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Rediff.com  » Sports » Miami Open: Top seeds Federer, Halep shocked

Miami Open: Top seeds Federer, Halep shocked

Last updated on: March 25, 2018 11:46 IST

Federer's stunning loss leaves tournament wide open

Thanasi Kokkinakis

IMAGE: Thanasi Kokkinakis of Australia celebrates match point against Roger Federer of Switzerland. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Roger Federer suffered a shock 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(4) defeat to Australian wildcard Thanasi Kokkinakis on Saturday that will cost the Swiss his world number one ranking and leaves the Miami men's tournament wide open.

 

With defending champion Federer and six-times Miami Open winner Novak Djokovic exiting early, the likes of second seed Maric Cilic, Grigor Dimitrov (3), and Indian Wells winner Juan Martin del Potro (5) will all fancy their chances over the coming week.

Alexander Zverev will also be in the mix but the German fourth seed had a close shave on Saturday, needing three sets to advance past Russian Daniil Medvedev 6-4, 1-6, 7-6(5), while Denis Shapovalov also moved on by defeating Bosnian Damir Dzumhur.

Kokkinakis had trained with Federer but had never played the Swiss previously.

With his vicious forehand dialed in, the Australian was able to wear down Federer, who announced after the match that he was again skipping the European clay court season. [nL3N1R700B]

A disappointed Federer, who loses his number one ranking to Rafael Nadal with the loss, said he just could not raise his game.

"Sometimes you have these matches,” he said.

“Sometimes you find a way through. I just couldn't get it done today.”

His mood contrasted sharply with an ecstatic Kokkinakis.

“When I feel like I am playing on my terms, I don't think there's too many people who can go with me,” the 21-year-old told reporters.

Fernando Verdasco will be Kokkinakis's next opponent after the Spaniard rallied from a set down to beat countryman Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 4-6, 6-0, 6-2.

Zverev needed more than two hours to prevail over Russian Medvedev, taking his ninth consecutive deciding-set tie-break victory, and will next face David Ferrer.

Canadian 18-year-old Shapovalov breezed through the first set in 24 minutes against Dzumhur and led by a break twice in the second before breaking for the fifth time at 5-5 and serving out the 6-1, 7-5 victory.

He will next face Borna Coric of Croatia, who turned back Argentine Leonardo Mayer 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-4 in a nearly three-hour match.

Japanese left-hander Yoshihito Nishioka, coming back after a year out due to major knee injury, went down 6-1, 6-4 to 10th seed Tomas Berdych.

Britain's Kyle Edmund also lost, falling 7-6(4), 4-6, 7-6(5) to American Frances Tiafoe, who frittered away four match points in the tiebreak before finally winning.

On other matches, Kevin Anderson and Jack Sock advanced with straight set wins. Australian Nick Kyrgios took down Dusan Lajovic 6-4, 6-1, while Pablo Carreno Busta defeated Denis Istomin 6-1, 6-0.

Radwanska surprises number one Halep

Agnieszka Radwanska

IMAGE: Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland hits a backhand against Simona Halep of Romania. Photograph: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Former champion Agnieszka Radwanska stunned world number one Simona Halep in the third round of the Miami Open, winning 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 on Saturday.

Radwanska, who won in Miami in 2012, claimed six of the last seven games in the deciding set to claim the victory after an hour and 48 minutes.

Fifth seed Karolina Pliskova had a tough time before battling past Taiwan's Hsieh Su-Wei and three-time Miami champion Victoria Azarenka needed three sets to get past Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia.

Halep, who was beaten by eventual champion Naomi Osaka in the Indian Wells semi-finals last week, took advantage of a woeful service game and 10 unforced errors by her opponent to take the first set.

But Radwanska, who only held her serve once in the opening set, dropped just four points in the opening four games of the second, breaking twice and opening up a 4-0 lead.

She broke again late in the set to even the match.

Halep broke early in the third to lead 2-0 but unforced errors - 44 in total against 31 winners - proved too much for her to overcome and Radwanska emerged with the victory.

"I'm so happy, especially because she's been playing great tennis in the last couple of months," Radwanska told reporters.

"The atmosphere was great here and all worked perfectly. Every match is special here on that court with a full stadium. You cannot ask for more.”

Halep’s defeat leaves the tournament without its top two players after world number two Caroline Wozniacki lost to Monica Puig a day earlier.

Third seed Garbine Muguruza is still in it though and the reigning Wimbledon champion brushed aside American Christina McHale 6-2, 6-1.

Czech Pliskova was pushed all the way by Hsieh before wrapping up the match 6-4, 1-6, 7-6(4).

After former world number one Pliskova won a close first set, doubles specialist Hsieh dominated the second as her opponent made 12 errors.

The Czech broke at 5-3 in the third set before Hsieh saved three match points to break back. Pliskova came close again to winning the match but Hsieh held serve to set up a tiebreak where the Czech closed it out on her seventh match point.

Azarenka also went the distance against Sevastova, and while the former world number one said she was not firing on all cylinders she was happy to grind out a result.

"I don’t feel like I played my best tennis, but those kind of matches are super important for me right now," Azarenka told reporters after her 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 over the 20th seed.

In other matches, 10th seed Angelique Kerber took down Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-4, 6-4 and Sloane Stephens came back from a set down to beat Monica Niculescu. The Romanian retired with Stephens leading 6-7(1), 6-3, 4-0.

Zarina Diyas defeated Carina Witthoeft 4-6 7-5 6-0 and Wang Yafan beat Alison Riske 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(4).

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