Coco Gauff To Play Miami Open

15-year-old American phenom Coco Gauff will make her first WTA-level appearance in the Miami Open. Gauff, who recently finaled in an ITF pro event in Arizona, has won the Orange Bowl and French Open juniors.

Gauff has been granted a wildcard into the Miami Open main draw, along with seven other women, including Mari Osaka, the older sister of World No.1 Naomi Osaka, Caty McNally, Olga Danilovic, Wang Xinyu, Wang Xiyu, Whitney Osuigwe, and Natalia Vikhlyantseva.

On the men’s side David Ferrer, 36, has been awarded a wild card and will make his final Miami Open appearance. The Spaniard, who will retire later this year in Madrid, first played the Miami Open in 2003, losing in the first round. Other men receiving wildcards into the main draw include Miomir Kecmanovic, Nicola Kuhn, Tseng-Chung Hsin and Chris Eubanks.

The Miami Open will be contested this year at the Miami Dolphins football stadium, a fifteen mile move from the former site at Crandon Park on Key Biscayne. Early reports are that the new venue is looking fantastic and ticket sales are up about 20%. Dozens of players are already on site practicing.

Unfortunately Yoshihito Nishioka has decided to pull out of the tournament to rest his back injury which he suffered playing Miomir Kecmanovic in Indian Wells. Nishioka will try to be ready to play Houston.


  • Scoop Malinowski · March 15, 2019 at 10:58 am

    Gauff could do some damage in Miami, this could be a major breakout. We will surely keep an eye on her matches. Osuigwe is also poised for a breakout, she is just 16 and already, very quietly, ranked just outside 200. This is a big chance for these two young phenom talents. I think one or maybe even both will step up and make headlines in Miami.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 15, 2019 at 11:00 am

    Mari Osaka is also an intersting player. She extended Andreescu to three sets late last year in an ITF. She is ranked inside the top 300 but she doens’t have experience in the big events, she’s been a career minor leaguer.

  • Dan Markowitz · March 15, 2019 at 1:27 pm

    I know I’m going to hear it from Catherine, but women’s tennis can really use a shot in the arm. I know you have some young players, Andreescu and Bencic making the semis, but I was watching the Venus v Kerber match the other day and the quality of play was not good. Maybe Gauff will be the force that propels the WTA forward, but do any of these women play like Federer or with the passion of a Nadal? Do they ever come up to the net? The women’s game needs more variety.

  • catherine · March 15, 2019 at 2:36 pm

    Dan – a year or so ago you were complaining that there were no new players in women’s tennis and now there are a few (Osaka, Sabalenka, Bencic, Andreescu eg)and you’re still complaining. New young talents emerge every few years – they don’t come in battalions. And how many men play like Federer and Nadal ? Not a fair comparison.

    You know, back in the day when serve/volley was the dominant style there were constant calls for more variety in the women’s game. What goes around comes around. It’s my impression a few younger players go to the net more than used to be the case. And blame the courts. Far too slow most of them.

    Williams and Kerber ? Venus is approaching her 40th year and Kerber is 31 and being cautious – if that’s the way to win then that’s the way she’s going to play. What did you expect from that match ? Fireworks ?

    From what I’ve seen Gauff basically plays like all the rest. I doubt she’s going to change the game.

  • Dan Markowitz · March 15, 2019 at 3:38 pm

    Where is Ingrid Neel?

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 15, 2019 at 4:40 pm

    Ingrid Neel played for Florida Gators in 2016-17, had a successful year, then turned pro after season, she’s 20 now. She’s ranked 720 WTA. She played recent ITFs in Newport Beach and Indian Wells but didn’t do anything noteworthy.

  • Hartt · March 15, 2019 at 7:23 pm

    Well, here is one person who thinks the WTA is worth watching. I just forked over some more $ to my cable company to receive the two French-language sports channels because they carry the WTA. It is so stupid, the English-language channels carry the ATP tourneys, but not the WTA, and for the French channels it is the exact opposite.

