The last 16 is in the books after Magic Monday Miami Style. The rain came back for a time on Monday which was bizarre because I hadn’t seen any rain in the forecast. Thankfully it only halted played for a few hours and all matches were completed. Read on for a bumper Set Points extra post with highlights from day 6 of main draw action at the Miami Open.
Hsieh Su-Wei produced another delightful performance to beat Caroline Wozniacki in three entertaining sets, 6-3 6-7(0) 6-2. Hsieh was two points from the straight sets win. Wozniacki retaliated with two bold service games at *4-5 and *5-6. It was quite a shock to see Wozniacki turn the match around by being noticeably aggressive and coming forward to the net. It’s not her natural game so I thought it was an impressive effort.
Hsieh buckled in the ensuing second set tiebreak as Woz won the last 11 points of the second set. In a bizarre symmetry (and actually it was quite a bizarre match!), Hsieh then won the first 11 points of the third set. After working so hard to force the third set, Wozniacki made a slow start to go down 0-4. It was the second match in a row where Hsieh seemed to tire out her opponent in three sets. Despite Wozniacki giving it her best efforts, Hsieh came through comfortably in the decider, dropping just four points on her serve.
Hsieh is becoming one of my favourite players to watch and I end up cackling through her matches at the sheer audacity of her shotmaking. Hsieh redirected the ball effortlessly and produced multiple drop shot-lob combos as she hit a total of 33 winners past Wozniacki.
I actually thought this was a very positive display and tournament from Wozniacki. The Dane was very focused in her last two matches against two funky opponents and fought so hard, a true testament to her character after the health battles she has endured over the past year. I thought it was a nice touch to see her signing autographs at the end of the match. I’ve though in the last few years that she has been very petulant on court when things weren’t going well. In her last two matches in Miami, she just got stuck in with very few emotional out bursts. Has she mellowed on court?!
Match review 🎾
Ash Barty came from a break down to maintain her 100% record against Kiki Bertens with a 4-6 6-3 6-2 victory. The pair last played in Sydney in what is one of my favourite matches of 2019 so far. While not coming close to the lofty heights of that match, this was still another high-quality affair. Their games just gel nicely together and both are in pretty decent form.
The momentum began to swing midway through the second set when Barty boldly saved three break points at 4-6 *2-2, all great saves – this included a gorgeously deft backhand slice dropper, a passing shot that Bertens couldn’t get back after Barty had produced a sensational pick-up off the baseline, and then a brave net rush where Barty stood her ground at the net.
Bertens became increasingly erratic through the second half of the match and i’d attribute some of that to Barty’s superb point construction. While the slice remains her go-to on the backhand side, i’m pleased to see Barty hitting through it a bit more often. I will keep hammering home the point that Barty’s second serve is one of, if not, the best on tour! Barty won 16 of 24 points behind her second serve in the last two sets.
Under the radar 🚨
Wang Qiang and Marketa Vondrousova are both enjoying great runs through March after advancing to the quarter-finals of Miami with straight set wins. Wang Qiang has made the last 16 of both IW and Miami, while Vondrousova has reached the quarters of both tournaments. Both players will go up against top ten opposition for a place in the last four of Miami.
Super stat 🔢
Bianca Andreescu’s 10 match winning streak came to an end on Monday as she was forced to retire down 1-6 0-2 to Anett Kontaveit due to the shoulder injury that has plagued her since Indian Wells.
With 31 match wins so far in 2019 including four top 10 wins, six top 20 wins and 12 top 50 wins, Andreescu has propelled herself from 152 in the rankings at the start of the season to 24 😲👏. It’s been an amazing run and start to the season for Andreescu and I hope she will take this time to properly rest up and heal for the clay court season. It’s going to take something miraculous for Andreescu not to walk away with the WTA Newcomer of the year for 2019.
Best point 🎾
As mentioned above, this was Barty’s third break point save midway through the second set with some volley pinball at the net!
Best shot 🎾
Hard to pick out just one winner for Hsieh so recommend watching the highlights from this match above. I do like a drop shot-lob combo! 😍
Super snap 📸
Love this shot of Petra.
Handshakes and hugs 🤗
Petra’s in the H&H section again! Here’s a nice moment with Caroline Garcia after a 6-3 6-3 win. A very impressive display from Kvitova who saved the lone break point that she faced.
LOL moment 🤣
Bencic taking Kasatkina by surprise with a hug! The pair missed a whole host of match points in their second round doubles win before eventually beating Aoyama and Marozava, 6-3 3-6 15-13.
Press highlights 📰
Simona Halep talked about relying on her serve in an excellent victory over Venus Williams, 6-3 6-3. Halep also spoke about Hsieh in press conference. I watched the end of the match and thought Halep looked in fine form, serving strong and moving especially well.
Tomorrow’s OOP ⭐
The first two quarter-final from the top half of the draw are up on the schedule on Tuesday – Anett Kontaveit vs. Hsieh Su-Wei is at not before 2pm local time (6pm UK time) and Petra Kvitova vs. Ash Barty highlights the night session at not before 7:30pm local time (11:30pm UK time).