Maxime Cressy beats John Isner in Hall of Fame semifinals

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NEWPORT, R.I. — Fourth-seeded Maxime Cressy ended John Isner’s 10-match winning streak on Newport’s grass courts, beating the fellow American 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 to advance to the Hall of Fame Open final.

Cressy will face No. 3 seed Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan. Bublik beat Jason Kubler of Australia 6-3, 6-2 in the other semifinal.

The matches were played before former Australian player Lleyton Hewitt was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame during a ceremony on the side courts. Hewitt was elected into the Hall for the 2021 class, but due to travel restrictions because of the COVID-19 pandemic he was unable to travel for last year’s ceremony. There was no class elected for 2022.

In a rematch of the opening round of the Australian Open when Cressy rallied from two sets down to beat the four-time Newport champ, Cressy broke twice in the opening set.

“I personally love to return big serves,” he said. “I love when the ball comes fast to my racket.”

But the strangest point came when Cressy broke to go up 5-3 in the final set.

Cressy hit a lob, Isner, 37, charged the net, but the ball bounced back over to Cressy’s side before the 6-foot-10 Isner could reach it for the game’s final point.

Second-seeded Isner seemed somewhat shocked by the result and there was a long buzz in the stands.

“It was definitely a strange feeling,” Cressy said. “I really did not believe that I broke him at the moment, that the ball did come back on my side. I was like: ‘Did I break?” When I heard it was, I couldn’t believe it. It was hard to move on and really be focused.”

Cressy fell behind 15-40 in the final game before the 1 hour, 51-minute match ended when Isner barely got his racket on a forehand return as the ball bounced away.

Cressy is looking to win his first career ATP title after entering week ranked 41st in the world.

“My goal for this season was to be top 10,” he said. “I really believe the momentum is carrying me that way.”

In the other semi, Bublik, 25, a 2019 Newport finalist, is looking for his second career ATP title after winning at Montpellier this year.

“I think its great to play in any ATP final,” he said. “It’s good for the history, for your own career.”

Coco Gauff, Jessica Pegula reach Miami Open 3rd round

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MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Sixth-seeded Coco Gauff opened her 2023 Miami Open with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Rebecca Marino and advanced to the third round where she will face 27th-seeded Anastasia Potapova.

After her victory, Gauff, coming off a quarterfinals appearance at Indian Wells, said in a television interview that it wasn’t her best outing, despite converting five of her nine break points.

“It was a shaky performances honestly,” Gauff said. “I knew it wasn’t going to be a straight forward match, even if I was up a break sometimes.”

Gauff came back from a break down twice in the second set to claim her second career win versus Marino. Gauff defeated Marino in the first round at Roland Garros in 2022.

Gauff said she was a bit nervous playing in her hometown – she’s a native of Delray Beach, Florida, a small city about 40 miles north of Hard Rock Stadium, where the tournament is played. Jimmy Butler of the Miami Heat was among those in attendance Thursday.

“Jimmy Butler is here so I was a little bit nervous when I saw him,” Gauff said with a laugh in her post-match interview. “Playing home is something I look forward to, but it’s also a little bit of extra pressure because everyone wants you to do well here.”

Gauff’s doubles teammate, world No. 3 Jessica Pegula beat Katherine Sebov 6-3, 6-1 and advanced to the third round. She will face fellow American and No. 30 Danielle Collins next. Collins defeated Viktoriya Tomova on Thursday.

Pegula made the Miami Open semifinals in 2022 and is among the favorites to win the tournament this year after No. 1-ranked and defending champion Iga Swiatek pulled out of the tournament because of a rib injury.

No. 21 Paula Badosa won 7-6(2), 4-6, 6-2 against Laura Siegemund in a match that lasted two hours and 51 minutes. Badosa will face either Elena Rybakina, who defeated Badosa en route to the Indian Wells title, or Anna Kalinskaya.

Badosa hit with a ball kid during the match to stay warm after Siegemund called for a medical timeout and left the court for treatment, which took nearly 15 minutes.

In other action, Elise Mertens eliminated No. 8 seed Daria Kasatkina 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 to advance and face No. 29 Petra Martic next; No. 23 Qinwen Zheng picked up a 2-6, 6-1, 6-1 win over Irina-Camelia Begu; and No. 13 seed Beatriz Haddad Maia defeated Tereza Martincová 7-6 (4), 0-6, 6-0.

Raducanu, Stephens, Murray lose in first round at Miami Open

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MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – Former U.S. Open champions Emma Raducanu and Sloane Stephens were knocked out of the Miami Open hours after No. 1-ranked and defending champion Iga Swiatek pulled out of the tournament because of a rib injury.

Bianca Andreescu – the 2019 U.S. Open champ – defeated Raducanu 6-3, 3-6, 6-2. Andreescu improved to 2-0 lifetime against Raducanu, the 2021 winner at Flushing Meadows.

“Miami has a special place in my heart,” Andreescu said. “I’ve been coming here since I was I think 12 years old, whether it’s for vacation or training or, yeah, Orange Bowl. I love that tournament very much. Yeah, coming back here, I think it’s just good vibes overall.”

Andreescu moves on to face 10th-ranked Maria Sakkari, who had a first-round bye.

Shelby Rogers beat Stephens 6-4, 3-6, 6-2. Stephens has six hard-court titles, including the U.S. Open in 2017 and Miami in 2018.

Rogers will face Australian Open champion and world No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka, who beat Rogers in the second round at Melbourne Park. Sabalenka is coming off a loss in the final at Indian Wells, California, last week.

On the men’s side, Dusan Lajovic beat three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray 6-4, 7-5.

“I served pretty well, but the rest of the game was a bit of a problem today,” the 35-year-old Murray said. “Made a number of errors that obviously I wouldn’t expect to be making. I didn’t really feel like I moved particularly well, which is really important for me.”

Lajovic, a 32-year-old Serbian, will face Maxime Cressy, who had a first-round bye.

Swiatek withdrew because of a rib injury that she is hoping will heal during a break from competition. The 21-year-old from Poland also will sit out her country’s Billie Jean King Cup qualifier matches against Kazakhstan on April 13-14.

“I wanted to wait ’til the last minute” to decide whether to play in Miami, Swiatek said at a news conference at the site of the hard-court tournament that began Tuesday. “We were kind of checking if this is the kind of injury you can still play with or this is kind when you can get things worse. So I think the smart move for me is to pull out of this tournament because I want to rest and take care of it properly.”

In other action, 24-year-old American J.J. Wolf defeated Alexander Bublik 7-5, 6-3. He’ll face No. 7-ranked Andrey Rublev, who had a first-round bye.

Gael Monfils retired from his match against Ugo Humbert due to a persistent wrist injury.