    But I want to see Bianca play without hoping for a stream. I also enjoy watching Belinda, Barty, Kasatkina (when she is not in a slump), and several other women players. I suspect that now I can access more WTA matches I will become even more interested in the players. It is hard to get very excited about them when you rarely get to see them play.

  • Hartt · March 16, 2019 at 12:09 am

    Bianca had a scratchy performance, but somehow she pulled out the win over Svitolina. My French-speaking commentator got so excited at one point that he yelled out “thriller” in English. Bianca won more through guts and determination than anything. Elina kept getting one more ball back again and again, making Bianca very frustrated. But the youngster never gave up, and that fighting spirit paid off.

  • catherine · March 16, 2019 at 2:49 am

    Angie beat Bencic so will face off Bianca in the final. This should be an interesting match because I don’t think they’ve met before. Angie has never won a Premier Manadatory title. I didn’t see the match because it was in the middle of the night but I’m obviously very pleased. The change in Angie since her flop v Hsieh has been notable. Something has pressed the right button.

    Hartt – congrats to Canada.

  • catherine · March 16, 2019 at 3:01 am

    If I were Belinda I’d stop being Kerber’s ‘frequent practice partner’.

    How many people would have bet, at the start of the tournament, on this women’s final ?

  • catherine · March 16, 2019 at 4:14 am

    Wouldn’t be surprised if Federer gets a w/o v Nadal – the knee looked serious.

    Thinking of the women’s final – Bianca has the game to beat Angie unless she is worn out by her s/f exertions. She was cramping a bit. From the highlights looked like Bianca played better than Bencic, – and I bet Angie is thrilled not to be facing Svitolina – she NEVER beats her. From comments in her pc Angie seems to be organising her schedule in a more productive way – getting outside things done first and clearing her mind for the tennis. (I’ve noticed an addition to the team in her box during IW – blonde woman. Obviously not a language coach – after all these years Kerber still can’t get her head around the use of the progressive form of the verb).

  • Dan Markowitz · March 16, 2019 at 8:34 am

    That Bianca-Svitlina match was again…and I’m sorry I have to report what my eyes see and my heart feels–a bit of a bore. I have to admit I only watched part of the first two sets…North Carolina was playing Zion Williamson at the same time. But please, Svitolina hitting 68 mph serves on her second, I like how Bianca plays with aggression and she rocks the ball, but she’s not that good. She just isn’t. I saw her reach her service line on one point and retreat to the baseline. If this the best the WTA has to offer, Kerber vs. Bianca, that’s a far drop from previous generations of the top women players.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 16, 2019 at 9:42 am

    I just don’t understand how Rafa shows these knee injuries then proceeds to play like Walter Payton ran the ball for the Chicago Bears, with reckless abandon and no hint of a limp or pain. It’s like he’s crafting his excuse if he wants to default to Federer and withdraw from Miami to focus on clay. That was a fantastic win last night beating Khachanov, two tough sets. Then if he plays Federer, everyone thinks he’s hurt and if he wins, it makes Federer look bad. If he retires in the first set or second set, everybody accepts it. Just not sure what to believe. Eyes show he’s running around the court perfectly and playing superb tennis all year, save for the losses on hard to Kyrgios and Djokovic. Andreescu is ready to win this title. She looks like a veteran out there, so smart and poised. Svitolina now saying she had an MRI on her knee before the tournament but again, no hint of pain or limp, while in fact she’s running around the court perfectly and incredibly well. Michael Bentt, former WBO heavyweight champ once told me, “boxing is 90% bluffs.” Maybe tennis is too.

