By Daniel Perissé
Six Grand Slam Winners will be on court this Thursday, March 25th, at the Miami Open presented by Itaú, including World No. 1 and Women’s Singles title contender Ashleigh Barty, Simona Halep, Angelique Kerber, Petra Kvitova, Jelena Ostapenko and, in the men’s side, Marin Cilic.
The tournament’s No. 1 seed, Barty starts defense of her crown against qualifier Kristina Kucova, from Slovakia, not before 3 p.m. on Grandstand. The 2019 French Open winner has already won a title in 2021 at the Yarra Valley Classic, in her native Australia. She is 8-2 so far this season and was an Australian Open quarterfinalist.
“This week for me a couple years ago was one of the best of my career, where I played consistent tennis throughout the whole week. I’m looking forward to challenging myself once again to try to bring that tennis”, said the World No.1, whose trip from Australia to Miami took almost 50 hours.
Court 1 features three of the five Grand Slam winners competing tomorrow. The second match of the day on Court 1 features three-time Grand Slam winner Kerber against Renata Zarazua, from Mexico. The 33-year-old German has won the Australian Open and US Open (2016) and Wimbledon (2018).
The not before 5 p.m. match on Court 1 will see Romania’s Simona Halep challenging Caroline Garcia, from France. The former World No. 1 has a 6-2 record this season, including a quarterfinal appearance at the Australian Open (lost to Serena Williams), and seeks her first title in Miami.
“The challenge is big. I always wanted this tournament because it’s a nice tournament, also good conditions all the time. The atmosphere, the weather, it’s nice. So, I feel good”, said the 2018 French Open and 2019 Wimbledon champion.
The last match on Court 1 features Petra Kvitova, the 2011 and 2014 Wimbledon winner. Fresh off of her title in Doha this season, she plays against France’s Alize Cornet. On Court 3, Ostapenko will face lucky loser Kristen Flipkens, from Belgium – the Latvian’s best result so far in 2021 was reaching the round of 16 at the Gippsland Trophy in Melbourne, Australia.
Two Americans are also part of the schedule this Thursday on Grandstand. Madison Keys, the 2017 US Open finalist, opens the slate against wild card Ana Konjuh, from Croatia. The Rock Island, IL, native is 2-2 so far in 2021 and plays her third tournament of the season.
Delray Beach’s Coco Gauff plays the last match of the day against Latvia’s Anastasija Sevastova. The 17-year-old has a 11-5 record this season, having reached the semifinals in Adelaide and the quarterfinals in Doha.
On the men’s side, Croatian Marin Cilic faces Federico Coria, from Argentina. The 2014 US Open winner and former World No. 3 reached the semifinal in Singapore this season and comes from a first-round defeat in Acapulco. This will be the third match of the day at court Butch Buchholz.
Following the Cilic-Coria match on court Butch Buchholz, former World No. 5 Kevin Anderson plays against Brazilian Thiago Monteiro.
Matches start at 11 a.m. at Hard Rock Stadium, while the night session begins at 7 p.m.