Mar/19

20

Wednesday Miami Open

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Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams crossed paths at the ribbon cutting ceremony on stadium but they did not acknowledge each other. Williams seemed to eye down Osaka as she was brought to the photo op setting on court, as if studying her arch rival, or perhaps intimidation tactics.

Today was press day and Simona Halep was asked what the best bit of advice she received from Darren Cahill and she could not specify one nugget, opting to go with the everything he told me was helpful angle.

Djokovic said when he first became a famous player early in his career, his two brothers were also playing and getting a lot of attention because the media was curious to see them play and if they could be as good or better than Novak. So Marko and Djordje would practice with a dozen of people watching them and that kind of pressure had a negative effect on their development. Djordje doesn’t even play anymore and Marko coaches and compete on occasion, most recently in Doha.

Kiki Bertens said before hiring Raimon Sluiter to be her coach she worked with the same coach for 18 years.

The site is spectacular but the first day of main draw action has presented some simple problems, like Kaia Kanepi asked for towels first match on court 8 however there were none at the court. Kanepi still managed to beat Timea Babos 63 64.

17 year old Iga Swiatek lost 76 64 to Sachia Vickery but she impressed with some amazing shots, like a tweener up the line just out of the reach of Vickery who netted the cross court forehand volley. She also showed major cool at the end in the 4-4 game saving three break points before finally being broken. Despite the loss she was very friendly to fans moments after the defeat. She has a very impressive cool and a powerful and diverse game which may have top 10 potential if my judgement of unique talent is still intact.

I saw a former top pro – Jaime Oncins of Brazil who once played Jimmy Connors at the US Open. It’s nice to see the former players of the past. Oncins said of the new venue with a smile: “I just got here. And I’m still a little bit lost. It’s too big. I need to figure out how things work here.”

Dan Evans played Andre Bublik and both players were wearing all white with the same company, a new company, very high quality material. Rare to see two players wear all white on the same court.

Radu Albot continued his winning ways since capturing his first title in Delray Beach last month, taking out Mitchell Krueger today 63 75. Krueger has struggled since his Challenger win in Dallas, his rebuilt forehand was the flaw today.

Novak Djokovic press conference, he said the media may be trying to create tension between him Nadal and Federer, even though he has good relations with both and always has but it’s hard to be friends with rivals. Federer said last week in Indian Wells he tried to connect and talk about it but Djokovic was unavailable. Nadal said the same thing, that he wasn’t called. But Djokovic said Nadal could call him. Djokovic said both players and any players are “welcome” ta enter the political discourse.

Noah Rubin lost 64 57 62 to Mikael Ymer in a battle of welterweights. Ymer has more pop on his shots, Rubin just can’t end points and seems to hit every ball the same pace.

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4 comments

  • Dan Markowitz · March 21, 2019 at 2:29 am

    Tough opening for the American men already in Miami. Mac Mac, Frantangelo and Rubin exit in Qualis and then Kudla gets annihilated 1 and 2 by a little-known Spaniard and Klahn gets routined by Tipsarevic. Hopefully, some of the remaining Americans will step up.

  • catherine · March 21, 2019 at 3:00 am

    Interesting about Osaka/Serena – could be gamesmanship or something more personal ? Or nothing significant at all.

    Simona has hired Danier Dobre, one of her former Romanian coaches (pre-Cahill) and I suspect she’ll stick with him. She probably feels more comfortable with a coach who knows her, can speak her language and is someone she can trust. She emphasised that last aspect over the technical angle, saying she’s been playing long enough now to know strokes and tactics etc.

    I noticed Swiatek last year, very talented and she’s been hovering around for a while but hasn’t made a breakthrough yet. Maybe needs a little more time. A lot of pressure in Poland to be the next Radwanska.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 21, 2019 at 11:31 am

    McDonald lands back in main draw as LL and plays Humbert today, that’s a winnable match. Miami Open is breaking records in attendance each day so far, but you can’t really tell it when you’re on the grounds as it’s so spread out and this venue absorbs the crowds so well. Everyone misses exotic Key Biscayne and it’s natural beauty but this new host is special in it’s own way. To see this massive NFL stadium looming large in the background everywhere you go is stunning. Federer said he likes how the stadium semi roof negates the sun and most of the day the stadium court is shaded. But right now at 11:27 am the stadium is all sun, only time of day it’s sunny on that court. Fed also said he thinks the court is protected from wind and he likes that.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 21, 2019 at 11:35 am

    Yes it’s too late to make any technical changes for Halep, she knows how to play and win. Just needs the right company and energy around her. Swiatek is one of the most relaxed cool easy going players I have ever seen. You see no hint of any pressure on her face or in her body, she is a young player I highly recommend to watch. So natural, so comfortable on this pro stage already at 17. She loves to win and fights hard but she can take losing so easily. Love her attitude and demeanor.

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