  • catherine · March 16, 2019 at 9:52 am

    Dan – isn’t it time you just stopped watching women’s tennis ? You’ve got nothing good to say about it, no one seems to come up to your high standards, whatever they are, and you also seem to have a strange idea of how women played in the past. I was there for much of that past, being older than you, and I can assure you there were many matches and many tournaments, including Grand Slams, which were of mediocre standard. The eighties, for example was, was a weak era in women’s tennis and many’s the dreary matches I, and my colleagues, had to sit through and write about. A struggle, I can tell you. Most women today are stronger, hit harder, run faster and use more varied tactics. Have a look at some Youtube videos if you don’t believe me.

    Just out of interest, is there anyone playing now you think is ‘that good’ ?

  • Hartt · March 16, 2019 at 10:02 am

    Dan, Bianca played way below her best in the match against Svitolina. I was amazed that she managed to win. If you want to see her play the way she can, have a look at her match vs Muguruza, where she totally creamed Garbine. Her matches in Auckland and her other matches at IW are also better indicators of her skills. To judge a player’s ability I think we need to see several of their matches over a period of time.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 16, 2019 at 10:03 am

    Most male pros can’t watch womens’ tennis. I once was in the US Open cafeteria for dinner while Sam Stosur and Maria Kirilenko were playing their historic longest match at US Open, third set breaker and Fred Stolle was at the next table and he couldn’tbe bothered to watch any of it, preferring the conversation with colleagues.

  • Dan Markowitz · March 16, 2019 at 11:13 am

    Thank you, Hartt, for confirming what I saw with my own eyes, Andreescu and Svitolina just like Williams and Kerber a couple of days before, were not playing very high-level tennis. I’ve said I like Andreescu, I like her spunk, her competitiveness, I’m going to go watch her matches when I’m in Miami on March 25-27. I’ve said I like Kenin. Camilia Giorgi also intrigues me because she’s part beautiful, part mad and sometimes part brilliant.

    But you can’t tell me these top women today are playing at the level of a Navratilova, who I always very intrigued and excited to watch play live, or a Graf or a Henin or a even a Mauresmo. Certainly, Serena was far better in her heyday. Come on, women’s tennis, I want to see Coco Grauff and then I’ll let you know if she’s the next exciting must-see player on tour.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 16, 2019 at 11:47 am

    The WTA is in a transition stage right now, Serena is on her way out and the next dominant champion is probably Osaka, she has won the last two majors and has made it clear the smaller events don’t inspire and fully motivate her. There are other threats to her dominance who are not going to lay down easy for her, they are going to throw the kitchen sink and table and chair and toaster oven at her. Osaka also seems to get distracted by social media and her flirtations with Tsitsipas. We will see how she handles all the almost all the other players conspiring to take her down. And make no mistake, the head that wears the crown is always a target of conspiracy, even if it’s legal. No way do any WTA players want to go through a Graf like domination where 90 % of the tour was lucky to stay on the court for a half hour with Graf.

  • Hartt · March 16, 2019 at 12:35 pm

    I am concerned that Bianca Andreescu could run out of steam in Miami. She has played a lot of tennis lately, and she was showing signs of fatigue and possible cramping in the third set of yesterday’s match. She must be exhausted, both physically and mentally. She likely won’t have a bye in Miami, so will have to play her next match quite soon.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 16, 2019 at 12:41 pm

    Andreescu has to be mentally and physically fried. If she plays Miami, it might be a big mistake. If she does play Miami then she is machine. To take a break of two weeks would be wise. But these players have waited their whole lives for the chance to play in these big tournaments.

  • jg · March 16, 2019 at 2:08 pm

    I had never seen Andreescu play until yesterday, I enjoyed watching her mix up spins, looping balls and the. Power, agree no net game but she can develop that for sure, she got passed pretty easily up there. Nadal just withdrew, this is routine for him, isn’t it, get to the late stage of a hard court tournament then default for medical reasons. Could be he really can’t make a full hard court tournament, at some point it’s not fair to the tournament, tournament directors really can’t count on him to make it through on a hard court to the finals.

