When you get Sloane on a role she is difficult to stop. This victory in Miami means she now has a 6-0 record in finals. What I have always liked about Stephens is the combination of aggression and top retrieval skills. The American beat Muguruza, hammered Angie Kerber for the loss of three games and came from a set and a break down in her semi-final against Vika Azarenka. In the final, she edged Jelena Ostapenko in a tight first set before running away with it 7/6 6/0. You can’t really argue with that form.
Top seed Simona Halep and second seed Caro Wozniacki fell early on to Aggie Radwanska and Monica Puig. Woz should deem herself unlucky due to the circumstances of her loss (see The abuse Wozniacki received in Miami was totally unacceptable! ). Elina Svitolina fell to Ostapenko who seems to love playing the more defensive minded player. Like Stephens, the Latvian seems to breed on confidence, when she gets herself into an event she becomes a bigger obstacle as each round passes by.
Azarenka and Danielle Collins deserve special mentions for making the semis. It was possibly better than Vika could have expected so early in the comeback. The American Collins played some very intelligent tennis en route to the last four that included victories over Vandeweghe, Puig and a tired looking Venus Williams in the quarters. Another good effort from Venus in Miami overall, especially the fight shown in defeating Kiki Bertens.
Serena may have lost 6/3 6/2 to Indian Wells champ Naomi Osaka but she played the match on her terms in my opinion. The execution and movement are not quite there yet but that is to be expected after a hectic last year. Getting some games and being back in the action is what was needed over these two events. Two wins and two losses, no disgrace in losing to Venus or Osaka either.
I am pleased for John Isner who has claimed by far the biggest title of his career.
Isner’s sole victory on tour in singles going into Miami this year was a win over Radu Albot in Delray Beach. He was right to say that it was all about getting back in the winner’s enclosure in Indian Wells where he teamed up with Jack Sock to win the doubles. It worked!
In the final Sascha Zverev tightened up when it mattered most and that’s not something you want to be doing against the huge serving American. Especially in light of the fact that Isner had ousted Juan Martin Del Potro in their semi-final 6/1 7/6 thus ending Del Potro’s 15 match winning streak. Confidence was high.
Previous to that were wins over second seed Marin Cilic and just as impressively battering Hyeon Chung 6/1 6/4 in the quarters. It goes without saying the serve was on fire but so were his groundstrokes. The American was out rallying Chung!
The top half of the draw crumbled with the early dismissal of Roger Federer at the hands of Thanasi Kokkinakis. The out of form Dimitrov fell to Jeremy Chardy and it left the door wide open for Sascha Zverev to take advantage. The German went on to beat Pablo Carreno Busta in the semis. The Spaniard had a very nice draw to make the last four with Kevin Anderson being his biggest scalp.
Borna Coric backed up his semi-final showing in Indian Wells by making the last 8, losing to Zverev and Frances Tiafoe can be happy with his last 16 berth having beaten Berdych on the way.
The Miami Open moves away from Crandon Park next year to the nearby Hard Rock Stadium. This illustrious venue, where the event has been known as ‘The fifth Slam’ was brought to a fitting finale with American domination. The Bryans claimed the men’s doubles and Coco Vandeweghe teamed up with Ash Barty to win the women’s doubles.
Andy Del Potro