The Americans won all four ranks
American domination. Representatives of the host country won in all four categories of the tournament in Miami. Only in one category – women’s doubles – the Australian (Ashley Barty) joined the American champion (Coco Vandevey). For the first time since 1985 (and it was then that the first tournament was held), representatives of the United States won in all categories. To some extent, this is symbolic, because the 2018 draw was the last in Crandon Park, and the local athletes finally made the audience happy. It should be noted that all four victories were unexpected in their own way, even the success of the Brian brothers, who won everything they could in a pair. They won their 115th (!!!) ATP title, but the first since August 2017. Now Bob and Mike are no longer the strongest duo in the world, in Miami the brothers were seeded at number four, but in a difficult fight (they had to hold three championship tie-breaks) they still won the fifth title in Florida.
With regard to singles, it is rather difficult to determine whose victory – John Isner or Sloane Stevens – became more sensational. We have already written that Stevens in the US and abroad are two different players. In Miami, Sloane won three of the first four matches very easily, and she unexpectedly had difficulties only with the viscous Monica Niculescu, who almost never makes mistakes and returns all the balls to the wrong side. In the semifinals, the American played with Victoria Azarenka, and here no one expected an easy match. Moreover, many considered Azarenka to be the favorite, who found her tennis in Florida.
Stevens is transforming in the USA
The girls played for two weeks back in Indian Wells, and then Stevens won in two sets, largely due to the fact that the Belarusian made a lot of mistakes. This time, Victoria played better and even won the first set, although after the game she admitted that she did not feel the best. “Honestly, I didn’t feel very well during the whole match. I was kind of slow. Only in the first set I was fresher and approached the ball at the right moments, and later I just stopped, and Sloane took advantage of it ”, – explained the Belarusian. Indeed, in the second and third games she did not do much, and Stevens made it to the finals – 3: 6, 6: 2, 6: 1.
Her rival in the final was Elena Ostapenko, who stopped the main opening of this tournament – Daniel Collins. Collins, who herself likes to play number one and attack, was forced to essentially go about her business. In the first game, she had good chances, but still Ostapenko won in two sets – 7: 6 (1), 6: 3. And the final, unfortunately, by and large did not work out. Elena did not play in the best way the day before, and on Saturday her game did not go at all. Ostapenko’s main problem is that there is no plan “B” in her game: if attacking strikes are not coming, then, as a rule, she cannot switch to something else. Stevens, who in the first set struck three blows through and made 14 mistakes, managed to win it. This says a lot about the quality of tennis. And in the second game, Ostapenko lost sight of her, and in a short one and a half hour match she made 48 inaccuracies. Sloane won 7-6 (5), 6-1 and her first title in Premier 5 and Premier Mandatory. Even more impressive are her finals statistics: 6-0!
Del Potro did not have enough for the third consecutive tournament
John Isner had very different numbers before the final on Sunday: 12-12. Curiously, Isner is doing everything in series: three consecutive victories in the finals from January 2014 to July 2015, three consecutive defeats from August 2015 to November 2016, and now three victories again. Everyone knows that John knows how to play hard, especially at home, but recently the American did not please his fans, so there was no reason to believe that he would show himself in Miami. Doubts were added by his first match with Jiri Vesely, which he won in only three sets. However, this was Isner’s only misfire before the final. Mikhail Youzhny, Marin Chilich, Chon Hyun and Juan Martin del Potro – no one could beat John a single set.
The most surprising result of the semi-final with del Potro. The Argentinian was in great shape, won 15 matches in a row, but he frankly gorged himself on tennis. Apparently, he left all his strength in a three-hour battle with Milos Raonic, and with John he failed to show his best tennis. In the first game, del Potro did not hit a single blow at all! Probably, this happened to him for the first time in his career. Isner took the upper hand 6: 1, 7: 6 (2) and advanced to his fourth final of the Masters-1000 tournament. He lost three previous ones, but the rivals were like a rebound – Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray. This time the opponent was also very difficult – Alexander Zverev.
Isner’s debut success at Masters-1000
As we said, del Potro ran out of steam after the exhausting quarterfinal with Raonic, and Zverev took advantage of the fatigue of Pablo Carreno-Busta, who with great difficulty defeated Kevin Anderson – 6: 4, 5: 7, 7: 6 (8: 6) … Pablo could have won much earlier, but when the score was 6: 4, 5: 4, he did not realize a double matchball on his serve. Anderson miraculously won the second set, and in the third he already got his matchball in a tie-break, but at that moment it was time for the South African himself to worry. He played very badly in the next three draws and for the 10th time in a row (!) Lost in the quarterfinals of the Masters-1000 tournament. He did not manage to get to the semifinals. And the Spaniard won only a second victory in 23 matches against players from the top 20. True, he fought on equal terms with Zverev only in the first set – 6: 7 (4), 2: 6.
The final turned out to be stubborn and equal. Isner approached the decisive match with a streak of 37 consecutive innings taken, while all the time he had to play only one break point. Zverev had three break points, but Isner’s streak remained unbroken. John looked better in the first set, and Alexander, it seems, was a little out of the game. Nevertheless, the German played all five break points and was stronger in the tie-break. In the second and third sets, the games themselves were not so stubborn, and the pattern of both parties turned out to be the same: Isner made a break with the score 4: 4 in both cases and first successfully served for the set, and then for the match – 6: 7 (4), 6: 4, 6: 4. At 32 years and 11 months, John became the oldest player to make his debut victory in the Masters 1000 tournament. He is also the first player in six years to win both singles and doubles at the Masters in a single season (he won with Jack Sock at Indian Wells). “To win in front of our native tribunes and in such an incredible atmosphere … It’s amazing. Such emotions cannot be replaced by anything “, – said the joyful champion.
This was the last draw of the tournament in Miami at Crandon Park. The next tournament will be held in Miami Gardens at the Hard Rock Stadium. The American series is already over for many, but Charleston and Monterrey will host WTA tournaments this week and the men will play Davis Cup matches at the end of the week.