  • catherine · March 16, 2019 at 2:17 pm

    Kenin isn’t a top player, neither is Camila Giorgi. The reasons people like Giorgi, and they are mostly men, have little to do with her tennis skills. And you can’t compare the players of today with Navratilova because she played a completely different game. She didn’t always play at the same level either. She had some bad losses. Martina was also at her best on grass and fast surfaces. Not so good on clay.

    I think we tend to remember the players we saw when we were younger as better than those of today. It’s called the Golden Age syndrome. Not always reliable. Great players are great in their time but time moves on and memories deceive.

    It’s also subjective. Don’t tell me that someone who has won 3 GSs including Wimbledon isn’t any good. But if she wins IW I expect we’ll hear that this indicates a decline in the standard of the entire game. Just because the way she plays doesn’t appeal to everyone. As if Angie would care. She’s got the trophies.

    I agree the game is in transition. You might say the same about men’s tennis. Happens every few years. This is the game we’ve got now and we might as well put up with it and not be dismissive because it isn’t the way we want it. Young people now aren’t interested in the past. They don’t care whether X or Y or Z is better than the oldies and goodies. They’ll judge what’s in front of them. That’s a decent attitude I think.

  • Dan Markowitz · March 16, 2019 at 2:34 pm

    Don’t agree with you, Catherine, but that’s not new. Navratilova was a special player and for decades too. The women’s game–and I see it up close because I go to McEnroe Academy almost every day so I’m watching these young junior players play and Johnny Mac is just now startingTeam BNP Paribas MAC 1 with Patrick & John McEnroe. Here’s the description:

    “It’s partnership with BNP Paribas, John and Patrick McEnroe will be coaching Team BNP Paribas MAC 1, a squad of elite young players from the John McEnroe Tennis Academy in New York City. Stay informed, the US Open ‘2029 Champion may be among them.”

    And if my son isn’t on this team–his name has been submitted for inclusion–I’ll eat my racquet. Anyway, I’m going to ask John and Patrick when I see them next why they think–if they do think so–why the women’s game is so one-dimensional. And I’ll let you know what they say.

    And of course men like Giorgi because she’s attractive, but that’s nothing new, I used to like Rayni Fox because she was attractive. Giorgi’s game is also appealing because she hugs the baseline and hits missiles and her father is a crazy dude to watch at courtside. I do like Osaka and find her very exciting to watch at times, but boy did she play bad at IW.

  • catherine · March 16, 2019 at 4:37 pm

    Of course Navratilova was a special player – who’s denying it ? I saw her play from the time she defected at the USO in 1975. But players like her don’t appear that often. I wouldn’t say she influenced the game much either. Girls started to abandon s/v while Martina was still at her peak. Chris probably started the baseline trend. It’s easier for girls to play.

    I’d be interested in John MCEnroe’s comments on the women’s game – as I recall he was no great lover of women’s tennis at any time and nothing I’ve heard since makes me think he’s changed his mind.

    Would you rate the IW final higher if Giorgi was playing Kerber instead of Andreescu ? At the moment Kerber v Andreescu is indeed the best the WTA has to offer and you can blame the other players for that – they lost. Every single one of them.

  • Hartt · March 16, 2019 at 7:09 pm

    It looks like Bianca will play Miami because her parents flew from Toronto to Miami to watch her play. In an earlier interview she said she would like to win enough $ for her parents to travel with her. A few weeks later she has accomplished that.

  • Dan Markowitz · March 16, 2019 at 7:44 pm

    No, Catherine, I’m much more interested in seeing Andreescu play Kerber in finals because Andreescu is a winner—she’s proven that in 2019–and so is Kerber. I admire Kerber and I’d much rather see her play than a Wozniaki, a Svitlina or a Pliskova. Keeber’s fitness and her ability to win (and she’s beautiful in a less overtly sexual way than a Giorgi), but I watch her to see something exalted about her competitive will.

    I’m going to ask both John and Pat about the women’s game and their opinions of it.

