It’s time for the decisive matches at a major tournament in Miami. The girls have already identified both semi-final pairs, while the men have only one. Ukrainian Elina Svitolina, who remained the most highly rated tennis player by the quarter-final stage, failed to take full advantage of the failures of other favorites. At the very start, Simona Halep (third round) and Caroline Wozniacki (second) lost in Florida, and Garbinier Mugurusa lost in the fourth round with Sloane Stevens – 3: 6, 4: 6.
Azarenka brings back his tennis
Stevens’ transformation after winning the US Open is amazing. She lost eight matches in a row, but then began to rapidly add: the quarterfinals in Acapulco and at least the semi-finals in Miami. There was, however, the third round in Indian Wells, where Sloane lost to the future finalist Daria Kasatkina. In general, in North America, Stevens plays very differently. Over the past year, she has 22 wins in 27 matches on this continent, and in all other countries, she spent nine meetings and did not win a single one! After Sloane defeated Mugurusu, she beat Angelique Kerber even easier – 6: 1, 6: 2. Ahead is Victoria Azarenka, whom she met two weeks ago in Indian Wells and who won relatively confidently.
However, Azarenka herself notes, and the game confirms this, that in comparison with California, she added significantly. Victoria is approaching the tennis that allowed her to win two “Helmets” and become the first racket of the world. In the fourth round, she defeated Agnieszka Radwanska in beautiful style, playing perhaps the best match in two years. And in the quarterfinals, she left out of work Karolina Plishkova – 7: 5, 6: 3. Victoria is now excellent at moving around the court, which allows her to properly approach all the balls and do her favorite thing – systematically attack and drive her opponent in corners, striking from the back line. Perhaps, in the match with Plishkova, Victoria did not act as cleanly as against Radwanska, but the Czech woman herself made an impermissible many mistakes – 35 inaccuracies in an hour and a half of the game.
Elena Ostapenko and Daniel Collins were at the bottom of the bracket. Ostapenko met with Svitolina, who defeated Ashley Barty in the fourth round – 7: 5, 6: 4. The start of the match for the Ukrainian woman was not at all set. She acted rather passively and allowed Barty to attack and move forward. Nevertheless, Svitolina turned on on time and won five games in a row, losing 2: 5, and in the second set she managed to do without any special nerves. The next game – with Ostapenko – turned out to be much more nervous. The girls met for the second time: at last year’s Wimbledon, the Latvian won two stubborn sets. This time, the picture repeated itself to some extent.
Ostapenko’s attack defeated Svitolina’s defense
As expected, the girls acted in opposite styles. Elena was always charged for the attack, she won a lot herself, while making a lot of mistakes, and Elina made a bet on reliability and the game as number two. The Latvian woman came out ahead three times in this set, but Svitolina won back each time. So, losing 3: 5, she managed to take three games in a row, but she failed to repeat the trick that had passed with Barty. On the tie-break, Ostapenko immediately gained an advantage and was able to convert it.
Elina, who may have chosen too defensive tactics (she has only four hits in the first set against 23 in Ostapenko), started playing more attacking tennis in the second set. The first break-point she realized with a beautiful trick right through. If in the opening segment Ostapenko led three times with a break, then in the second one the Ukrainian took the lead three times. Nevertheless, it was not possible to keep the advantage. She did not apply for the set, but in a tie-break, having played four match points, she still lost in the fifth – it was Ostapenko’s blow through the left with a cross. Note that during the match her coach David Taylor came to Elena and asked her to continue playing in an attacking manner: “This is your game! You won the Roland Garros with 54 mistakes! But at the same time, you hit 54 times. ”
Collins was the opening of the tournament
This time the numbers turned out to be very similar : 44 winners and 42 inaccuracies. Elina, by the way, spent the second set much more actively – there were almost three times more blows through, but Ostapenko still won two tie-breaks: 7: 6 (3), 7: 6 (5). After the match, the Ukrainian admitted that during the game she experienced pain: “The pain periodically appeared and disappeared. Psychologically, I also was in the game, then turned off, did not focus at the right moments on the right things. But I had a strong rival, she did not miss these opportunities ”. Of course, Svitolina was counting on more, but in terms of points and rating, the tournament will still go a plus: last year she lost in Miami in the second round, and now she has reached the quarterfinals. The next time Elina should go to court at the end of April in Stuttgart. Before that, the Canada-Ukraine Federation Cup match will be held in Montreal, and so far Svitolina has not decided whether she will take part in it.
Ostapenko then he will play with the main opening of the tournament – Daniel Collins. The Florida native became the first tennis player in qualifying ever to reach the semi-finals! A month ago, she did not have any victories at the WTA level at all (we do not take into account the WTA-125), but first she shot in Indian Wells (quarterfinals), and now she is holding the main tournament in her career in Miami. Collins scored three consecutive three-set victories over Coco Vandevey, Donna Vekich and Monica Puig, and on Wednesday she beat the top 10 tennis player Venus Williams for the first time! Yes, Venus made a lot of mistakes and showed a very average tennis, but we note the character of Collins, who was not taken aback in the huge stadium in the match against the big champion. Daniel won quite convincingly (6: 2, 6: 3) and will now try to create another sensation in the match with Ostapenko.
Del Potro – in two victories from Sunshine Double
In the men’s category, it will not work to call anyone the opening of the tournament. Borna Coric has the lowest number of the remaining competitors, but in California two weeks ago he reached the semifinals, so his breakthrough in Miami should not be surprising. Coric had six consecutive meetings out of three sets, and in general since February he played 14 matches and won 12! In the 1/8 finals, he snatched victory from Denis Shapovalov in a beautiful and interesting match, and now he has to play with another young talent – Alexander Zverev. The German, who at the beginning of the season looked completely unconvincing, now seems to be finding his form. He parted ways with coach Juan Carlos Ferrero and accused him of creating an unfavorable atmosphere within the team. Perhaps nothing is bothering Zverev now.
But the main favorite to win is Juan Martin del Potro, who is two matches away from the Sunshine Double (winning two major tournaments in the USA). The Argentine has already won 15 games in a row, although Milos Raonic was only two points away from success in the quarterfinals. Juan Martin played below his capabilities, but still snatched a victory in character – 5: 7, 7: 6 (1), 7: 6 (3). At the same time, Milos’s coach Goran Ivanisevic allowed himself to reproach del Potro during the match: “Del Potro acts like he’s injured. He walks slowly … In general, he is a master of this behavior. In Indian Wells, he did something similar in the game with Milos. “.
Now the Argentine has a match with another master of serving – John Isner. The American is in the shadow of the big stars, but at the same time, it is he, as strange as it may sound, is the most successful player in the Masters-1000 in the last 52 weeks! Only he has four semifinals in this segment. Neither Federer, nor Nadal, nor anyone else can boast of such a thing. Isner really has a lot of semifinals – already 11, and so far there are only three finals, but there are no titles at all. Given del Potro’s fatigue, John’s chances look good. This match will take place on Friday, and the participants of the second semi-final will be determined on Thursday: Zverev will play against Coric, and Pablo Careño Busta will play against Kevin Anderson.