The event in Miami was no longer at Crandon Park. It was now at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, home to both the Dolphins and the Hurricanes. The Centre Court was inside the Stadium and the other courts were around the complex and in the car park. Interesting? I think so, but people seemed to like it, so fair enough. The courts are (even) slower than the ones in Key Biscayne.
Serena withdrawing came as no real surprise after her opening win against Rebecca Peterson. A knee injury was the reason and according to what I read on tennis form, Patrick has said Rome is her next event. I will say it, the bottom line is all about being fit for the majors. Period. For me anyway.
With Serena out, the game once again showed us how open it is, especially after Andreescu winning in California. So many players have a real crack at gold at the moment and they are stepping up. Ash Barty has shown before what a great game she has, but she now has the biggest title of her career to show for it. The wins over Kvitova (her first over her Czech opponent) and then ousting Karolina Pliskova in the final were her stand out moments. To think she gave up tennis in 2014. She really has a great game on the eye and she deserves this for her continued improvement. Pliskova made the final having looked vulnerable earlier in the tournament. Tough wins over Cornet and Putintseva were followed by comfortable wins over Vondrousova and Simona Halep.
The top seed, Naomi Osaka lost to Su-Wei Hsieh. Osaka admitted that maybe being Number One in the World is making her think a lot more about winning matches than previously. Su-Wei came from a set and 3/5 down in the second. Her run to the quarters was celebrated like most of her epic encounters are. She is a very popular player amongst tennis fans right now and she is very likeable, she also added Wozniacki to her list here. Her run was ended by Anett Kontaveit, who came from 0/4 down in the decider. Finally, Indian Wells Champ Bianca Andreescu beat Angie Kerber again, but this time Kerber told the Canadian, she was “the biggest drama Queen ever”. It left a bit of a bad taste in the mouth for both and after Kerber had backtracked on Twitter to congratulate her opponent, she had Nick (Kyrgios) reminding her of what she had said on court. Haha.
Federer strolled to the men’s title in Miami. The Fed-Express’ toughest match was against the tricky Moldovan Radu Albot in the second round, where he lost the opening set and won a tight second. After that is was all very routine indeed. I have to say, I am slightly surprised that he went the distance here but then again his style and his matchups didn’t really exert him. Krajinovic, Medvedev, Anderson, Shapovalov and the Isner all fell by the wayside. Isner made the final having won the event in Crandon Park last year. His level was not to the same standard this year but another good effort from the American, who injured his foot late in the opening set of the final. Not ideal when you are already a double break down.
Federer will have been delighted to see Novak Djokovic, once again, lose to Roberto Bautista Agut. The Serbian putting it down to many reasons, some on the court, some not. Bautista is a very, very useful operator though and I hope he improves on his Quarter-Final at the Aussie this year. Isner stopped him in the quarters. Second seed Sacha Zverev also lost to David Ferrer in the second round.
The young guns did well, with Felix Auger Aliassime, Denis Shapovalov, Borna Coric and Frances Tiafoe making the last eight. FAA and Shapovalov went one better, making the semis. FAA served for both sets against Isner but lost in two breakers. Shapovalov didn’t play his best and got schooled 2 and 4 by Federer. Wins for Shapovalov over Evo, Rublev, Tsitsipas and Tiafoe show that he is in good nick against his compatriots. Evo can be happy with taking a set off the Canadian. FAA had wins over other young guns that included Coric and Casper Ruud. You know that these dudes named above are only going to get closer from here on in. I like the fact they seem to all get on but have that competitive rivalry amongst one another.
Andy Del Potro