Nine out of 16 men’s seeds lost today; Gauff, Azarenka also out
by Daniel Perisse
Miami Gardens, FL (March 25, 2023) – Life was not easy for seeded players at the 2023 Miami Open presented by Itaú this Saturday: between upsets and hard-fought battles, nine of the 16 men’s singles seeds who played their second-round matches today were knocked out, while fan favorites Coco Gauff and Victoria Azarenka were also ousted from the women’s draw.
It was a Super Saturday at Hard Rock Stadium, as 13 of the 23 singles matches played today between the ATP and WTA draws went to a third set.
An exception to the rule was Daniil Medvedev. It only took 1 hour and two minutes for the World No. 5 to cruise past Spaniard Roberto Carballes Baena 6-1, 6-2, and advance to the third round.
Medvedev, who has won three consecutive titles in Rotterdam, Doha and Dubai this season before losing to Carlos Alcaraz in the Indian Wells final a week ago, now plays against World No. 56 Alex Molcan from Slovakia, who knocked out Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka, seeded at No. 28, 7-6 (5),1-6, 6-2.
Another one of the few exceptions was No. 2 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, who did not even have to play to advance as former World No. 7 Richard Gasquet had to withdraw due to an ankle injury.
The Greek’s next rival, however, has been one of the tournament underdogs so far: Chilean qualifier Cristian Garin, currently ranked at No. 82. He phased out Argentina’s Sebastian Baez, the No. 27 seed, 7-6 (2), 6-3.
One more upset was No. 19 Matteo Berretini’s defeat to Mackenzie McDonald, currently at No. 55 of the ATP Ranking, in two tie-breaks, 7-6 (8), 7-6 (5). The Piedmont, Calif. native will face another unseeded player in the fourth round: France’s Quentin Halys, World No. 79, who saved three match points in a 3 hours and 18 minutes win over Australian Alex de Minaur, the No. 15 seed, in three tie-breaks: (5) 6-7, 7-6 (3) and 7-6 (8).
Croatia’s Borna Coric, the No. 17 seed, lost to Atlanta native Christopher Eubanks, currently the World’s No. 119, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2. The American challenges World No. 65 Gregoire Barrere from France, who ousted British Cameron Norrie, World No. 12, 6-3, 6-2 in 1 hour and ten minutes.
Another Italian, Lorenzo Musetti, seeded No. 18, was halted by Czech Jiri Lehecka, 6-4, 6-4. Currently ranked as World No. 40, Lehecka has a third-round fixture against Karen Khachanov, No. 14 seed and one of the few seeded players to advance, who beat Argentina’s Tomas Etcheverry 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 in 2 hours and eight minutes.
Guess who was the only Italian in the main draw to win today? Unseeded Lorenzo Sonego, World No. 59. He halted Great Britain’s Daniel Evans, the No.23 seed, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, and meets next Orlando, Fla. resident Frances Tiafoe, who needed 2 hours and 45 minutes to overcome Japanese qualifier Yosuke Watanuki, World No. 123, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (3), 6-4.
On Grandstand, No. 5 seed Felix Auger-Aliassime needed 2 hours and 41 minutes to prevail over Thiago Monteiro from Brazil, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (8). Next for the Canadian is Francisco Cerundolo, one of the few seeded players that advanced with certain ease this Saturday: he had a win over New York native Aleksandar Kovacevic, 6-4, 6-4.
Also on Grandstand, 2021 Miami Open winner Hubert Hurkacz, seeded at No. 8, needed 3 hours and 31 minutes – now the longest best-of-three match this season on the men’s side – to prevail over Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis, 6-7 (10), 7-6 (7), 7-6 (6). The Polish, who had to save five match points to clinch the win, now plays World No. 62 Adrian Mannarino, from France – he stunned Atlanta native Ben Shelton, the No. 32 seed, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1.
On the women’s side, No. 3 seed Jessica Pegula prevailed over No. 30 Danielle Collins, 6-1, 7-6 (0) in almost an hour and a half at the Stadium.
“I think she wasn’t maybe playing her best, and I was playing a high level to start. Then she definitely started playing better in the second set, which I expected her to because she’s a great player. I was happy I was able to close that out in a tiebreak,” explained the Buffalo, N.Y. native.
Pegula’s next opponent will be No. 20 seed Magda Linette, the No. 20 who defeated three-time Miami Open winner Victoria Azarenka, seeded No. 14, 7-6 (3), 2-6, 6-4 in 2 hours and 27 minutes. This was the Polish’s first win over Azarenka in three meetings.
This will be the first match between Pegula and Linette, who reached the Australian Open semifinal this season. The Polish trains a lot in Boca Raton, where Pegula lives, and they’re used to practice with each other:
“Yeah, it’s been fun getting to know her. We’re pretty good friends. She had a great win today. She is playing well this year. She had some good wins this year. So, it’s definitely going to be tough and we know each other’s games very very well. We just practiced the other day, as well.”
Later on the Stadium, No. 6 Coco Gauff was one game from defeating No. 27 Anastasia Potapova, but she let that lead slip away and was defeated 6-7 (8), 7-5, 6-2 in 2 hours and 32 minutes.
“I got myself out of a lot of tough moments in the match. I think that I didn’t play. Even when I won the first, was up in the second, I didn’t get there by the way I should have been playing. I felt like, I don’t know, I just didn’t play how I wanted to today. Really where I got in the match was because of my mentality but not because of the game,” explained the Delray Beach, Fla. resident.
Potapova has booked a fourth-round match against Qinwen Zheng. The No. 23 seed from China took out Liudmila Samsonova, seeded No. 12, 5-7, 7-6 (5), 6-3, in three hours.
Zheng leads 2-0 the head-to-head against Potapova – their latest fixture was this year in the second qualifying round at the Adelaide 2 tournament, and the Chinese won 6-7 (3), 7-5, 7-6 (4).
On Grandstand, Jelena Ostapenko, the No. 24 seed, phased out Brazil’s Beatriz Haddad Maia 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, and has set a fourth-round matchup against Italy’s Martina Trevisan, who halted Thousand Oaks, Calif. native Claire Liu, 4-6, 7-5, 6-4.
Also on Stadium, No. 10 seed and 2023 Indian Wells champion Elena Rybakina defeated Paula Badosa for the second time in this season’s Sunshine Double: 3-6, 7-5, 6-3.
Rybakina was 5-2 down and saved a match point before overcoming her rival. She had a total of 60 winners throughout the match.
“Of course, I’m happy that I managed to win this set, and then the match. I was trying to focus on every point. I found some energy, was trying to move a little better on the court. I’m very pleased with the result and I hope I’ll be ready for the next match,” explained the No. 10 seed after the win.
They played weeks ago in the third round in California and the Kazakh won 6-3, 7-5 ending the Spaniard’s hopes of defending her title there.
Belgium’s Elise Mertens will be up next for Rybakina. The Kazakh leads the head-to-head 2-1 and won their most recent match, in 2021 in Cincinnati, 6-3, 6-2.
You can follow all the results and the men’s and women’s singles and doubles draws here.
Download the order of play for tomorrow and get your tickets here.
View the scores from today’s matches below.