In the opening men's singles matches at Miami Open on Sunday, four seeds have booked the place in the last 16, including the defending champion John Isner. Just like in the previous match against Lorenzo Sonego, the American had to work hard to notch a 7-5, 7-6 victory over Albert Ramos-Vinolas in an hour and 53 minutes, avenging a tough three-tie break defeat to the Spaniard in Rome last year.
John lost 18 points in 12 service games, fending off four out of five break points and stealing 36% of the return points, enough for two breaks from four chances. Isner blasted 49 winners and 36 unforced errors, dominating in the shortest rallies up to four strokes to forge the win and stay on the title course despite a poor start.
Ramos-Vinolas broke at 15 in the very first game of the match after a wild forehand from John who pulled the break back in game four with a perfect forehand winner. The American saved a break point in the next game with a service winner and had no troubles at all behind the initial shot in the rest of the set, taking it with a break at 15 in game 12 for a 7-5 after 53 minutes.
Facing an ultimate challenge at 2-2 in set number two that could have cost him a lot, John repelled three break points with winners, setting up a tie break and saving a set point at 5-6 with an ace. Another booming serve pushed Isner 7-6 up and he moved over the top after a colossal forehand error from a left-hander in the 14th point, winning the last three points to notch the 116th Masters 1000 win.
John will now face the Briton Kyle Edmund who took down the 12th seed Milos Raonic 6-4, 6-4 in an hour and 33 minutes. Raonic again had some physical troubles, losing serve once in each set and failing to make an impression on the return to end his campaign in the third round and send Kyle into the last 16.
The younger player had 18 winners and 15 unforced errors, halting Milos to just eight aces and beating him in the shortest and mid-range exchanges to seal the deal in straight sets. Edmund was in the zone on serve right from the start, waiting for a chance on the return patiently and seizing it in game five when Raonic netted a forehand.
Serving for the set at 5-4, the Briton landed a forehand winner to wrap up the opener, eager for more of the same in the rest of the encounter. Despite some issues, Milos fought well in set number two until 4-4 when Kyle broke him at love with an impressive defense, completing the triumph with a forehand winner in game ten and preparing for Isner clash.
The 17th seed Nikoloz Basilashvili toppled Robin Haase 7-6, 6-3 in an hour and 33 minutes, advancing into the last 16 at Masters 1000 series for the second time in a career. The Georgian fired 14 aces and saved four out of five break points, staying focused in the opening set tie break and sailing through the service games in set number two before breaking Haase at 4-3, cementing the victory with a hold at love for his by far the best result in Miami so far.
In the battle of the seeds, Roberto Bautista Agut claimed the 13th triumph of the season, ousting the 15th seed Fabio Fognini 6-4, 6-4 in an hour and 24 minutes after a better performance in the crucial moments. Fabio did get three breaks but that wasn't enough for a more favorable result, suffering five breaks of serve and squandering the lead in set number two to continue the mediocre run in 2019 so far.
The Italian had more winners but also more unforced errors, unable to overpower the Spaniard in the mid-range and most extended rallies after spraying 20 unforced errors from his forehand alone! The opening set was quick and fluid and Bautista Agut won four straight points on the return in game two to force an early lead, leading 5-2 and serving for the set at 5-3.
Out of sudden, Fabio broke back with a backhand down the line winner, prolonging the set but as it turned out only for one more game, losing serve at love in game ten to hand the opener to Bautista Agut following a wild forehand that landed miles away from the court.
The second set kicked off with back-to-back breaks and Fognini gained another one in game five to forge a 4-2 advantage that he wasted when Roberto fired a forehand winner in the eighth game to break back at love and gain the momentum.
The Spaniard held at love with a service winner to move ahead and crossed the finish line with another break in game ten after a loose forehand from Fognini.