By Daniel Perissé
Russian Daniil Medvedev and Japan’s Naomi Osaka will make their debuts at the 2021 Miami Open presented by Itaú this Friday, March 26th. Currently ranked as ATP and WTA’s World No. 2, respectively, both players have never won the title in the Magic City, but don’t feel pressured.
No. 1 seed of the Men’s Singles draw, Medvedev will face 37-year-old Yen-Hsun Lu in the third match on Grandstand. The Russian believes that being ranked as World No. 2 brings some sort of advantage.
“I enjoy the moment. For sure it’s my highest ranking in my career. It’s been already one week precisely (smiling). I’m enjoying the moment. I could feel maybe pressure. No, I feel like it just gives me some energy boost. I just want to try to play better and better, to prove even just for myself that I deserve this. Hopefully I can show some great tennis here in Miami.”
The same goes for Japan’s Osaka: “I’ve never even made second week here before. I feel more fun, like, excitement. I want to see how well I can do”, said the Women’s Singles draw seed No 2. Naomi moved to the United States when she was three years old.
Her opponent will be Australia’s Alja Tomljanovic. They play not before 1 p.m. on the Grandstand.
In the third match of the day on Court 1, German Alexander Zverev will face Finland’s Emil Ruusuvuori. The No. 3 seed was a finalist in Miami in 2018 and wants the fourth Masters 1000 of his career. Fresh off his title in Acapulco, he hopes to keep momentum.
“I know what I want to achieve. It’s more about confidence. It’s more about yourself and how well you think you’re playing. A tournament like that can give you quite a bit of confidence, can give you quite a bit of an up-push, an uplift for the upcoming weeks. I hope I can use that”, he affirmed.
American Reilly Opelka faces Australia’s Alexei Popyrin in the opening match on Court 1, at 11 a.m., followed by the clash between Bulgarian Grigor Dmitrov, seed No. 9, and British Cameron Norrie. The third match of the day features young Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime, seed No. 11, who will take on France’s Pierre-Hugues Hebert.
In the opening match of the night session, at 7 p.m., Pembroke Pines’ Sofia Kenin, the No. 4 seed, plays Germany’s Andrea Petkovic, followed by the all-American clash between Mackenzie McDonald and John Isner.
On court Butch Buchholz, Spain’s Garbiñe Muguruza, No. 12 seed, opens the slate against Chinese wild card Xinyu Wang, followed by the debut of Czech Karolina Pliskova, seeded at No. 6, taking on China’s Saisai Zheng. In the third match of the day, 2018 US Open champion Sloane Stephens plays Freeland, NJ, native Amanda Anisimova, the No. 28 seed.
In the fourth match on court Butch Buchholz, No. 8 seed Bianca Andreescu, from Canada, takes on Czech qualifier Tereza Martincova, followed by the match between American Jennifer Brady, the No. 13 seed, and Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo.
Matches start at 11 a.m. at Hard Rock Stadium, while the night session begins at 7 p.m.