World No. 1 meets N.J. native in Fourth-Round clash; Women’s last 16 are set
by Daniel Perisse
Miami Gardens, FL (March 26, 2023) – There is nothing like having a fresh bagel on a Sunday. For Carlos Alcaraz, it seems that bagels are good anytime he plays at the 2023 Miami Open presented by Itaú: this Sunday, the World No. 1 defeated Serbia’s Dusan Lajovic 6-0, 7-6 (5) and advanced to the fourth round, where he will face Voorhees, N. J. native Tommy Paul for a quarterfinal spot.
The Spaniard was in the same Stadium and court but facing a different opponent. However, for the first 32 minutes, everything seemed to be happening again, as Alcaraz went one set ahead with a 6-0 win. This happened thanks to his first serve performance, winning 14 out of 19 times (74%).
During the second set, Alcaraz had a 5-3 advantage, but Lajovic broke back, and the set was decided in a tie-break. The Serbian did not keep up with the same level, and the World No. 1 clinched another victory.
“Yeah, today has been a great match, great level. I hope to play at this level on Tuesday,” he said.
The Spaniard now plays against Tommy Paul, World No. 19. The American has a 1-0 head-to-head lead against Alcaraz, having won in the Canada Masters 1000 6-7(4), 7-6(7), 6-3.
“Great match ahead. I lost the first and only match that I played against Tommy. I know that he’s a really talented and really tough player, so I have to play at my best. Let’s see what’s going to happen.”
Earlier on Stadium, Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. native Taylor Fritz also secured a spot in the fourth round by knocking out Canada’s Denis Shapovalov, the No. 24 seed, 6-4, 6-4 in 1 hour and 19 minutes. This was the American’s second straight win over the Canadian in nine matches – the most recent was in Acapulco in February.
“I felt like I just protected my serve well. I played well in my service games. Didn’t give him a lot of free points. Served well. Yeah, I didn’t face any break points. I was just able to capitalize on the one break that I got in both sets. That was the difference,” affirmed Fritz during the post-match conference.
Up next for the No. 9 seed is Danish Holger Rune, who halted Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman 6-4, 6-2 on court Butch Buchholz. This will be the first time the Californian faces him.
“It’s going to be a tough match, I think. Playing Holger is a very tough draw. I’m excited to play him. We’ve never played before. I’m not entirely, I guess, sure what to make of his game. He’s very good. I guess we’ll see. I guess we’ll see when we play.”
No. 6 seed Andrey Rublev also cruised past his third-round opponent, beating Serbia’s Miomir Kecmanovic 6-2, 6-1 in almost an hour. Now he faces Italy’s Jannik Sinner, the No. 10 seed, who defeated Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov, seeded at No. 21, 6-3, 6-4.
Closing the Sunday schedule, Netherland’s Botic van de Zandschulp, the No. 26 seed, overcame World No. 3 and last year’s Miami Open finalist Casper Ruud 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, in 2 hours and 49 minutes, in a huge upset. The Dutch’s fourth-round challenger is Finland’s Emil Ruusuvuori, who defeated Japanese wild card Taro Daniel 6-3, 7-6(3) in 1 hour and 44 minutes.
On the women’s side, the remaining third-round fixtures were played this Sunday. Bianca Andreescu clinched a spot among the last 16 after a 6-4, 6-4 win over Sofia Kenin in a former Grand Slam champions battle that lasted 1 hour and 33 minutes.
This will be the third time Andreescu reaches the fourth round here in Miami – the last time she did it was in 2021 and 2019. Both campaigns ended in retirement by injury, but now she feels it might end differently.
“Last time I played here in 2021, I did not enjoy myself, and I did not feel that I deserved to be in that final. But this year, I feel like a different person; and I feel I deserve to be here right now,” said the 2019 US Open winner during her on-court interview.
This was the fifth match between Andreescu and the Pembroke Pines, Fla. Resident, and now the Canadian leads the head-to-head 4-1. Her next opponent is No. 18 seed Ekaterina Alexandrova, who upset Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic, seeded at No. 9, 7-6(10), 6-3. This will be the first time the Canadian faces the rival.
On court Butch Buchholz, Marketa Vondrousova cruised past No. 17 seed Karolina Pliskova, 6-1, 6-2. The Czech needed only 52 minutes to clinch the win and book a fourth-round match against Romania’s Sorana Cirstea, who defeated qualifier Karolina Muchova 7-5, 6-1.
Cirstea reached the quarterfinals in Indian Wells this season and tries to repeat it in Miami. She has beaten World No. 4 Caroline Garcia in both Sunshine Double tournaments in 2023.
Another fourth-round matchup will be between Petra Kvitova and qualifier Varvara Gracheva. The Czech, No. 15 seed, knocked out Croatia’s Donna Vekic 6-4, 7-6(3), while Gracheva ousted lucky loser Magdalena Frech from Poland 6-1, 6-2 in 1 hour and 10 minutes. This will be the first match between them on the WTA Tour.
Barbora Krejcikova, the No. 16 seed, ruled out Rock Island, Ill. native Madison Keys and challenges for the third consecutive WTA 1000 tournament World No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka, who had no issues beating Czech Marie Bouzkova, seeded at No. 31, 6-1, 6-2.
You can follow all the men’s and women’s first-round results and the draws here.
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