The first round of the 2022 Miami Open is in the books. I’m still distracted by the Barty news to be honest. It doesn’t help that the start to both Miami and Indian Wells is always subdued with the seeds getting byes into the second round. The seeds come out to play on Thursday and hopefully i’ll be bringing more positivity then! Today’s first post round-up covers another win for Daria Saville and the return of Karolina Muchova to the tour.
R1 stories 📚
My first match from Miami 2022 was Daria Saville (still doesn’t feel right – will always be Gavrilova to me) against Greet Minnen. Saville is such a value add to the tour. She’s a character off the court and that shines through on court too. There’s never a dull moment with Dasha! This match was a struggle at times but Saville advanced in straight sets, 7-5 6-3. The first set lasted 81 minutes and Saville needed two bites at the cherry to close out the match in the second set which she did in the end with two fantastic forehand winners. Every win is a step in the right direction and ranking points! Next up for Saville is Simona Halep on Thursday which should be a fun one. The pair have played four times before and Dasha did chalk up a win in Rome in 2016.
The only match-up that was a must watch for me on Tuesday’s schedule was Amanda Anisimova against Shelby Rogers. Unsurprisingly, it was a wild ride as Rogers rallied from a set down to win, 3-6 6-0 6-3. Rogers held onto her lone break of serve in the third set with a real assuredness. It was a very contained and clean display against a super dangerous opponent. This felt a bit like 2021 Anisimova. Flashes of brilliance but ultimately patchy and the focus seemed to waver. I’m still not over that Indian Wells match against Leylah Fernandez. Anisimova dominated Fernandez for a set and a half, missed four match points when trying to close out the match, lost the second set on the tiebreak and then promptly retired with illness. That result made me worry. I hope she’s ok.
Naomi Osaka opened Wednesday’s proceedings with the first match on the Stadium court since 2019. I’m pleased to see Osaka back and to put that unfortunate match in Indian Wells behind her. Osaka didn’t face a break point in a 6-3 6-4 victory over Astra Sharma. Sharma competed excellently but the result felt never in doubt.
After Barty’s retirement earlier in the day, Karolina Muchova has been promoted to my new fave. No pressure, Karolina! And it was a big day as Muchova was playing her first match since the US Open following a spell on the sidelines to fix the abdominal injury that had plagued her since the 2021 Australian Open. In her first match of 2022, Muchova played fellow Czech, Tereza Martincova and scored an excellent win, 7-6(3) 7-6(3) in two hours and 26 minutes.
As the scoreline suggested, there wasn’t much to separate the pair. Martincova delivered a very steady level all match and didn’t give a great deal away. This was a good match for the first round. The difference was Muchova’s wider-ranging variety and flashes of quality, something different like a foray into the net. This was the case on the penultimate point of the first set tiebreak as Muchova came in off a funky slice and then put a lunging volley winner away. I’m thrilled to see Muchova back. Please stay healthy! There’s a lot of work to do now in the rankings to get back to where she belongs.
Muchova and Osaka both advance to the second round in the most eye catching section of the draw. Osaka now plays Angelique Kerber, while Muchova takes on Leylah Fernandez. The winners of those matches will play each other in the third round! I went for Kerber-Fernandez in my draw. After watching those first rounders, it would come as no surprise to me if the unseeded players prevail. Osaka-Kerber and Muchova-Fernandez are the highlights on Thursday’s schedule.
Love this initiative.
Recommended reading 📚
It sounds like Miami media day was largely dominated with questions about Ash