoyun Sultanov 6-1 7-6 (8-6).

“I was excited to see Raj and Austin play today.They have practiced well all week. They had five great days of preparation and as anticipated they came out really sharp and got the early break in the first set. After that it was like two freight trains, there was no stopping them”, said US team captain David Nainkin.

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Cameron Norrie draws Great Britain level to 1-1 against Colombia

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Colombia and Great Britain have drawn level to 1-1 after the first two singles matches on the opening day of the Davis Cup Qualifier at altitude on clay in Bogotà. 

 

Colombia’s Nicholas Mejia clinched the first top 100 win of his career with a 6-2 2-6 6-4 victory against Daniel Evans after 2 hours and 31 minutes. 

Mejia fended off three break points in the first game of the third set. The 22-year-old Colombian player was not able to convert on two break points as Evans held serve in a marathon game to level to 4-4. 

Mejia sealed the win over Evans with his third break in the final game thanks to a backhand passing shot.

“The key to victory ? The attitude, the dedication, not getting nervous more than necessary. I have also learned a lot from previous defeats. I wanted to go out and win. I was not going to give them anything. I am very happy for the point that I was able to give to Colombia. There is a long way to go to think about victory”, said Mejia in the post-match interview. 

Cameron Norrie overcame Nicolas Barrientos 6-2 7-5 in the second singles rubber to level the tie at 1-1. 

Norrie earned an early break at the start of the first set. The British player closed out the first set 6-2 with a double break in the seventh game. 

Norrie started the second set with an immediate break in the first game. Barrientos broke straight back with his first break of the match in the second game to draw level to 1-1. The Colombian player earned five break points on return at 1-2, but Norrie held serve at deuce in a hard-fought fourth game. 

Barrientos earned another break point at 2-3, but Norrie saved it to hold serve. Norrie earned the crucial break in the 11th game to close out the second set 7-5 after a missed volley from Barrientos. 

“Especially given that we are the away team, they have got a huge advantage with us coming here on clay, at altitude, with the fans out there. That’s why we love it and that’s why we are out here playing. I really enjoyed the match today and I can improve on a lot of things going into tomorrow. I was able to put enough balls in the court to get over the line”, said Norrie. 

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