By Tucker Verdi
Call them elite because the eight women who have advanced to the quarterfinals certainly had to fight to get there.
After Monday’s round of 16 play, fans are in store for four outstanding matchups in the quarters. [Each match will feature at least one Grand Slam champion and four former World No. 1’s remain.]
No. 13 seed Sloane Stephens moved on to her second Miami Open quarterfinal with a straight sets win over third-ranked Garbiñe Muguruza. The match was a back and forth exchange of breaks, with Stephens getting the last at 3-all in the second to take the lead. She never lost it, claiming the match 6-3, 6-4 in just under 90 minutes.
Stephens will take on yet another 2-time Grand Slam winner in Angelique Kerber, who faced the toughest test of the quarterfinalists. The No. 10 seed needed three sets and 2 hours and 51 minutes to overcome a fierce challenge by Chinese qualifier Wang Yafan, ultimately winning 6-7(1), 7-6(5), 6-3.
Former World No. 1 Victoria Azarenka cruised to a 6-2, 6-2 win over Agnieszka Radwanska, breaking Radwanska 7 times en route to the quarterfinals. Azarenka is chasing her fourth title in Key Biscayne after wins in 2009, 2011, and 2016.
Azarenka will face another former World No. 1 in Karolina Pliskova, who advanced to the quarters following the retirement of Zarina Diyas with Pliskova leading 6-2, 2-1. Diyas had called for medical timeouts twice during the match, laying out on the court and receiving treatments on her lower abdomen.
On the other side of the draw, the highest seed remaining – No. 4 Elina Svitolina – came from behind yet again to break into the quarters. Australian Ashleigh Barty had a 4-1 lead in the first before the Ukranian charged back and won 7-5, 6-4.
Svitolina will go up against the reigning French Open champion, Jelena Ostapenko, who overcame two-time Wimbledon champ Petra Kvitova 7-6(4), 6-3 in a match that stretched late into the night on Stadium Court.
Venus Williams staged yet another comeback in search of her fourth Miami Open title. This time, it was against the defending champion Johanna Konta, who claimed the first set 7-5. But the 37-year-old settled in after that, taking the second set 6-1 and third set 6-2 in her second consecutive two-hour match.
Williams will play another American – albeit an unexpected one – in qualifier Danielle Collins. Collins continued her unlikely run at Crandon Park by ending the run of Puerto Rican Monica Puig. Puig got off to a hot start with a 6-3 first set win, but Collins fought back to take the second and third 6-4 and 6-2, respectively, to mark the deepest tournament run of her career.
For full match results, visit miamiopen.com/2018-results.
About the Miami Open presented by Itaú
The 2018 Miami Open will be played March 19-April 1 at the Crandon Park 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 94,000 employees and operations in 19 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, events and media, operating in more than 30 countries. The company represents and manages some of the world’s greatest sports figures and fashion icons; stages hundreds of live events and branded entertainment experiences annually; and is one of the largest independent producers and distributors of sports media. IMG also specializes in sports training; league development; and marketing, media and licensing for brands, sports organizations and collegiate institutions.