New week, new tournament… welcome to the 2017 Miami Open! Main draw action got underway on Tuesday (and is still ongoing as I write this but I wanted to get a post about before I sleep) with Duan Ying-Ying the first winner of the tournament, defeating Laura Siegemund, 7-6(6) 6-3. Starting as we mean to go on with drama, the scoreline hides a rollercoaster 74-minute first set where Duan saved three set points. Duan advances to a second round match against the number one seed, Angelique Kerber.
In a huge match between two former top ten players now ranked outside of the world’s top 100, Sara Errani edged Belinda Bencic, 6-3 4-6 6-3. Bencic was sinking without trace for a time against a consistent Errani from the baseline, down a set and a double break. To her credit, she rescued the match with some increasingly patient and accurate play. Bencic had been going for the winner too early but looked calmed and focused as she won six of the last seven games to win the second set.
It all went pearshaped again for BB in the third set. A few line calls riled her and the frustration was too much to handle. In the past, Bencic has been great at channeling the frustration positively but with her recent form, it all just snowballed with Errani quickly getting the double break. Bencic rallied at the end but she left herself with too much to do as Errani served out the match at *5-3, closing on a beautiful drop shot-passing shot winner combo.
This was a good win for Errani, who let out an almighty vamos at the end! I’m sad for Bencic. I know she’s going to come back, I have a lot of faith in her ability and as a competitor, but it’s obviously going to be a long road back from well outside the world’s top 100. I wonder if dipping into the ITF circuit may be worthwhile to build confidence and get some wins. Chin up, BB.
Mandy Minella had a good win over Birthday girl, Kristyna Pliskova, 7-6(4) 5-7 7-5. It was a case of fourth time lucky for Minella in consolidating a service break in the decider having three times been broken straight back including at *5-4 *40-0 from three match points up. However, up again a tiring Kr. Pliskova who was barely moving at the end, Minella served out the match at *6-5 to book a second round date with Svetlana Kuznetsova.
From a set and a break down and winning 12 of the last 13 games, Viktorija Golubic eased past Tsvetana Pironkova, 3-6 6-1 6-1. There were some nice rallies in the decider and Golubic looked increasingly comfortable in this match, playing some niceee backhands.
Naomi Osaka had a comfortable first round win over Kristina Kucova, 6-2 6-3. Next up for Osaka is Simona Halep… looking forward to that one and there will be a preview to follow on Wednesday.
There were two retirements on day one as Danka Kovinic and Lesia Tsurenko were both forced to withdraw with Peng Shuai and Beatriz Haddad Maia respectively advancing to the second round.
For Twitter updates from Miami, Jake Kulick is a great follow!
A big thanks to Jake Soria who has kindly shared his thoughts from day 1 of qualifying at the Miami Open. It’s a very interesting read with recaps of matches including Mertens-Van Uytvanck, Vekic-Day and Potapova-Sakkari.
Get to know more about Potapova in the one of the latest pieces from WTA Insider. The Russian player lost in the second round of qualifying to Jana Cepelova but is one to watch for the future.
A few wrap-ups from Indian Wells – my Match Points tournament summary post can be found at the link below.
Loved the WTA Insider Podcast with Indian Wells champion, Elena Vesnina. One of the most giving players in press.
And finally from Indian Wells and Vesnina’s press conference, this was funny 🤣🤣🤣