Photo : Mike Lawrence/ATP Tour
Andreescu roars to victory
Bianca Andreescu overcame a massive challenge against fast-rising Amanda Anisimova in the third round of the Miami Open Presented by Itau this Sunday. The 20 year old was made to fight all the way against her opponent’s heavy hitting groundstrokes and some tightness in her back before winning in three sets, 7-6(4), 6-7(2), 6-4.
“Come on” shouts echoed across the Grandstand court as the two players held onto their service games in the first set. Though unable to convert on 10 break opportunities, 2019 US Open champion Andreescu kept her intensity high, reaching a first-set tiebreak after being largely untroubled on her own serve throughout the set. There, she prevailed with a beautiful drop-shot-and-volley combination to take the first set and move one set away from victory.
Proceedings were far different in the section set, with Anisimova and Andreescu exchanging several breaks of serve before the No. 28-seeded American was forced to take a medical timeout for treatment on blisters on her right hand. Instead of slowing down, Anisimova asserted herself and brought the match into a second consecutive tie-break. This time, it was the American who stormed to a 5-1 lead. Moments later, she took the breaker to push the match into a deciding set.
In the final set, it was time for Andreescu to request her own medical timeout, needing treatment on a stiff lower back that was seemingly troubling her serve. With renewed vigour following the treatment, the Canadian went up a break in the decider and reestablished her control over the match. Showing exactly why she still belongs in the elite of the game despite a prolonged absence from the tour in 2020, Andreescu finally ended the highly entertaining contest with a love game, and moves on to face the in-form Garbiñe Muguruza next.
Shapovalov survives marathon opener in Miami
In a match marked by long pauses, Denis Shapovalov fended off valiant unseeded player Ilya Ivashka in his first ATP Masters 1000 match this Saturday in Miami. After dropping a close first set, Shapovalov maintained his focus to finally close out the tightly contested second round encounter, 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-4.
Hitting big from the baseline and protecting his serve, the 27 year old Ivashka stood firmly with Shapovalov to force a first set tie-break. The Belarusian came up on top, sneaking away with the first set 7-6(5) winning only a single point more than his opponent in the whole set.
The young but experienced Shapovalov was not intimidated, though, as the No. 6 seed’s explosiveness finally rewarded him with an early lead in the second set. After Ivashka’s hold in a game worthy of the match, extended to 18 points on Ivashka’s serve at 5-3, Shapovalov served out the set comfortably to tie the match at 6-7(5), 6-4.
Into the deciding set, rain delays kept pausing the match, extending it even longer – to the frustration of fans and the players themselves. Shapovalov again struck first after one of the rain stoppages to take the only break of the final set, courtesy of a double-fault from Ivashka. The top male Canadian player held his nerve, holding serve to love for the last time to end the two hours, 58 minute encounter.
Félix falls to Isner
For the second straight time in Miami, Auger-Aliassime fell victim to John Isner in two tough tie-breaks, 7-6 (5), 7-6(5) on Sunday afternoon.
Isner stuck with his regular game plan, bombing serves and being ultra aggressive on return. Felix managed to safely stay toe to toe with Isner, showing great firepower of his own. However, the American’s power and near-perfect technique on serve was too much to handle, not allowing Félix any chances for a break in the entire match.
With a perfect 9-0 record in tie breaks in Miami before the encounter, Isner did not falter in the most important moments. In the end, a combination of Isner’s greater experience and powerful serving got the best of the 20 year old, and it is the veteran who marches on in Miami.