My favourite matches of the week are normally covered in Match Points (coming soon!) but i’ve been so impressed with the quality of women’s matches in Miami this week, I thought this deserved a separate post. Matches from Miami have rarely featured in my best match countdowns but quite a few of these matches are already in the top 10. My list is taking shape for 2016 and it’s looking decent after only three months! Here’s my top ten from Miami…
Tennis worth catching up with…
10. Caroline Garcia d. Andrea Petkovic (7-6(5) 3-6 7-6(2), R2)
It’s always fun when you’re watching a match and you have literally NO idea who is going to win. This second round match had enough twists and turns to give you motion sickness. Petkovic was up in all three sets, but Garcia fought well and played a quality third set tiebreak to prevail.
9. Elena Vesnina d. Venus Williams, (6-0 6-7(5) 6-2, R2)
It’s not every day you see Venus Williams handed a bagel. Vesnina is so, SO much better than her current ranking of 96 and was flawless in the opening set. Venus, perhaps hindered by a leg injury, gave it her all and valiantly turned around the second set with some customary fighting spirit, saving a match point in the process. Vesnina though, was the better player and deservedly came through in the third set.
8. Heather Watson d. Yanina Wickmayer, (3-6 7-5 6-3, R3)
In a thoroughly entertaining third round contest, Watson scored a huge win. Wickmayer played the better tennis for long stretches of the match but Watson’s fighting spirit, clawing her way out of numerous service games, saw her reach the second week of Miami for the first time in her career.
7. Svetlana Kuznetsova d. Serena Williams (6-7(3) 6-1 6-2, R4)
A baffling match on many levels but i’ve included this one for the first set alone which was brilliant. Serena actually played very well, digging out of a *0-40 hole at *3-4 with some clutch serving and coming out on top in some stunning rallies. After losing the first set on a tiebreak, Kuznetsova mounted an unlikely comeback winning two lopsided sets and producing 27 winners to 13 unforced errors.
6. Timea Bacsinszky d. Ana Ivanovic (7-5 6-4, R3)
I really enjoyed this third round match with both players coming up with some great shotmaking. Bacsinszky saved three set points (one with a second serve ace!) to win the opener and came through in straight sets, overcoming a late surge from Ivanovic.
5. Garbiñe Muguruza d. Dominika Cibulkova (6-7(3) 6-3 7-5, R2)
A great and much-needed victory for Muguruza and another brutal loss for Cibulkova. The Slovak player though remains one of the biggest threats on tour for the seeded players right now. Like Petkovic-Garcia, this match had plenty of momentum shifts; while Cibulkova was two points from the win, she couldn’t get across the finish line with Muguruza a little bit tougher and serving more effectively at the end.
4. Johanna Konta d. Elena Vesnina (4-6 6-1 7-6(3), R3)
This was a super battle between two in-form players. There were two rallies I have in mind which I have been searching for everywhere on Twitter and YouTube! Konta showed how far she has come in the last year, producing three fantastic points down *5-6 *15-30 in the third set before toughing out the match in the tiebreak.
3. Victoria Azarenka d. Angelique Kerber, (6-2 7-5, SF)
Azarenka-Kerber matches are fine by me… with Azarenka’s willingness to come forward and Kerber’s ability to pick her spots with passing shots and down-the-line strokes, this match-up rarely fails to deliver. The scoreline hides what was a fantastic match, particularly the second set, with the pair combining for a total of 50 winners and some sumptuous rallies. For anyone who digs at women’s tennis, this is the match to show them…
2. Svetlana Kuznetsova d. Ekaterina Makarova (6-7(3) 6-4 6-3, QF)
This feels like one match that slipped through the net… finishing at gone midnight, there weren’t many left watching this by the end. Those that did stick around were treated to a super competitive and well fought match. Kuznetsova and Makarova were a little shaky in the big moments (Kuznetsova failed to serve out sets on four occasions) but there were some excellent rallies with both players producing some moments of magic.
1. Victoria Azarenka d. Garbiñe Muguruza (7-6(6) 7-6(4), R4)
I loveeee it when a highly anticipated match delivers… and then some! In their first outing on the WTA tour, the Muguruza-Azarenka fourth rounder was a fascinating contest; without doubt, the first set was my favourite set of women’s tennis in 2016. Muguruza’s forehand was absolutely sensational but Azarenka managed to live with it, showcasing her mental qualities by saving two set points to win the first set. The second set was also close with Muguruza saving a match point to force the tiebreak. The only disappointment was that we didn’t get a third set…
What was your favourite match from Miami? Comments always appreciated! 🙂