  • catherine · March 17, 2019 at 3:25 am

    Well Dan – there’re a few things we can agree on:)
    I’m not crazy about Wozniaki etc either but I suppose you have to admire Svitolina’s endurance. She’s one player who would benefit from an ability to volley. She misses a lot of easy points.

    Of course with Angie you have to accept that her competitive will can fluctuate madly for reasons apparently beyond her control. That’s interesting to me, if frustrating for her fans (and coaches presumably).

    Hartt – did you see Milos’ match ? It sounded a good one. I imagine Kiki will be at courtside.

  • catherine · March 17, 2019 at 3:56 am

    Hartt – I don’t imagine you expected to see two Canadians in the last rounds at IW, and one with a chance of winning. I had a look at the betting on Flashcore (which I follow for scores)but I don’t understand betting – maths was never my strongpoint – so I can’t give the odds on Kerber/Andreescu except to say they seemed fairly even at 8am GMT. Myself, I wouldn’t bet anything on this match. Depends on how fast Angie comes out of the gate and in what state of mind. If she’s aggressive she’s got a chance – if she hesitates or flashes back to Dubai, she’ll lose. Bianca’s style could really get a passive Kerber in tangles.

  • Hartt · March 17, 2019 at 8:17 am

    Catherine, I thought Thiem had the edge before the match because Milos hasn’t been at his best in the tourney, despite managing to get to the SFs. In his previous match he did not serve especially well, although his FH was good. In this match he served well, but had a lot of UFEs with his FH.

    Dominic, on the other hand, played great for the most part. He served very well, with something like 85% first serve %, and won more points off his serve than Milos. He also kept his UFEs low, and that is often a weakness.

    It sounds like Milos is back tinkering with his game. I think he likes thinking about tennis and analysing things more than actual competition. So he hired Santoro as coach, another analytical guy. I think Goran had the right approach – keep it simple and don’t think on the court too much. The small improvements Milos hopes to make under Santoro won’t make much difference if he doesn’t both serve well and hit his FH in the same match.

  • Hartt · March 17, 2019 at 8:52 am

    Catherine, yes I am thrilled that two Canadians did so well in this tournament. As you say, Angie will need to be aggressive, but I think her greater experience will make a difference today. Bianca must be tired – mentally, emotionally and physically. This is all so new for her. I hope she can play well in the final. She will certainly fight in the match, the youngster is an excellent competitor.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 17, 2019 at 9:10 am

    Expect a PC answer from the Macs Dan. No way in heck they dare to criticize the women’s game, if they did it would stir up a firestorm and they could get fired. No one will dare to criticize women’s tennis. But why would anyone? It’s the best vs the best. It’s always a good entertainment to see the best battle it out. WTA tennis has been predominantly baseline tennis for ages. If the matches lack diversity in tactics it’s still a nice sport to watch. The array of talents and skills and fitness required are admirable and inspiring.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 17, 2019 at 9:22 am

    Navratilova was a great champion and nice to watch her bold style and voracious drive to win but I don’t think I ever rooted for her even once. Always to see Evert beat her, Seles, Graf, Conchita in the Wimbledon final. Seeing how strong she was, it seemed unfair to the other women players to play her. She took fitness to a new level in the women’s game. Her dedication to the sport and her love of competition are admirable and inspiring.

  • catherine · March 17, 2019 at 10:03 am

    True Scoop – but I’ll always remember Mandlikova beating Martina in the USO final 1986 I think, because Martina made a big mental slip-up – expected to see Chris across the net, was all geared up to beat her….and saw Hana instead and lost her plan and the match. I’ll never forget that. Tremendous atmosphere. Hana was a physical shrimp compared to Martina of course but in that match it didn’t matter.

    P.S. Just before the W’don final last year Martina wrote a piece telling Angie how she could beat Serena. I wonder if Angie read it ? I don’t think they are particularly friends but maybe Martina recognises some of her own committment to the game in Kerber.

  • Hartt · March 17, 2019 at 10:42 am

    Stephanie Myles has a feature in the Toronto Star about Andreescu. Of course Myles has been following Bianca for several years, so she knows the youngster’s game well.

