By Justin Ross
No. 62 Borna Coric over No. 8 Dominic Thiem
As the No. 6 seed in the tournament, Thiem received a first-round bye. Fresh off a quarterfinals run at Indian Wells, he took Stan Wawrinka to three sets. Before that, he won the Rio Open with a victory over Pablo Carreno Busta.
On the other hand, Coric’s ranking at 62 had plummeted since a career high of 33 in 2015. He hadn’t gone past the second round of a tournament in 2017, and he also held a 3-15 record against top 10 opponents, which made him an underdog against the powerful Austrian.
Result: Coric took the match 6-1, 7-5 on his way to his first third round appearance in Miami.
No. 158 Guido Pella over No. 13 Grigor Dimitrov
Not only was his rank better, but Dimitrov’s impressive semifinals run at the Australian Open made him a competitor to watch for. Dimitrov also won their only previous meeting in straight sets, so he had familiarity with his foe.
In comparison, Pella had a poor start to 2017 with a 3-7 record in match play. In February, his rank dropped to No. 166, which was his lowest since March of 2015.
Result: Pella shocked his German opponent with a round of 64 win 6-3, 7-6(4).
No. 77 Jeremy Chardy over No. 9 Marin Cilic
With a 2-1 head-to-head record, the Croat, Cilic, had the advantage over his French foe. Cilic also had experience on his side with 185 more career wins and 15 more ATP titles. Both competitors started 2017 with shaky 5-6 records, but a first-round bye should have aided Cilic against his opponent, who had to expend energy in the round of 128.
Result: The Frenchman secured the upset with a 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 win, only to lose to Italy’s Fabio Fognini in the next round.
No. 72 Lara Arruabarrena over No. 8 Madison Keys
Going into the match, Keys held a 1-0 record in head-to-head meetings. She was making her seventh appearance in Miami, and she had the crowd behind her a Florida resident. Due to a wrist inury, 2017 was a shaky start for Keys, but Arrubarrena was dealing with challenges of her own.
The Spaniard was making her main draw debut after she fell in qualifying three times. She also had a six-match losing streak to start 2017, which can affect an athlete on and off the court. As if that wasn’t enough, Arruabarrena owned a 1-11 record against top 10 opponents.
Result: Arruabarrena advanced with a 7-5, 7-5 win over Keys.
No. 594 Ajla Tomljanovic over No. 13 Elena Vesnina
Arguably the biggest upset of the tournament, Vesnina was on fire before the loss. She was fresh off a win at Indian Wells in which she defeated Svetlana Kuznetsova, Venus Williams and Angelique Kerber. Her impressive play awarded her a first-round bye in Miami.
In addition to ranking more than 575 spots lower than Vesnina, Tomljanovic had a first round exit at Indian Wells. A 2017 win at Acapulco was her first main draw win since 2015, and she was 3-13 against top 20 opponents. Riddled by injuries, Tomljanovic was a major underdog—especially after she dropped the first set.
Result: Tomljanovic advanced with a 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 win.
About the Miami Open presented by Itaú
The 2017 Miami Open will be played March 20-April 2 at the Crandon Tennis Center in Miami. The two-week combined event is owned and operated by IMG. The Miami Open is one of nine ATP Masters 1000 Series events on the ATP calendar, a Premier Mandatory event on the WTA calendar, and features the top men's and women's tennis players in the world. The tournament is widely regarded as the most glamorous on the ATP and WTA calendars because of its exotic Miami location, thriving nightlife, five-star hotels and restaurants, beautiful weather and beaches, and its celebrity appeal. For ticket information, call +1.305.442.3367 or visit www.miamiopen.com.
Itau is the largest Latin America privately owned bank, with approximately 95,000 employees and operations in 20 countries throughout the Americas, Asia and Europe. Itaú’s relationship with sport goes back to the 1970s, when Itaú first sponsored the Itaú Tennis Cup in Brazil in 1970. Itaú has been a sponsor of the Miami Open for the last six years, and also sponsors the Rio Open, the only combined ATP/WTA event in South America. Itaú also supports the Brazilian Women’s Tennis Circuit, only female professional tournament in South America, certified by the Brazilian Tennis Confederation (CBT) and the International Tennis Federation (ITF), as well as the Tennis Institute Training Center, responsible for the development of young, new talent.
IMG is a global leader in sports, fashion and media operating in more than 25 countries around the world. IMG’s businesses include Events & Media, College, Golf, Tennis, Performance and IMG Academy, Fashion, Models, Clients, Licensing, Joint Ventures, and creative management agency Art + Commerce. In 2014, IMG was acquired by WME, the world’s leading entertainment and media agency. Together, the companies offer an unparalleled client roster; strategic partnerships with sponsors and brands; and marquee assets across sports, entertainment, events, music and fashion.