Miami Open Daily Preview: Friday’s Rain Creates an Overflowing Schedule on Saturday - UBITENNIS
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Miami Open Daily Preview: Friday’s Rain Creates an Overflowing Schedule on Saturday

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Victoria Azarenka on Thursday night in Miami (twitter.com/wta)

Friday was nearly a complete rainout in Miami, meaning nearly player remaining in the singles draws will play on Saturday.

In total, Saturday’s schedule has 48 matches across nine courts.  Many of the matches rescheduled from Friday were already previewed here, including Naomi Osaka vs. Elina Svitolina and Iga Swiatek vs. Camila Giorgi.  So today’s preview will focus on newly-scheduled matches for Saturday, which will feature second round ATP singles action, and third round WTA singles action.

Those matches include top-seeded Carlos Alcaraz and second-seeded Aryna Sabalenka.  Plus, two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka faces recent Australian Open runner-up Qinwen Zheng, and Sascha Zverev takes on Felix Auger-Aliassime.

Each day, this preview will analyze the two most intriguing matchups, while highlighting other notable matches on the schedule.  Saturday’s play gets underway at 11:00am local time.


Qinwen Zheng (7) vs. Victoria Azarenka (27) – Third on Court 7

Qinwen’s potential has long been evident, but it was still surprising to watch her advance to the Australian Open final this past January at the young age of 21.  She has understandably struggled a bit since that life-changing fortnight, with a record of just 3-3.  In the opening round, Zheng defeated Katerina Siniakova, who retired early in the third set.

On the same day, Azarenka survived a near three-hour, grueling contest against American Peyton Steans, coming back from a break down in the third to prevail 6-4.  That marked the 41st main draw win in Miami for the three-time champion of this event, and improved Vika’s 2024 record to 11-5.

Their only prior meeting occurred last year in Adelaide, where Azarenka won 6-2, 7-5.  While Qinwen is a much-improved player over a year later, I still favor Vika at this tournament, where she has enjoyed so much prior success.  And as per Tennis Abstract, Zheng has lost her last three matches against top 30 opposition.


Sascha Zverev (4) vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime – Fifth on Grandstand Court

Zverev was the runner-up at this tournament back in 2018, but has now lost in the second round during three of his last four appearances.  He is 14-5 on the year, and recently returned to the top five.  Sascha will stand trial for allegations of domestic abuse in his home country of Germany later this spring.

Following a superb 2022 season, when he accumulated 60 match wins and achieved a career-high ranking of World No.6, Auger-Aliassime endured a tough 2023, filled with injuries and illness.  The Canadian was just 22-19 last year, and is just 8-7 in 2024, as he is still yet to rediscover his top form.  Felix was a semifinalist here in 2019, and defeated qualifier Adam Walton in straights on Thursday.

Zverev is 5-2 against Auger-Aliassime overall, and 3-1 on hard courts.  In their first meeting in nearly two years, Sascha is the clear favorite, considering their shared history as well as the recent play of each.


Other Notable Matches on Saturday:

Maria Sakkari (8) vs. Dayana Yastremska (28) – Sakkari comfortably ousted recent Austin champ Yue Yuan by a score of 6-2, 6-2 in the last round.  Yastremska reached her first Major semifinal two months ago in Melbourne, and eliminated Daria Saville after two tight sets on Thursday. 

Carlos Alcaraz (1) vs. Roberto Carballes Baena – Alcaraz is coming off his first title since Wimbledon last summer, and he won this title back in 2022.  Carballes Baena is a fellow Spaniard who as per Tennis Abstract is just 7-12 on hard courts at tour level since the beginning of last year.

Taylor Townsend (Q) vs. Elena Rybakina (4) – After missing Indian Wells due to illness, Rybakina came back from a set down to overcome Clara Tauson in her opening match.  Since the beginning of qualifying at Indian Wells, Townsend has now earned seven wins, including a dominant 6-2, 6-2 victory over Elise Mertens on Thursday. 

Anhelina Kalinina (32) vs. Aryna Sabalenka (2) – It is impressive that Sabalenka is playing at all this week, after the sudden death of her ex-boyfriend Kostantin Koltsov.  But it was even more impressive to see her win in straight sets on Friday against Paula Badosa.  Kalinina required over three hours to beat Caroline Wozniacki on Thursday.


Saturday’s full Order of Play is here.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas downs Sinner; now aims for Third Title in Monte Carlo

Stylish Greek completes comeback win and re-enters the top ten.

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After winning two in a row in 2021-2022, Stefanos Tsitsipas is now in reach of a third title at the prestigious Monte Carlo Rolex Masters, after beating World number two Jannik Sinner in three gruelling sets.

The 25-year-old had to battle hard and come from a break down in the third to win 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 and now plays Casper Ruud in tomorrow’s final. The Greek has had an indifferent start to the year with a 11-6 win-loss record, but today was his first top three victory since the 2022 Cincinatti Masters – where he beat Daniil Medvedev – and ensures a return back into the top ten of the men’s rankings.

