DAY 5 RECAP: TOP SEEDS, DEFENDING CHAMPS PREVAIL
By Tucker Verdi
Miami Gardens, FL — On a cloudless day jam-packed with some of the biggest names in tennis, Friday at the 2019 Miami Open presented by Itaú saw plenty of action with the top seeds advancing but many just outside the top 10 falling.
World No. 1 and top seed in the men’s draw Novak Djokovic cruised past his opponent, Australian Bernard Tomic, 7-6(2), 6-2 in the first match of the night on Stadium Court. The Aussie has now fallen to the 15-time Grand Slam winner all six times they have played each other. The Serbian will face Federico Delbonis in the next round.
On the women’s side, No. 1 seed Naomi Osaka downed qualifier Yanina Wickmayer 6-0, 6(3)-7, 6-1 to set up a third round battle with No. 27 seed Hsieh Su-wei. Osaka breezed through the first set, but Wickmayer was able to find a groove and push the World No. 1 in the second. However, Osaka settled in and ended the roller coaster match easily in the third.
The reigning men’s singles champion went through into the third round as well. No. 7 seed John Isner overpowered qualifier Lorenzo Sonego in a lengthy two-setter in which each set went to a tiebreak for a 7-6(2), 7-6(7) win.
The American No. 1 is looking to repeat his career-best ATP tour win that preceded a remarkable year for the 33-year-old, which included his first Grand Slam semifinal at Wimbledon. Isner will play Albert Ramos Viñolas in the third round after the Spaniard defeated Frenchman Lucas Pouille (No. 26) 4-6, 6-4, 6-3. Isner celebrated his hard-fought win by smashing autographed tennis balls into the 300 level of Hard Rock Stadium
No. 4 seed Sloane Stephens also began her title defense with a win, getting past Ons Jabeur by a score of 6-2, 6-3. The 2017 US Open champion broke out of a post-Slam slump last year by defeating three top-10 players en route to the Butch Buchholz trophy. In the third round, Stephens will go up against Tatjana Maria, who took down No. 29 seed Camila Giorgi 6-3, 6-4.
World No. 2 Simona Halep defeated American qualifier Taylor Townsend 6-1, 6-3 in 63 minutes to book a spot in the third round as well.
Bianca Andreescu has continued her inspired play, knocking out No. 32 seed Sofia Kenin in straight sets 6-3, 6-3. The Canadian teenager will see No. 8 seed Angelique Kerber in the third round, a rematch of the Indian Wells final on Sunday that saw Andreescu claim her first WTA title.
No. 27 seed Nick Kyrgios went past qualifier Alexander Bublik 7-5, 6-3. Bublik’s on-court personality is often compared to that of his Australian opponent, who took him down in just over an hour.
Venus Williams — a three-time singles title winner at the Miami Open, powered through a first set tiebreak and a delay in the second when there was a medical emergency in the crowd to beat No. 24 seed Carla Suárez Navarro 7-6(4), 6-1.
Venus’ younger sister, No. 10 seed Serena Williams, also won on Friday, which you can read more about here.
Despite most top seeds moving on, a player in the top 10 of each draw was bounced from the tournament. No. 5 Kei Nishikori fell in three sets to Dusan Lajović 6-2, 2-6, 3-6 and No. 9 Aryna Sabalenka was beaten by Ajla Tomljanović 3-6, 4-6.
Other men’s seeds to fall were No. 23 Gilles Simon, No. 29 Marton Fucsovics, and No. 32 John Millman. Other women’s seeds to go home Friday were No. 20 Garbiñe Muguruza, No. 22 Jelena Ostapenko, No. 23 Belinda Bencic, and No. 31 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
See Friday’s full results here.