Mondays with Bob Greene
Miami Open, first week
Jared Donaldson won when third-seeded Milos Raonic withdrew from their match because of injury
Borna Coric beat fifth-seeded Dominic Thiem 6-1 7-5
Mirjana Lucic-Baroni beat fifth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska 6-0 6-3
Bethanie Mattek-Sands beat ninth-seeded Elina Svitolina 7-5 6-4
Guido Pello beat ninth-seeded Grigor Dimitrov 6-3 7-6 (4)
“A win is a win. I don’t wish to have matches this tough every day, but I’m very happy with the way I’m facing them.” – Garbiñe Muguruza, after beating Zhang Shuai in three long sets.
“I want to get everything better, form movement to shot selection, shot technique, improve my serve. … Physically I want to be stronger. I want to work smart to prevent injuries. Overall, I’m always looking to improve.” – Victoria Azarenka, who is planning to return to the tennis tour this summer.
“He makes it look so easy. That’s what’s so frightening.” – Tommy Haas, on Roger Federer’s game.
“Luckily, I’m strong enough and stubborn enough, and patient enough, that I was waiting for my opportunities. That’s why I’m here at (age) 35.” – Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, explaining her remarkable year that saw her reach the Australian Open semifinals.
For the second time this year Agnieszka Radwanska has had to play Mirjana Lucic-Baroni. And for the second time this year, Lucic-Baroni has come away the winner. “She was playing unbelievable tennis today,” Radwanska said after losing to Lucic-Baron 6-0 6-3. “She was very solid from the beginning, very aggressive, hitting everything with unbelievable speed. I couldn’t do much.” Lucic-Baroni also beat Radwanska at the Australian Open in January. Radwanska was seeded fifth at the Miami Open, Lucic-Baroni 26th. “She was just too good today,” Radwanska said. This is the fifth consecutive tournament that Radwanska has failed to win at least two matches. Since reaching the final of the Shenzhen Open in January, Radwanska has posted a 4-5 record.
Guido Pella? The Argentine pulled off a stunning second-round shocker at the Miami Open when he knocked off ninth-seeded Grigor Dimitrov 6-3 7-6 (4). It was the first time Pella, ranked 158th in the world, has beaten a player ranked in the Top 15 since he felled John Isner at the Rio Open in February 2016 when the American was ranked 11th. Dimitrov struggled throughout the nearly two-hour match, finishing with 38 unforced errors against only 18 winners. Nerves got to Pella and he double faulted on his first match point while leading 6-3 in the second-set tiebreak. But Dimitrov sailed a backhand wide on the next point to give Pella the victory.
Rafael Nadal struggled at the start before making sure his 1,000th career match was yet another victory. The Spaniard lost the opening set to Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-0, just the 14th time in his career he was bageled in a set. The fifth-seeded Nadal went on to win 0-6 6-2 6-3. Nadal is the 11th played in the Open Era to play in 1,000 singles matches, including ATP World Tour, Grand Slam, Davis Cup and WCT events. Jimmy Connors leads with 1,535 matches played, while Roger Federer, at 1,340, is second on the list, followed by Ivan Lendl (1,310), Guillermo Vilas (1,215) and Andre Agassi (1,144). The only other active player on the list is another Spaniard, David Ferrer, who is ninth at 1,034.
According to his brother, top-ranked Andy Murray could miss next week’s Davis Cup because of injury. Jamie Murray said Andy is suffering from a “tear in the elbow.” There is a possibility Murray, who pulled out of this week’s Miami Open citing an injury to his right elbow, won’t return to competition until the Madrid Masters in six weeks. “He said he can do everything except serve, and he told me rest was all he had to do,” Jamie Murray said of his brother. “I am not planning that he is going to be there (in Rouen, France, next week when Britain takes on France in a Davis Cup World Group quarterfinal tie). If he is, then obviously great for the team and we’ll see what happens. But the most important thing for him is just to get healthy because he has had a few issues now.” This year Andy Murray has suffered from shingles, the elbow and with the flu.
SHE’S COMING BACK
Now that she’s given birth to a boy, Leo, Victoria Azarenka is preparing to return to the WTA tour. Azarenka told Tennis Channel that she also has a new coach, Michael Joyce, the long-time coach and hitting partner to Maria Sharapova. “My goal now is to be ready for summer, the US Open Series, and we’ll see where it goes, the former world number one said. “This is realistically where I want to start. … I don’t want to rush anything. I’ve done it before after injuries and it didn’t work out well.” Azarenka won the Australian Open in 2012 and 2013. She began last year by winning three of four tournaments, including Indian Wells and Miami, before announcing she was taking off to give birth to her baby.
