Miami Open Daily Preview: Naomi Osaka Plays Elina Svitolina in the Second Round - UBITENNIS
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Miami Open Daily Preview: Naomi Osaka Plays Elina Svitolina in the Second Round

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Naomi Osaka on Wednesday night in Miami (twitter.com/miamiopen)

Friday features second round action in both the men’s and women’s singles draws.

A pair of new mothers will face off on Friday, as four-time Major champion Naomi Osaka takes on 2018 WTA Finals champ Elina Svitolina.  Also, top-seeded Iga Swiatek plays her opening match against the always-dangerous Italian, Camila Giorgi.  Plus, Coco Gauff, Jannik Sinner, and Daniil Medvedev will also be in singles action.

And it will be an extremely challenging return to the court for Aryna Sabalenka, following the tragic death of her ex-boyfriend Konstantin Koltsov earlier this week.  She will face a good friend of hers, Paula Badosa, in what will surely be an emotional occasion for both.

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


Naomi Osaka vs. Elina Svitolina (15) – Fourth on Grandstand Court

Osaka is now 6-5 since returning to the sport this past January after giving child birth.  She defeated Elisabetta Cocciaretto in straight sets on Wednesday, and is vying to win multiple matches at her third consecutive event.  Naomi is 13-6 in Miami, and the last time she played here, in 2022, she made the final.

Svitolina is now 27-13 at tour level since returning to the sport nearly a year ago after giving child birth.  She is 10-4 in 2024, and her four losses have all come against in-form players (Swiatek, Gauff, Navarro, Noskova).  Elina is 13-8 at this tournament, and was a semifinalist here in 2021.

These players have split six previous meetings, all on hard courts.  However, it’s been over five years since they last played, and both players are in quite different places now.  Osaka is still very early in her comeback, while Svitolina has upped her aggression since returning to the sport.  But on the rather fast-playing hard courts in Miami, I give Naomi the slight edge to hit her way to victory, as her form has continually improved during her comeback.


Iga Swiatek (1) vs. Camila Giorgi – Not Before 7:00pm on Stadium Court

Swiatek is 20-2 on the season, after winning Indian Wells without dropping a set.  In what has become typical Iga fashion, she was completely dominant throughout the fortnight, losing just 21 games across 11 completed sets.  And the World No.1 is also on a six-match winning streak in Miami, as she won the title in 2022 and did not play in 2023.

The Miami Open has not been kind to Giorgi over the years, as she’s just 3-7 lifetime at this event.  And she’s just 3-5 on the year, with her ranking having dropped out of the top 100 due to her points from hard court title last February dropping off.  But this surface remains her strongest, and her aggressive nature make her a threat against just about anyone.

And that includes Swiatek, as these players have split their two prior encounters.  However, Giorgi’s victory came over five years ago at the Australian Open, before Swiatek was a top player.  At the 2021 Australian Open, Iga was victorious 6-2, 6-4.  On Friday, I expect a confident Swiatek to continue her winning streak.  And Iga is well beyond experiencing a letdown in form after winning a big title.


Other Notable Matches on Friday:

Paula Badosa vs. Aryna Sabalenka (2) – Their head-to-head stands at two-a-piece, with Sabalenka having taken the two most recent matches.

Coco Gauff (3) vs. Nadia Podoroska (Q) – Gauff is 16-4 this season, but she’s yet to advance beyond the fourth round at her home state’s biggest tournament.  This is her first meeting with Podoroska, a qualifier who has already won three matches this past week.

Andy Murray vs. Tomas Martin Etcheverry (29) – This is a rematch from this past January’s Australian Open, where Etcheverry easily prevailed in straight sets.  Overall he is 2-1 against Murray, with their other two matchups being extremely tight three-setters that each lasted over three hours.

Andrea Vavassori (Q) vs. Jannik Sinner (2) – Sinner was clearly bothered by a leg injury during his semifinal loss to Carlos Alcaraz in Indian Wells last week, his first loss of the year.  Will he be close to 100% this fortnight?  Vavassori is a fellow Italian who survived two third-set tiebreaks just to qualify for this event.

Marton Fucsovics vs. Daniil Medvedev (3) – Medvedev was the runner-up to Alcaraz last Sunday in Indian Wells for the second straight year.  Daniil is the defending champion of this tournament, and is 3-1 against Fucsovics at tour level.


Friday’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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