By Daniel Perissé
The first day of the Women’s Singles Main Draw at the 2021 Miami Open presented by Itaú will be special for Venus Williams: when the 40-year-old American gets on court to play against Kazakhstan’s Zarina Diyas, she will have reached an impressive mark of 21 years playing in the South Florida tournament.
Venus’ first time in Miami dates back to 1997, as a wild card – Diyas, her first-round opponent, was only three years old. Since then, she won the title in the Magic City three times (1998, 1999 and 2001) and was a finalist in 2010.
The 40-year-old will be back on court since injuring her right ankle and left knee during a second-round loss to Italian Sara Errani at the Australian Open. Venus won the only match against Diyas, 7-6(8), 6-4 in 2015 in Cincinnati. If she wins, her next opponent will be Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic, who reached the final in Adelaide this year.
Another match to watch is the all-American clash between Shelby Rogers and Madison Brengle – the winner plays World No. 5 Elina Svitolina. Also, Australian Ajla Tomljanovic and Russian Anastasia Potapova will face off to see who Naomi Osaka’s first opponent in Miami will be.
Tuesday’s order of play also features the last matches to set the qualifying spots in the Women and Men’s main draws. Among the players that will have this chance are veterans like former doubles World No. 1 Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Kirsten Flipkens, from Belgium.
On the men’s side, seven Americans are still alive. Top seed Mackenzie McDonald will face veteran Ivo Karlovic, from Croatia, for a spot in the main draw, while 20-year-old Jenson Brooksby upset Switzerland’s Henri Laaksonen and plays Thomas Fabbiano from Italy. Emilio Nava, Mitchell Krueger, Bjorn Fratangelo, Brandon Nakashima and Ernesto Escobedo also advanced to the next stage.
Matches start at 10:00am at Hard Rock Stadium.