Indian Wells Winner Elena Rybakina also advances in women’s singles draw
by Daniel Perisse
Miami Gardens, FL (March 23, 2023) – Jessica Pegula got off to a great start at the 2023 Miami Open presented by Itaú. The Buffalo, N.Y. native cruised past Canadian qualifier Katherine Sebov, 6-3, 6-1 this Thursday, March 23, and booked a third-round clash against countrywoman Danielle Collins.
Pegula needed 1 hour and five minutes to defeat Sebov, while Collins, seeded No. 30, defeated Viktoriya Tomova from Bulgaria, in 1 hour and 31 minutes, 7-6 (7-3), 6-2.
When asked about the clash against Collins, Pegula said it is “weird” to be playing her in the third round and pointed out how hard it is to face the St. Petersburg, Fla. native.
“Yeah, she’s going to be tough. I think she got through a tough match today. She’s always dangerous, especially on a hard court in the U.S., and especially in these conditions. We know each other’s games very well. But again, it’s going to be a very tough match”.
Pegula leads the head-to-head against Collins: she won all three of their previous matches, the last one in 2021 in Montreal.
On her turn, Delray Beach resident Coco Gauff also got off on the right foot. The No. 6 seed prevailed over Rebecca Marino from Canada, 6-4, 6-3 and now plays Anastasia Potapova in the third round – Pegula is next if she wins again.
Gauff has a 2-0 head-to-head lead over Potapova, but the opponent retired in their last match, two seasons ago in Montreal. Therefore, she does not know what to expect.
“The last time I think I played her was in Montreal. I’m pretty sure she retired in that match. I don’t really count that because she wasn’t fully 100%. I don’t remember what the score was, but it was smooth. I could tell she wasn’t 100%, and I don’t think I can really take anything from that into Saturday’s match.”
Tomorrow, Pegula and Gauff will leave rivalries aside and team up against Czech sisters Linda and Brenda Fruhvirtova in a women’s doubles first-round match. The Americans are the No. 2 seeds of the draw.
Closing this Thursday’s evening session in the Stadium, No. 10 seed and 2023 Indian Wells champion Elena Rybakina needed three sets to clinch a win over Anna Kalinskaya 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 in 2 hours and 14 minutes.
“I’m happy that I managed to win. I had some issues during the second set that didn’t go my way, but I’m glad that in the third I found my way and closed the match,” said Rybakina after the win.
Rybakina’s next opponent is Paula Badosa. In a match that even had a ball person hitting balls with the Spaniard during a timeout, she overcame German qualifier Laura Siegemund 7-6 (2), 4-6, 6-2 in almost three hours.
“(Adapting) has been difficult because I had only two days, and today was quite a long day finishing this late. Courts are different, balls are different, hopefully these three sets will help me play better in the next round,” she added.
Badosa has bad memories of her last match against Rybakina, as the player from Kazakhstan ended the Spaniard’s chances of defending her Indian Wells title with a 6-3, 7-5 win in the third round – and finished her own run with the trophy, defeating Aryna Sabalenka in the final. However, she leads 4-2 the head-to-head against Rybakina.
“Since the conditions are different, I think it is going to be different. It’s going to be a battle again and my goal is to recover and try to be as fresh as possible,” explained Rybakina about her next match.
On Grandstand, three-time Miami Open winner Victoria Azarenka, seeded No. 14, defeated Camila Giorgi, from Italy, 6-3, 6-1, and booked a third-round match against Poland’s Magda Linette.
On the other hand, No. 8 seed Daria Kasatkina got upset by Elise Mertens, from Belgium, in a three-setter: 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 in two hours and six minutes. The Belgian now plays Croatia’s Petra Martic, seeded No. 29.
Kasatkina ended the 2023 Sunshine Double with a weak performance: she went to the third round in Indian Wells, being knocked off by Varvara Gracheva, and was upset in the second round in Miami.
As for the men’s side, the remaining first-round matches were concluded to determine all the challengers to the seeded players. Seed No. 2 Stefanos Tsitsipas will face Frenchman Richard Gasquet, who defeated Australian lucky loser Christopher O’Connell 6-4, 3-6, 6-1.
Seeded No. 4, Daniil Medvedev has Roberto Carballes Baena as his opponent. Today, the Spaniard was leading 6-3, 3-0 over his countryman Bernabe Zapata Miralles, who had to retire.
Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime, seed No. 5, duels against Thiago Monteiro from Brazil. The Brazilian defeated Australia’s Jason Kubler 6-4, 7-6 (5) and won a Masters 1000-level match for the first time in his career.
2020 US Open champion Dominic Thiem, who was granted a wild card into the main draw, continues to struggle: today he lost 7-6 (7), 6-2 to Italian Lorenzo Sonego, who now books a second-round match against British Daniel Evans, the No. 23 seed. This was Thiem’s fourth consecutive defeat in an opening fixture in a Masters 1000 event.
You can follow all the men’s and women’s results and the draws here.
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