Another day, another win for Naomi Osaka at Miami Open

2022 Miami Open - Day 4
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MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – Two days, two wins and making it look easy.

Naomi Osaka sure seems like herself again.

The former world No. 1 is through to the third round at the Miami Open, easily handling 13th-seeded Angelique Kerber of Germany 6-2, 6-3. It was every bit as one-sided as the score made it seem, with Osaka winning 89% of first-serve points and 61 of the 100 points played in the match overall.

“It means a lot to me,” said Osaka, unseeded in Miami after falling to No. 77 in the world because she’s missed considerable time to focus on her mental health in recent years. “She’s the first high-seeded player I’ve beaten this year.”

And when it comes to high-ranked opponents, the drought was even longer.

Kerber is ranked 15th in the world; the last time Osaka defeated a top-15 ranked player was when she topped then-No. 10 Serena Williams in the 2021 Australian Open semifinals. Osaka went on to win that tournament and hasn’t been to a final since, but her win over Kerber – who had been 4-1 against Osaka entering Thursday – certainly made her look the part of a Miami contender.

“I went into the match just really wanting to play my game,” said Osaka, who has yet to drop a set in her two matches in Miami; she beat Astra Sharma 6-3, 6-4 on Wednesday. “I still have the memories of all the matches she’s beaten me before. So yeah, I just wanted to play as well as I could. It worked out.”

Kerber’s loss was part of a tough day for seeded players on the women’s side.

No. 11 Emma Raducanu, No. 15 Elina Svitolina, No. 18 Leylah Fernandez, No. 25 Daria Kasatkina, No. 31 Alize Cornet and No. 32 Sara Sorribes Tormo were all defeated Thursday.

Olympic doubles gold medalist Katarina Siniakova of the Czech Republic needed just under three hours to beat Raducanu, the reigning U.S. Open champion, 3-6, 6-4, 7-5. Siniakova was nearly reduced to tears while getting worked on during a medical time-out in the first set because of an upper-body injury.

“I think I just felt better as the match was going on,” Siniakova said. “I was fighting in the beginning.”

Svitolina, who had a number of fans wearing pro-Ukraine shirts watching her match in tribute to her homeland, lost to Britain’s Heather Watson 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (4).

Fernandez – a U.S. Open finalist last year – lost to Karolina Muchova of the Czech Republic 6-4, 7-6 (3).

Muchova, who hasn’t played since the U.S. Open nearly seven months ago because of an abdominal injury, will face Osaka for a spot in the round of 16.

“For me, it was a win to play and compete again,” Muchova said.

Cornet lost to Alison Riske of the U.S. 6-2, 6-2. Kasatkina fell to Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus 7-6 (5), 6-4, and Sorribes Tormo was ousted by Kaia Kanepi of Estonia 3-6, 7-5, 6-0.

No. 9 seed Danielle Collins of the U.S. escaped the upset bug, holding off Anna Bondar of Hungary 6-3, 3-6, 6-4. No. 8 seed Ons Jabeur of another winner, getting past Poland’s Magda Linette 7-6 (1), 6-2.

Among the men’s winners was Sebastian Korda of the U.S., who made the quarterfinals at Miami last year. He rolled past Alejandro Davidovich Fokina of Spain 6-1, 6-1 in a first-round match, getting off the court in just over an hour on a summer-like day in South Florida.

“I’m a Florida boy,” Korda said. “I love the humidity. Heat and humidity, those are my two favorite things. I just play some really good tennis in them.”

Giron cruises in 3rd set, beats Rybakov at Dallas Open

2023 Australian Open - Day 1
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DALLAS – Marcos Giron advanced to the second round of the Dallas Open with a 6-4, 6-7 (1), 6-1 victory over Alex Rybakov on Tuesday.

The seventh-seeded Giron, who reached the semifinals of the inaugural event a year ago, responded quickly after failing to close out the second set, winning the first five games of the deciding set.

Rybakov broke his fellow American when Giron was serving for the match in the second set. Then Rybakov won the first six points of the second-set tiebreaker.

“I’m really happy with how I was able to reset in the third and just get back to the game plan from the beginning and elevate,” Giron said. “He played well and served well and kind of hung in there.”

Eighth-seeded Adrian Mannarino of France won the final five points of a first-set tiebreaker and the last four games of the second to beat American Steve Johnson 7-6 (6), 6-2.

J.J. Wolf, the No. 6 seed, had little trouble in a 6-3, 6-3 victory over fellow American Brandon Holt.

John Isner, the fifth seed and unofficial tournament host in his hometown event, played later Tuesday. Like Giron, Isner lost in the semifinals last year.

Sock wins at Dallas Open, set to face top-seeded Fritz

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DALLAS – Wild-card entry Jack Sock opened with a 7-6 (2), 4-6, 6-4 victory over Ilya Ivashka at the Dallas Open, setting up a second-round meeting with top-seeded fellow American Taylor Fritz.

Sock broke Ivashka’s serve in the final game to win the match. Ivashka fell behind 2-0 to start the final set but broke Sock to get back on serve.

Down a break early in the second set, Ivashka rallied to force the deciding set after Sock cruised in the first-set tiebreaker.

The eighth-ranked Fritz is back for the second Dallas Open after losing in the semifinals as the top seed in the inaugural edition of the indoor hard-court event last year. Defending champion Reilly Opelka isn’t in the field.