WTA Miami: Radwanska sees off Halep! Azarenka overpowers Sevastova


WTA Miami: Radwanska sees off Halep! Azarenka overpowers Sevastova
WTA Miami: Radwanska sees off Halep! Azarenka overpowers Sevastova

2012 Miami champion Agnieszka Radwanska will play in the fourth round after a solid 3-6 6-2 6-3 win over world number 1 Simona Halep in an hour and 44 minutes. This was their 11th meeting, the first after more than a year and a half and Agnieszka notched her sixth win, coming from a set down to oust a great rival and move into the last 16.

There were 12 breaks in total and the Pole took opponent's serve seven times from 11 chances to cross the finish line first despite the fact she was a break down in the final set. Just like against Osaka at Indian Wells, Simona played well below her level, struggling on the second serve and making too many errors.

She did manage to grab five breaks from six chances she created but it wasn't enough after all, losing ground in the decider after an initial lead. Halep opened the match with breaks of serve in games two and four for a 4-1 lead but Radwanska reduced the gap to 4-3 when Simona sent a forehand wide in game seven to lose her serve.

Nonetheless, the Pole had no rhythm in her games and Halep broke her again in game eight to move 5-3 up, closing the opening set with a service winner in game nine. Radwanska raised her level in set number two, scoring breaks in games two, four and eight for a 6-2, pushing the match to the distance.

She created a set point with a return winner at 5-2 and the set was in her hands after a terrible forehand from Halep at the net. Fortune turned again at the start of the decider and Simona broke at love in the first game with a magical running winner at the net.

Agnieszka stayed calm and she broke back in game four with a forehand winner, shifting the momentum to her side of the net. Both players missed a break point in the next couple of games and the crucial moment happened in game eight when Halep netted an easy forehand to drop her serve and let Radwanska serve for the win.

The Pole delivered a nice hold to cross the finish line and celebrate her biggest win in recent months, posting back-to-back wins for the first time since January. Radwanska will play three-time champion Vika Azarenka, who became in 2016 the third woman (after Graf in 1994 and 1996, and Clijsters in 2005) to achieve the "Sunshine Double".

The former No.1 continued her bid to equal the best result for a wild-card in Miami, the semifinal Justine Henin reached in 2010. The former world No.1, who dismissed Americans Bellis and Keys (via retirement) in the opening two rounds, completed a 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 win over Anastasia Sevastova to improve to 33-6 her win-loss record here in Miami in main draw matches.

Coming off her best win-by-rank since upsetting No.3 Kerber here in the semifinals two years ago, Azarenka managed to register at least two wins against Top 20 opponents since that historical tournament. In her second overall clash against a Latvian opponent after beating at ITF level Dekmeijere in 2005, she hit 33 winners in the match to Sevastova's 20 and needed seven set points to force the match to a decider.

Sevastova, who broke twice in the opening set against an error-prone Belarusian, was bidding to reach the round 16 for the fourth time at a Premier Mandatory event after 2018 Indian Wells (l. Venus Williams in R16), 2017 Madrid (l.

eventual champion Halep in the semifinals) and 2010 Beijing (l. Li in the quarter-finals). She fought fiercely and missed a break point in the opening game of the third set but Azarenka broke twice to open a decisive 5-1 lead behind multiple forehand winners to reach her 78th WTA main draw win in a third-setter.

Last year's semifinalist Pliskova, making her sixth consecutive appearance at Miami, won a tricky match against Su-Wei Hsieh, playing her maiden third-round match at Premier Mandatory level. Hsieh, who won more main draw matches this season than in all 2017, completed a one-sided second set but only delayed a 6-4, 1-6, 7-6(4) defeat.

Pliskova hasn't lost to a player ranked outside Top 50 since her shocking defeat to No.87 Rybarikova at 2017 Wimbledon, less than two weeks before climbing to the world No.1 for the first time. The Czech, one of five Top 10 players to have remained in this same elite group from last year’s tournament, celebrated her 26th birthday on Wednesday.

And clinched as a present the 21st win in a final-set tiebreak to serve out her tenth third-round match at Premier Mandatory level. Hsieh, who beat qualifier Boulter and No.32 seed Cirstea to claim her first consecutive main draw wins since the round-16 run at Australian Open run this January, was bidding for her third Top 10 win, after beating No.3 Muguruza at 2018 Australian Open and No.8 Konta at 2017 Roland Garros.

Second-oldest of four players aged 30 or over remained in the main draw, one of 14 competitors ranked outside the Top 50 to reach the third round, Hsieh came back from a break down in the decider as she saved three match points with Pliskova serving at 5-3 up.

The world No.6 missed three more match points but Hsieh battled back and forced a tiebreak. Again Pliskova went 5-1 up and converted her seventh match point. She will now play Zarina Diyas to clinch her second quarterfinal in Miami. Third round results:


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Karolina Pliskova Su-Wei Hsieh Carina Witthoeft