The line-up for Magic Monday in Miami is taking shape with half of the last 16 match-ups confirmed. Saturday’s line-up was much more enjoyable compared to Friday with the matches nicely staggered. I’ve just finished watching back Kerber-Andreescu and still need to tune into Kontaveit-Tomljanovic and Bertens-Kuzmova! Read on for a Set Points extra post with highlights from Saturday’s action in Miami.
My favourite match was out on Grandstand court as Caroline Wozniacki held off a spirited charge from Monica Niculescu to win back-to-back matches for the first time since the Australian Open. Wozniacki won, 6-4 7-6(4) in what was a surprisingly delightful contest. There were so many great rallies with both players spending the majority of their time up at the net.
Every time Niculescu looked down and out, we saw flashes of peak, aggressive Niculescu as she charged the net with authority… and success! I thought Wozniacki remained so, so steady and handled Niculescu’s slice well. I thought it was noteworthy how calm and focused Wozniacki was. There were very few showings of emotions from the Dane. Wozniacki finished with stats of 28 winners to just 16 unforced errors. The key stat – Woz won four out of four break points, while Niculescu went three out of 15.
A couple of hot shots linked below. Firstly, Niculescu produced one gorgeous drop shot lob combo off a return. Wozniacki retorted later on with an amazing re-lob! Wozniacki now extends the head-to-head lead over Niculescu to 10-0. This match was good preparation for the Woz who gets Hsieh next in the fourth round.
Match review 🎾
Bianca Andreescu made it TEN straight wins with ANOTHER three set victory over Angelique Kerber, 6-4 4-6 6-1. Andreescu went up a set and a break, once again opening up the court with so much authority and then going down-the-line. The first set was close and Andreescu played the big points better. I felt Kerber was still struggling with her depth again.
Andreescu failed to convert on a 6-4 4-1 lead in the second set as Kerber went into lockdown mode, landing more first serves and aiming a greater proportion of shots to the Andreescu backhand. Demonstrating her will to win and resilience (again!), Andreescu tore through the decider to win the ast five games. Andreescu increasingly went for the high, loopy ball to the Kerber backhand which was very effective against a tiring, Kerber. Andreescu upped the aggression and was successful with the drive volleys.
I would say that backing up an Indian Wells title in the next tournament is one of the toughest asks in tennis. What Andreescu is doing right now is just sadhhewhurquwihiusfaguie. I’ve run out of superlatives… 🤣👏
Shock result 😲
Take a bow, Hsieh Su-Wei! Hsieh earnt her second win over a world number with a come-from-behind victory over Naomi Osaka, 4-6 7-6(4) 6-3. It was a topsy-turvy encounter – the player who earnt the first break of each set ended up losing the set!
Improving after a sluggish start, Osaka upped her energy, footwork speed and aggression to win five straight games in the first set from 1-4 to 6-4. Osaka scored the early break in the second set and looked in control as she served for the match at 6-4 *5-4. There was definitely a sense of nerves/complacency as Osaka failed to serve it out against a very gritty, Hsieh.
I really enjoyed this match and their games just gel together to produce entertaining tennis. Hsieh became increasingly aggressive from the second set onwards. She hit deep into the corners and dragged Osaka from side-to-side. It was so effective because she was hitting the ball so, so early! Osaka grew more and more frustrated and reactive to what Hsieh was doing. The Japanese player looked exhausted by the end as Hsieh spun her web of bamboozlement (is that even a word 😂).
Hsieh’s run at the Slams in 2018 was no fluke as she has continued to produce excellent results AND consistently. Hsieh has won six of her last 12 matches against top ten players (via Tennis Abstract). It’s such a special story that at 33 year olds, Hsieh is arguably enjoying the finest spell of her singles career. I just love watching Hsieh play tennis in this form.
Under the radar 🚨
Caroline Garcia is quietly having a great week with straight set wins over Victoria Azarenka and Julia Goerges. Garcia produced a serving masterclass to maintain her 100% record over Julia Goerges with a 6-0 7-5 victory. Garcia won 76% of all service points and saved all six break points faced including four serving at *5-5 in the second set. Goerges simply didn’t show up in the first set. The German player found her range in the second set, but couldn’t make a meaningful impact on the Garcia serve. Garcia just did everything a bit better.
Super stat 🔢
Via WTA Insider, an incredible streak from Naomi Osaka that ended on Saturday.
The Andreescu-Kerber handshake took me by surprise. You can clearly hear Angie say at the net “biggest drama queen ever” 😬. It was a gruelling match that finished in the early hours of Sunday morning so I can understand Kerber not being in the best of the moods. Still, an unnecessary comment.
Best point 🎾
Finished with a sensational winner by Hsieh, this was one of many great points from Osaka-Hsieh.
Best shot 🎾
Kvitova’s serve and volley was damn good but Vekic came up with an even better passing shot winner. Petra with the racquet clap!
Super snap 📸
Lovely picture by Jimmie48 Tennis.
Handshakes and hugs 🤗
A nice exchange between Petra Kvitova and Donna Vekic after Kvitova held on for a 6-4 3-6 6-3 victory.