Gauff and Rogers win, more seeded women fall at Miami Open

2022 Miami Open - Day 5
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MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – Seeded women continue to have major struggles at the Miami Open.

Coco Gauff is one of the few exceptions.

The 14th-seeded American, whose home is about a 45-minute drive north from where she’s playing this event, got past Wang Qiang of China 7-5, 6-4 – avenging a first-round loss to her in the Australian Open earlier this year.

“I think I hit a lot of good shots on the run,” Gauff said.

Gauff, who turned 18 earlier this month, made her WTA Tour debut three years ago at the Miami Open. She reached the second round that year, was ousted in the second round last year and now is in the third round at Miami for the first time.

“I was just super motivated today,” Gauff said.

No. 16 Jessica Pegula felt right at home too, even though the tournament is held on the grounds where the NFL’s Miami Dolphins practice and play – and her parents, Terry and Kim Pegula, just happen to own the Dolphins’ AFC East rival Buffalo Bills. Pegula had little trouble beating 2018 Miami Open winner Sloane Stephens 6-1, 6-4.

More than half of the women who were seeded going into the tournament won’t even be around for the first weekend, with four more – No. 10 Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia, No. 20 Elise Mertens of Belgium, No. 24 Sorana Cirstea of Romania, and No. 29 Liudmila Samsonova of Russia – getting eliminated in second-round matches Friday.

Their losses meant 15 seeded women have now lost their opening matches at the tournament, with 11 – including top-seeded Aryna Sabalenka – getting defeated Thursday alone. Another four seeded women have withdrawn with either injuries or ailments, meaning no more than 13 of the original 32 seeds will get to the third round.

Shelby Rogers of the U.S. used 15 aces – and saved nine of the 10 break points she faced – to beat Ostapenko, 6-3, 7-6 (0). It was Rogers’ second win over Ostapenko this month, after also topping her in a second-round matchup at Indian Wells.

“There are no easy matches out here,” said Rogers, who has now made the third round at Miami for just the second time; she also did it in 2017. “Whether you play the same people week to week or not, you’ve still got to go out there and perform. I just tried to focus on my side of the court and did the best I could.”

Madison Brengle of the U.S. beat Samsonova 6-4, 6-0. China’s Zhang Shuai needed only 53 minutes to beat Cirstea, 6-1, 6-1. Linda Fruhvirtova of the Czech Republic topped Mertens 7-5, 2-6, 6-1.

Other seeded second-round women’s winners Friday included No. 17 Elena Rybakina and No. 21 Veronika Kudermetova.

Later Friday, No. 2 seed Iga Swiatek of Poland can clinch the world’s No. 1 ranking if she defeats Viktorija Golubic of Switzerland in a second-round match. It’s Swiatek’s first match of the tournament; she, like all seeds, got a bye into the second round.

Swiatek would be assured of moving into the No. 1 spot because Ashleigh Barty, who had held the top spot until her retirement announcement earlier this week, has asked to be removed from the next set of rankings. The updated list will come out after the Miami Open concludes.

“We’re going to definitely miss Ash on tour,” Gauff said.

In men’s second-round play Friday, No. 10 Cameron Norrie improved to 12-2 in his past 14 outings by beating fellow British player Jack Draper in straight sets. No. 17 Pablo Carreno Busta and No. 31 Fabio Fognini also prevailed.

Hugo Gaston knocked out No. 20 John Isner of the U.S., topping the 2018 Miami champion 7-6 (5), 6-4. Isner had 22 aces and was broken just once, but went 0 for 5 on his break chances.

U.S. sweeps Uzbekistan, advances to group stage in Davis Cup

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The United States swept its way into the group stage of the Davis Cup Finals, getting the winning point in a 4-0 victory over Uzbekistan from the doubles team of Rajeev Ram and Austin Krajicek.

They beat Sergey Fomin and Sanjar Fayziev 6-2, 6-4, after Tommy Paul and Mackenzie McDonald had won singles matches in Tashkent.

Ram is No. 3 in the ATP Tour doubles rankings and partnered with Joe Salisbury to win the last two U.S. Open men’s doubles titles. But the Americans opted not to use Ram last year in the final round, when they dropped the doubles match in a 2-1 defeat against Italy in the quarterfinals.

Krajicek was making his Davis Cup debut, having reached No. 9 in the doubles rankings late last year.

“They had five great days of preparation, and as anticipated they came out really sharp and got the early break in the first set. And after that it was like two freight trains, there was no stopping them,” interim captain David Nainkin said.

Denis Kudla then beat Amir Milushev 6-4, 6-4.

The winners of the 12 qualifiers being held this weekend advance to the Davis Cup Finals group stage in September, along with reigning champion Canada, 2022 runner-up Australia and wild-card recipients Italy and Spain.

Eight teams will advance to the closing matches of the Davis Cup Finals scheduled for Nov. 21-26 in Malaga, Spain.

In other matches:

France 3, Hungary 2: On indoor hard courts in Tatabanya, Hungary, Ugo Humbert won it for the French with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Fabian Marozsan. Adrian Mannarino had forced the deciding match by beating Marton Fucsovics 7-6 (6), 6-2.

Serbia 4, Norway 0: On indoor hard courts in Oslo, the visitors, playing without top-ranked Novak Djokovic, put away the match when Filip Krajinovic and Nikola Cacic edged Viktor Durasovic and Herman Hoeyeraal 6-4, 3-6, 6-3. Hamad Medjedovic then outlasted Durasovic 6-4, 6-7, 10-4.

Sweden 3, Bosnia 1: On indoor hard courts in Stockholm, Mikael Ymer sent the hosts through by beating Damir Dzumhur 6-1, 1-6, 6-3.

Lesia Tsurenko to face Zhu Lin in Thailand Open final

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HUA HIN, Thailand — Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine reached her first final in four years after the top-seeded Bianca Andreescu retired with a shoulder injury during their semifinal match at the Thailand Open.

Tsurenko, in search of her fifth WTA title, was leading the 2019 U.S. Open champion 7-5, 4-0 when the Canadian stopped playing.

The former world No. 23 fought from 3-5 down to take the first set and reeled off eight straight games before Andreescu retired with a right shoulder problem.

“Bianca is such an amazing player. She is capable of hitting all kinds of shots and gave so much trouble today,” said the 33-year-old Tsurenko, now ranked 136th. “But I was just fighting and I told myself positive things that I can do it. Unfortunately, she had to retire.”

The Ukrainian last lifted a WTA trophy in Acapulco in 2018 and hasn’t been to a final since Brisbane in 2019.

She will face Zhu Lin of China in the final.

“She had some good wins in the Australian Open,” Tsurenko said. “She is one of the dangerous players in this tournament. She is going to give a good fight.”

In the all-Chinese semifinal earlier, Zhu benefited from a barrage of unforced errors from Wang Xinyu and prevailed 6-2, 6-4 for her first WTA final.

The world No. 54 player, who reached the last 16 at the Australian Open in January, relied on her solid baseline game to force errors.

“It was very windy, so I tried to be patient and keep my first serves in,” said the 29-year-old Zhu, who will team up with Wang in the doubles final against Hao-Ching Chan and Fang-Hsien Wu of Taiwan.