Tsitsipas recognised how hard he had to fight and revealed after the match just how satisfied he was of his performance:

“It was tennis at its highest level that I have been able to play. Jannik was an extremely difficult opponent and it can be seen throughout the year so far. He has been very consistent and I could see that throughout today with his game. He is one of the toughest opponents I have faced so far and to find ways when there weren’t that many, I am proud of that. He gave me a very difficult game and the way I overcame it is true excellence.”

Sinner double faulted at 30-40 to gift the break early with the score at one game all. From there, Tsistipas rallied with poise and confidence in a brilliant opening set lasting 44 minutes including a stunning backhand down-the-line winner to open the game when serving at 4-3. He took the first set 6-4 after a tiring 18-shot rally – where both players hit all angles of the court – before Sinner hit a forehand wide.

However, 22-year-old Sinner struck back immediately on his first breakpoint at the start of the second set when he won a close exchange at the net and then took a 3-0 lead.  He later survived a breakback point when 4-2 up and crucially held on for 5-2. He faced more pressure when serving for the set at 5-3 and was taken to deuce but levelled the match at one-set-all on his second set point to give the crowd exactly what they were asking f

Sinner was now in full flow hitting powerfully from the baseline and once again broke early at the start of the final set to take a 3-1 lead. But with the match now entering the third hour he began to tire physically and called for the trainer during the changeover with the score at 4-3.  When the match resumed, he lost the next three games and the Greek had completed a remarkable turnaround, handing his opponent just his second defeat of the season in two hours and forty minutes.

“It helps a lot knowing I have a win like this under my belt. Having a win like this and getting to the levels of tennis again brings a lot of satisfaction to me,” Tsitsipas said. “When there is a lot of work put in each day, these are the type of matches you are aiming for.”

Sinner’s only loss prior to today was against Carlos Alcaraz in Indian Wells semi-finals. He has been the stand out player this year after already winning titles in Rotterdam, the Miami Open, and his maiden Grand Slam in Australia. Despite having won 25 matches overall though, he now trails Tsitsipas 3-6 in their head-to-head rivalry.

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Casper Ruud Reveals Shock After Knocking Out Novak Djokovic In Monte-Carlo

Casper Ruud is into his second career Masters 1000 final after beating Novak Djokovic for the first time.

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Casper Ruud is into his second Masters 1000 final of his career after recording his best ever win by beating Novak Djokovic 6-4 1-6 6-4.

The Norwegian defeated the world number one for the first time in his career as he overcame a mini-comeback from Djokovic to seal his place in the Monte-Carlo final.

Having lost his five previous meetings to Djokovic, Ruud played some fearless tennis under pressure as the eighth seed broke to close out a career-best win.

Speaking after the win Ruud admitted he was in a state of shock and was pleased with the victory, “I am super happy,” Ruud told the ATP website.

“This is a day I will remember for a long time. Beating a World No. 1 is something I have never done and beating Novak is something I have never done. I am very, very happy. I am a little bit in a state of shock right now.”

After achieving the seemingly improbable, Ruud will now look to win his first ever ATP title that’s above a Masters 1000 event when he takes on Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Monte-Carlo final.

That’s a prospect Ruud is looking forward to as he prepares for one final challenge, “There is always one more match in tennis,” the Norwegian explained.

“Tomorrow is going to be a special day, playing a final here in Monte-Carlo. It is a great result but I have been chasing a big title for a few years now and tomorrow I will have another shot at it. I am going to give it my all. Stef is playing well. He is a great player on clay and on other surfaces as well, but I guess clay is maybe where he has had the most success and especially this tournament.

“So it is going to be another tough task, but I am up for it.”

The final will take place at 14:00 BST.

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Rafael Nadal Set For Opening Round Test Against Cobolli In Barcelona

Rafael Nadal will look to make his ATP tour return in Barcelona this week.

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Rafael Nadal is set for his return to tennis in Barcelona as he has been drawn against Flavio Cobolli in the opening round.

Nadal has been struggling with injury after being injured again in Brisbane this year.

The tournament in Brisbane was his first tournament back for a year as he suffered a hip injury at the Australian Open last year.

Now Nadal aims to return to competitive action in Barcelona as he has been drawn against Flavio Cobolli in the opening round.

Speaking earlier in the week Nadal was hopeful of a return to the tour in Barcelona, “Excited to be here for a few days before the start of the tournament,” Nadal told the ATP website.

“I’m here to see how it goes… can’t wait to try and play. I’ll let you know. Important to say that I don’t want to confirm I’ll be playing, but I hope so. We’ll see.”

Should Nadal play and win his opening round match then the Spaniard will play fourth seed Alex De Minaur in the second round.

The former world number one has won the title on 12 different occasions but hasn’t won the title since 2021.

Elsewhere in the draw defending champion Carlos Alcaraz will begin against Luca Van Assche or Zhizhen Zhang with the Spaniard projected to meet Borna Coric in the third round.

Alcaraz suffered an injury in Monte-Carlo and will be beginning his clay court campaign in Barcelona.

Also in action in Barcelona are Andrey Rublev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Casper Ruud.

Main draw action will begin on Monday.

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