Tsitsipas, Pegula, Gauff, Medvedev, Rybakina and Badosa lined up for Stadium play
by Daniel Perisse
Miami Gardens, FL (March 24, 2023) – It’s time for Hard Rock Stadium to shine. The first Saturday of the 2023 Miami Open presented by Itaú will be full of tennis stars taking over the main courts, including Stefanos Tsitsipas, Americans Jessica Pegula and Coco Gauff, Daniil Medvedev and a clash between WTA hot shots Elena Rybakina and Paula Badosa.
Stadium play begins at 12 p.m. with No. 2 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas taking on former World No. 7 Richard Gasquet. Bothered with a shoulder injury that made him withdraw from Acapulco and prevented him from playing well in Indian Wells, the Greek hopes to play pain-free in Miami.
“My health is the most important thing that I could have in tennis,” he said. “When I’m feeling healthy, everything falls into place nicely. I’m enjoying myself on the court. I’m getting creative, I can mix up my game and I feel like nothing can go wrong. This is what my aim is for this tournament, to just play pain-free and see how my arm responds in these next few days.”
This will be the third encounter between Tsitsipas and 36-year-old Gasquet, currently ranked at World No. 40. They split wins, but the Greek prevailed in the last match: 6-3, 6-4 in Doha, Qatar, in 2018.
Another player looking to forget Indian Wells is Medvedev. The No. 4 seed comes from losing the final to Carlos Alcaraz 6-3, 6-2, but his recent record of 19-1, which includes the Rotterdam, Doha and Dubai titles, serves as motivation to get back on track.
“I managed to get back in the zone, which I didn’t really have for all of 2022, when I was less consistent. I would have some good matches or tournaments but out of nowhere I would have one bad match. I’ve managed to avoid that for the past four weeks. I have no idea how I have done it, but I am really happy and want to continue,” explained Medvedev, who opens the Stadium night session at 7 p.m. against Spaniard Roberto Carballes Baena.
As for the women, matches will define the last 16 players to advance to the third round. Among them are Buffalo, N. Y. native Jessica Pegula and Delray Beach, Fla. resident Coco Gauff, who have teamed up this Thursday to obtain a victory in doubles against the Czech sisters Brenda and Linda Fruhvirtova before returning into singles play.
Pegula has an all-American clash with St. Petersburg native Danielle Collins and hopes to remain undefeated – she won all the three previous matches, while Gauff plays against Anastasia Potapova, against who she has a 2-0 head-to-head lead. Their matches are both part of the evening session at the Stadium, respectively.
Not before 8:30 p.m. No. 10 seed and 2023 Indian Wells champion Elena Rybakina will do a rematch with Paula Badosa – 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.
Now it’s time for Badosa to try to spoil Rybakina’s chances of achieving the Sunshine Double this season. And the overall numbers are in her favor, since she has a 4-2 overall head-to-head lead against the player from Kazakhstan.
Another court with an exciting program tomorrow is Grandstand. At 11 a.m. Brazilian Beatriz Haddad Maia, the No. 13 seed, duels at 11 a.m. with Jelena Ostapenko, seeded No. 24. The European has won all three previous matches, including one here in this same round in Miami, back in 2018, and one in Cincinnati last season.
Following that, No. 5 seed Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada takes on Brazil’s Thiago Monteiro, and former 2021 Miami Open winner Hubert Hurkacz opens his run as No. 8 seed facing lucky loser Thanasi Kokkinakis.
Also on Grandstand, Orlando, Fla. resident Frances Tiafoe has Japanese qualifier Wasaki Watanuke as his opening challenger, and not before 7 p.m. No.29 Petra Martic, from Croatia, clashes against Elise Mertens from Belgium, who knocked off No. 8 seed Daria Kasatkina.
Other seeded players in action will be three-time Miami Open winner Victoria Azarenka, seeded No. 14, against Poland’s Magda Linette, and Cameron Norrie of Great Britain, the No. 11 seed, challenged by Frenchman Gregoire Barrere.
You can follow all the men’s and women’s results and the draws here.
Download the order of play for tomorrow and get your tickets here.