Day 7 Recap: Djokovic and Halep Survive, Stephens’ Title Defense Ends

DAY 7 RECAP: DJOKOVIC AND HALEP SURVIVE, STEPHENS’ TITLE DEFENSE ENDS

By Tucker Verdi

Miami Gardens, FL — World No. 1 Novak Djokovic is through to the second week at the 2019 Miami Open presented by Itaú, surviving an upset bid late Sunday afternoon by Federico Delbonis, 7-5, 4-6, 6-1. The 15-time major champion took the first set, but his Argentinian opponent fired back in the second to force a decider. Delbonis, physically and emotionally exhausted, easily gave way to Djokovic in the third.

Djokovic will now face No. 22 seed Roberto Bautista Agut in the round of 16, Bautista Agut having defeated No. 15 seed Fabio Fognini in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4, in the third round. The two have met nine times, with the Serbian holding a 7-2 edge — though the Spaniard Bautista Agut won the most recent meeting in Doha earlier this year. 

No. 2 seed Simona Halep, the top seed remaining in the women’s draw following Naomi Osaka’s loss Saturday, appeared likely to be packing her bags early against Lucky Loser Polona Hercog. Ranked No. 93 in the world, Hercog stole the first set from Halep, who called for the trainer after tweaking her knee in the set. The reigning French Open champion, however, stormed back to win the second in a tiebreak and then cruised in the third to clinch the match, 5-7, 7-6(1), 6-2.

Halep will play former World No. 1 Venus Williams, who dominated No. 14 seed Daria Kasatkina in the third round, which you can read more about here. Halep and the elder Williams sister have played six times, with the head-to-head all squared up at three-a-piece.

Another top-ranked player was toppled, though, in No. 4 seed and Miami Open defending champion Sloane Stephens. The American was outplayed by Tatjana Maria, who ended Stephens’ title defense 6-3, 6-2. Stephens, frustrated and displeased with her own performance, smashed her racket on the court in the second set in a rare display of anger from the 26-year-old. Maria will next face Marketa Vondrousova, who upset No. 16 seed Elise Mertens, 6-4, 7-6(1), on Sunday

No. 19 seed Kyle Edmund earned a straight sets victory over No. 12 seed Milos Raonic, beating him 6-4, 6-4 en route to his first fourth round appearance at the Miami Open. There, Edmund will meet No. 7 seed John Isner, whose third-round win over Albert Ramos Viñolas you can read about here.

Qualifier Felix Auger-Aliassime continued his run at the Miami Open, beating unseeded Hubert Hurkacz 7-6(5), 6-4. The 18-year-old Canadian will go up against No. 17 seed Nikoloz Basilashvili, who overcame Robin Haase 7-6(3), 6-3 in the third round.

In the last two matches of the night, No. 27 seed Nick Kyrgios cruised to victory on Stadium Court over Dusan Lajovic, 6-3, 6-1. The Australian will face No. 11 seed Borna Coric, who battled late into the night against Jeremy Chardy, ultimately prevailing 6(2)-7, 6-2, 6-3.

No. 5 seed Karolina Pliskova staged a comeback against Alize Cornet, 6(3)-7, 6-1, 6-4, and will see Yulia Putintseva in the fourth round. Putintseva upset No. 11 seed Anastasija Sevastova 1-6, 6-2, 6-3.

Finally, unseeded Wang Yafan downed No. 25 seed Danielle Collins in straight sets, 7-5, 6-1, to advance to the fourth round. There, she will play compatriot No. 18 seed Wang Qiang, who moved on to the fourth round via walkover by No. 10 seed Serena Williams.

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