Thursday slate includes No. 3 Pegula, No. 6 Gauff and No. 10 Rybakina
by Daniel Perisse
Miami Gardens, FL (March 22, 2023) – The first seeded players of the Women’s Singles main draw will make their 2023 Miami Open debuts this Thursday, March 23, including Americans Jessica Pegula and Coco Gauff, respectively No. 3 and 6, and No. 10 Elena Rybakina, who just won the Indian Wells title.
Not before 1 p.m. on Stadium, Pegula faces qualifier Katherine Sebov of Canada hoping to go beyond her semifinals run from last year. Without injured Iga Swiatek, who knocked her off in 2022, maybe the Buffalo, N.Y. native can repeat in Miami the good runs she had during the second part of last season – which includes the Guadalajara WTA 1000 trophy.
However, a possible quarterfinal rival for Pegula is Coco Gauff. The Delray Beach resident meets another Canadian, Rebecca Marino, in the next Stadium match. She holds a 1-0 head-to-head advantage against tomorrow’s opponent: their only previous fixture was a 7-5, 6-0 first-round victory at Roland Garros.
The last Stadium match on the schedule for tomorrow (not before 8:30 p.m.) features Elena Rybakina. The No. 10 seed comes as the Indian Wells WTA 1000 champion and is looking to complete her Sunshine Double with a first title in Miami.
Her opponent is Anna Kalinskaya, who prevailed in the only previous match between them – a 6-4, 6-4 victory in the ITF 25,000 tournament in Playford, Australia, back in 2019.
Three-time Miami Open winner Victoria Azarenka makes her debut against Camila Giorgi, from Italy, not before 7 p.m. on Grandstand. The Italian comes from beating Estonian Kaia Kanepi in the first round in 3 hours and 32 minutes, equaling the longest women’s match of the year. This will be the fourth time they play against each other, and the first since 2019 – Giorgi leads the head-to-head 2-1.
Starting at 11 p.m. on Grandstand, No. 8 seed Daria Kasatkina meets Elise Mertens from Belgium. Both come from disappointing campaigns in Indian Wells and look for better days in Miami.
Kasatkina has a 4-1 lead against Mertens in the head-to-head and won the latest match, 6-3, 6-4 in Sydney last year.
On the men’s side, the remaining first-round matches will be played to define who faces the seeds in the second round. 2020 US Open champion Dominic Thiem, who was granted a wild card into the main draw, opens the evening session against Italian Lorenzo Sonego. If the Austrian wins, he will book a match against British Daniel Evans, the No. 23 seed.
On Grandstand, Richard Gasquet squares off with Australian lucky loser Christopher O’Connell to see who will be challenging No. 2 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in the second round.
Besides the men and women’s singles matches, the doubles draws will begin tomorrow. 2022 champions John Isner and Hubert Hurkacz, who are playing together again to win back-to-back titles, will make their debut on court 5, around 2 p.m., depending on the previous fixtures.
You can follow all the men’s and women’s first-round results and the draws here.
Download the order of play for tomorrow and get your tickets here.