    “Her game is a breath of fresh air in an era dominated by big forehands and backhands. Being able to rob her opponents of rhythm with changes of pace isn’t unusual. But the Canadian’s ability to combine that with power from the baseline to hit winners when the opportunities are created is fairly unique in women’s tennis today.

    “We always told her, with her tennis she’s going to change the women’s game a little,” Labelle said. “We can make a specific game plan depending on the opponent — and she can execute it. It’s extraordinary.”

    I was glad to hear that Bianca’s team wants to keep her grounded.

    “My goal with Bianca and the people close to her is to keep her well grounded,” Bruneau said. “It’s very different from six months ago when we did things in the shadows, in the smaller tournaments.

    “We worked just as hard then, but under the radar.”

  • catherine · March 17, 2019 at 11:16 am

    Hartt – an advantage Bianca will have is that Angie will probably be the more nervous. Playing an up-and-comer who’s getting the plaudits and is also an opponent you’ve never played before can pile on the pressure. I remember BJK crying (or she said she did) before she played Chris Evert at the USO in 1971 – Chris was 16. Imagine if BJ had lost. The humiliation!

  • Hartt · March 17, 2019 at 12:11 pm

    Yes, Angie will have more pressure. It would be amazing if Bianca could do what Osaka did last year and win her first “regular” WTA title at IW!. She does have a WTA 125K title.

    It could be a close match, but my guess is that Kerber will win. Maybe I just can’t quite believe that Bianca can continue to play at such a high level, but I hope she is able to.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 17, 2019 at 6:42 pm

    What a final at BNPPO, I didn’t see it all but the ending was dramatic and superb tennis by both. Andreescu is a machine, both physically and mentally she is a special champion and it’s only going to get better. Kerber did nothing wrong, she just ran into a tennis tornado that is on a date with her destiny, No one will stop Andreescu. The interesting thing is how for two years in a row, two young players who never won a pro title both win their first at IW.

  • Hartt · March 17, 2019 at 7:09 pm

    Bianca told her coach, Sylvain Bruneau, during an OCC late in the match that she was tired, had nothing left in her legs. So she won that match with sheer guts and determination. The youngster is an excellent player, but more important, she is an awesome competitor.

  • catherine · March 17, 2019 at 7:17 pm

    Disappointed but a worthy final and Angie fought to the end.

    I think Bianca would have beaten anyone in the draw today. The women’s game is turning a corner.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 17, 2019 at 7:52 pm

    Andreescu obviously had something left in her legs because she managed to gut it out and Kerber definitely made her earn it the hard way and she responded with champion tennis. Or she got her “second wind.” Why is that old stale term never used anymore in tennis or any sport? Maybe it was a fake news myth from the beginning and it just ran out of steam, pun intended.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 17, 2019 at 7:53 pm

    Gauff practiced today with Kyrgios in Miami. What a priceless experience for Coco. Nick is very generous with the younger players, as Andy Murray and Hewitt were with him.

  • catherine · March 18, 2019 at 3:56 am

    Apparently in the occ (I couldn’t hear it) Kerber complained about Bianca’s high bouncing balls and how she wasn’t able to handle them. I was a bit surprised because the balls do bounce high in IW although the court is slow (which is one reason Angie hasn’t a great record there – she’s not happy with a high bounce to her BH))because I would have expected her to have devised a tactic for that by now – or maybe none of her opponents on the way to the final had Bianca’s nous in that area ?

    The match was played in a really good spirit. So was the men’s final.

    Bianca and Angie are drawn to play each other in Miami 3rd round but my feeling is that one of the two won’t get that far.

  • catherine · March 18, 2019 at 5:12 am

    I was amused to see the odd smile from Angie a few times that match – even when she’d lost the point. A different attitude ? She’s also into yoga, going by a clip I spotted on Tennis-Now. Must be one of the physically fittest players around.



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