Hong Kong forfeited its second-round Davis Cup tie against Pakistan, citing security concerns. The International Tennis Federation (ITF) said it “regrets and respectfully disagrees” with the decision to withdraw from the Asian/Oceania Zone Group match. The Davis Cup committee had ruled that the Pakistan Sports Complex in Islamabad could hold the April 7-9 second-round tie. Pakistan hosted a first-round tie against Iran in February. The ITF said the Internal Adjudication Panel will consider Hong Kong’s default “to determine whether a breach has been committed.” Pakistan advances to the third round where it will face the winner of the second-round tie between the Philippines and Thailand.
Third-seeded Milos Raonic withdrew from the Miami Open prior to his third-round match because of a hamstring injury. “It’s related to the previous injury I sustained almost four weeks ago, if not a little bit more than four weeks ago, in Delray Beach,” Raonic said. “It’s the same muscle in the hamstring up high. It got progressively worse after my first round, after practicing yesterday, and it seemed like it was not possible for me to compete today without putting myself at significant risk.” The walk-over gave American Jared Donaldson a spot in the Miami Open Round of 16.
Younes El Aynaoui played in a Futures event, which is an oxymoron. The 45-year-old Moroccan won three matches before losing to a player 25 years his junior. Viktor Durasovic won the Bahrain F1 Futures second-round match 7-6 (2) 6-4 in Manama, Bahrain. El Aynaoui won two qualifying matches to enter the main draw of the USD $15,000 tournament, then captured his first-round match. They were his first wins at a professional level since he reached the second round of the ATP event in Doha, Qatar, seven years ago. El Aynaoui reached four Grand Slam tournament quarterfinals and was ranked as high as 14th in the world in 2003. That was the year he reached the Australian Open quarterfinals by defeating then world number one Lleyton Hewitt in four sets before losing to Andy Roddick 21-19 in the fifth set of a match that lasted over five hours. El Aynaoui was in Manama to coach several players in the Futures event and was given a wild card into the qualifying by tournament organizers.
SWITCH IN WORKS?
Stephen Ross, owner of the Miami Dolphins National Football League team, reportedly wants to build a tennis complex adjacent to Hard Rock Stadium and move the Miami Open tennis tournament from Key Biscayne to Miami Gardens. Ross and Tom Garfinkel, president of the Dolphins and Hard Rock Stadium, have met with Miami Open executive to discuss their plan. According to reports, they would build a stadium court inside the football stadium for marquee matches, a smaller permanent grandstand stadium, permanent match courts and permanent practice courts. The proposal would be privately funded.
Davis Cup: www.daviscup.com/en/
TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK
MEN and WOMEN
Miami Open presented by Itaú, Miami, Florida, USA (second week)
TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK
$710,900 Volvo Car Open, Charleston, South Carolina, USA, clay
$226,750 Abierto Monterrey, Monterrey, Mexico, hard
World Group Quarterfinals
Belgium vs. Italy at Charleroi, Belgium, hard
Australia vs. United States at Brisbane, Australia, hard
France vs. Great Britain at Rouen, France, clay
Serbia vs. Spain at Belgrade, Serbia, hard
Americas Zone, Second Round: Ecuador vs. Brazil at Ambato, Ecuador, clay; Colombia vs. Chile at Medellin, Colombia, clay
Asia/Oceania Zone, Second Round: Kazakhstan vs. China at Astana, Kazakhstan, clay; India vs. Uzbekistan at Bangalore, India, hard
Asia/Oceania Zone Relegation Playoff: New Zealand vs. Korea at Auckland, New Zealand, hard
Europe/Africa Zone, Second Round: Bosnia/Herzegovina vs. Netherlands at Zenica, Bosnia/Herzegovina, hard; Belarus vs. Austria at Minsk, Belarus, hard; Portugal vs. Ukraine at Portugal, clay
Americas Zone, Second Round: Barbados vs. Guatemala at St. Michael, Barbados, hard; Venezuela vs. El Salvador at Miami, Florida, USA, hard
Americas Zone, Relegation Playoff: Mexico vs. Paraguay at Zapopan, Mexico, hard; Bolivia vs. Bahamas at Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, clay
Asia/Oceania Zone, Second Round: Thailand vs. Philippines at Nonthaburi, Thailand, hard
Asia/Oceania Zone, Relegation Playoff: Iran vs. Vietnam at Isfahan, Iran, clay; Indonesia vs. Kuwait at Solo, Indonesia, hard
Europe/Africa Zone, Second Round: Turkey vs. Sweden at Antalya, Turkey, clay; Georgia vs. Lithuania at Tbilisi, Georgia, hard; Norway vs. Denmark at Stavanger, Norway, hard; South Africa vs. Slovenia at Centurion, South Africa, hard
Europe/Africa Zone, Relegation Playoff: Cyprus vs. Tunisia at Nicosia, Cyprus, hard; Finland vs. Madagascar at Hanko, Finland, hard; Morocco vs. Latvia at Marrakech, Morocco, clay; Estonia vs. Monaco at Tallinn, Estonia, hard