The Key Biscayne tennis lovers saw the exit of two notable men’s seed at the 2015 Miami Masters on an otherwise uneventful Sunday. Rafael Nadal was not expected to lose against his countryman Fernando Verdasco nor was Stan Wawrinka against Frenchman Adrian Mannarino. But while the second seed Nadal went down in three sets after not such a bad game, Wawrinka’s match against Mannarino had both sets decided on tiebreaks and it was too close an affair. Andy Murray recorded his 499th win on the ATP World Tour, when he beat Colombia’s Santiago Giraldo in straight sets. Already into the last 16, Murray could make the count as 500 ATP victories should he defeat South African ace-expert Kevin Anderson in his next match. If the Briton achieves that feat, he would become only the 9th active player and the 46th man in the open era to reach the milestone. Other men’s seeds made steady progress on Sunday. On the women’s side, Serena Williams played against someone 18 years her junior. CiCi Bellis was looking forward to meeting the world’s no.1 tennis player at the stadium court and though she was completely outclassed by Serena, the youngster still derived pleasure of having faced the 19-time Grand Slam winner and arguably one of the most talented women’s tennis players of all time. Victoria Azarenka suffered a narrow loss and made her exit from Key Biscayne but other women’s seeds made desirable progress in their matches on Sunday.
Rafael Nadal’s shock defeat remained the most discussed topic in Key Biscayne on Sunday. The second seeded Nadal didn’t exactly flounder and played a generally smooth game. Though he lost the first set after being broken once, Nadal came back strongly in the second to win at 6-2. The two Spaniards looked equally matched in their service, breaking one another, or winning points. Each had general success on the service, each broke the other three times and while Verdasco won 84 points Nadal was not far behind with 83. To Nadal’s credit, he was able to force 12 break-points in the course of the match but Verdasco saved 9 out of them. Finally, Verdasco probably took advantage of Nadal’s tiredness in the third set and won the match 6-4, 2-6, 6-3. Nadal’s loss helped Andy Murray to jump to no.3 spot in the Emirates ATP rankings to be announced on Monday.
Seventh-seeded Stanislas Wawrinka was also upset on Sunday by no.31 seed Adrian Mannarino of France in two close sets. Like Nadal, Wawrinka too didn’t look like losing but the Frenchman Mannarino scraped past by taking two consecutive tie-breaks. Though, Wawrinka served 7 double faults, the Swiss never looked like ending as an upset victim.
Other than Nadal and Wawrinka’s early departures from Miami Masters, it was expected progress for other men and women’s seeds on Sunday. Andy Murray recorded his 499th victory on ATP World Circuit, when he disposed of Colombia’s Santiago Giraldo 6-3, 6-4. Murray’s next match win will be the historic 500th and that also ensures him a quarterfinal berth. But the Scotsman will have to get past South Africa’s big-serving player Kevin Anderson, who entered the last 16 by defeating Argentina’s Leonardo Mayer. Czech Tomas Berdych, who is the last active player to reach 500 ATP wins recently, dismissed the first set loss in beating Australia’s Bernard Tomic 6-7, 7-6, 6-1; Argentine Juan Monaco beat Spain’s Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 7-5, 6-4 and in a battle of two Frenchmen, Gael Monfils defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-4, 7-6.
In the women’s draw, three notable matches involved Angelique Kerber of Germany going down to Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova 3-6, 6-3. 3-6; Victoria Azarenka losing 6-7, 6-7 to Italian Flavia Pennetta and Serbian Ana Ivanovic losing 6-7, 5-7 to Germany’s Sabine Lisicki. Other than these, most women’s seed made smooth progress on Sunday. But the match that held extra attention was the one, in which 19-time grand slam champion and world no.1 Serena Williams played against 15-year old CiCi Bellis on the stadium court. The no.1 seed took only 41 minutes to win at 6-1, 6-1 but the match still brought pleasure for Bellis as she was overwhelmed with the sheer chance of facing one of the game’s greatest players.
Other women’s seeds who got through in their third-round matches were; no.3 seed Simona Halep, who beat Italian Camila Giorgi 6-4, 7-5; Sara Errani beat Spain’s Garbine Muguruza 4-6, 6-4, 6-1; USA’s Sloane Stephens defeated Johanna Larsson of Sweden 6-4, 6-4 and Swiss Belinda Bencic defeated Germany’s Tatjana Maria 6-4, 7-5.