By Nadia Liu
Following the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, the Miami Open runs from Mar. 19 to Apr. 2. These two events are the largest non-Grand Slam tournaments in tennis played on hard courts.
Daniil Medvedev beat Jannik Sinner 7-5, 6-3, to win a maiden Miami Open title, securing his fourth ATP title this year. The Russian called it “the best start to a season he’s ever had,” winning 24 of his past 25 matches. The fiery match lasted an hour and thirty-four minutes, with Sinner running out of steam after the first set. Medvedev broke Sinner at 6-5, and from there the match was easy sailing for the Russian hard court specialist. In the previous round, Sinner beat his rival Carlos Alcaraz, tying up their head-to-head record at 3-3. However, that three hour triumph took a toll on the 21-year-old Italian.
Acknowledging the supportive crowd at the post-match ceremony, Sinner said, “Woke up this morning not at my best, a little bit sick. Thanks for the support. You gave me a lot of energy. Unfortunately, I couldn’t play at my best.” Fighting his way to the final, Medvedev beat a fellow Russian, Karen Khachanov 7-6 (5), 3-6, 6-3, in a grueling three-set match. Another Sinner-Alcaraz matchup fuelled what could be considered the current greatest rivalry in tennis, with Sinner upsetting the 19-year-old world No. 1 to get to the final. Medvedev’s only loss this year was to Alcaraz, who previously defeated the Russian to win the title at Indian Wells.
In another upset, 33-year-old Petra Kvitova defeated 23-year-old Kazakh Elena Rybakina in a 7-6 (14), 6-2 victory. In an insane 22-minute, 14-point tiebreaker, both players remained strong both mentally and physically. However, after the debilitating first set, the world No. 7 just could not keep up with Kvitova’s brutal pace. To reach the finals, Kvitova triumphed over Romanian Sorana Cirstea while Rybakina defeated American Jessica Pegula.
In a massive upset, Cirstea, ranked 41st, defeated Aryna Sabalenka, ranked 2nd, in the quarter finals. Cirstea played a relatively clean game with only nine unforced errors, compared to the Belorussian’s six double faults and 21 unforced errors. In an unfortunate turn of events, Canada’s Bianca Andreescu left the court in a wheelchair due to a lower leg injury in her match against 18th-seeded Ekaterina Alexandrova. The broadcast picked up the injured player saying, “I’ve never felt this kind of pain before.” In an Instagram post, Andreescu wrote, “I’m going to take it day by day, and I am optimistic that with the right work, rehab, and preparation, I’ll be back on court soon.”
Playing their first Miami main draw as a team, the all-American duo of Jessica Pegula and Coco Gauff defeated Leylah Fernandez and Taylor Townsend to win their third WTA 1000 title. Mexico’s Santiago Gonzalez and France’s Edouard Roger-Vasselin edged out Austin Krajicek and Nicolas Mahut 7-6 (4), 7-5 to claim their second trophy this season.
After playing in sunny Miami, the players begin their clay circuit in tournaments set primarily in Europe.
(Sources: AP News, ESPN, NY Times)