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Rediff.com  » Sports » Miami Masters PIX: Isner upsets Cilic; Zverev, Venus advance

Miami Masters PIX: Isner upsets Cilic; Zverev, Venus advance

Last updated on: March 27, 2018 21:40 IST

IMAGES from matches played at the Miami Masters in Key Biscayne, Florida

John Isner

IMAGE: John Isner of the United States hits a forehand against Marin Cilic of Croatia (not pictured). Photograph: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Big-serving American John Isner overcame second-seeded Croatian Marin Cilic 7-6(0), 6-3 at the Miami Open on Tuesday to advance to the quarter-finals, where he will face South Korean Hyeon Chung, who dominated Joao Sousa 6-4 6-3 earlier in the day.

 

In a battle of power against power, it was Isner's booming serve that made the difference as the towering 32-year-old fired 12 aces while never giving Cilic a look at a break point.

Isner took firm control of the match in the first set tiebreak, where he stepped up his return game to shut out the world number three before finally breaking Cilic's powerful serve in the second set and cruising to the win.

Chung needed just over an hour to see off the Portuguese Sousa, who could not find an answer to the 19th-seeded South Korean's relentless all-court game.

With the win, Chung advances to his second consecutive quarter-final after also making the last eight in Indian Wells, where the 21-year-old lost to Swiss Roger Federer.

Germany's Alexander Zverev hits a backhand against Spain's David Ferrer on day seven of the Miami Open at Tennis Center at Crandon Park

IMAGE: Germany's Alexander Zverev hits a backhand against Spain's David Ferrer on day seven of the Miami Open at Tennis Center at Crandon Park. Photograph: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Alexander Zverev rallied from a one set deficit to defeat Spain’s David Ferrer 2-6, 6-2, 6-4 in the third round of the Miami Open on Monday as he moved a step closer to a breakthrough title this year.

The 20-year-old German has yet to recapture the form that earned him five singles titles, including two Masters events, in 2017 but he has displayed guile in prevailing in a pair of three-set matches in Miami.

Zverev, ranked fifth in the world, recovered from a rusty opening set to break Ferrer’s service three times in the second set and twice more in the decisive stanza.

He will next face Australian Nick Kyrgios, who advanced with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Fabio Fognini.

In earlier action, Fernando Verdasco dug deep to earn a 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(4) win over Australian qualifier Thanasi Kokkinakis to set up a fourth round clash against fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta.

The 34-year-old fired down 13 aces to beat Kokkinakis, who had been full of confidence after stunning world number one and defending champion Roger Federer in the second round.

Verdasco, who reached the Miami quarter-finals in 2009 and 2010, rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the third set and again from 3-0 down in the decisive tiebreaker before prevailing in a match that lasted nearly three hours.

He then got involved in a Twitter spat with Kyrgios, who had expressed his desire for the Spaniard to lose his third round match.

Verdasco got into a Twitter spat with Australian Kyrgios on Monday over a since-deleted post in which the latter expressed his desire for the Spaniard to lose his third round match at the Miami Open.

Spain's Fernando Verdasco reacts after winning a point against Australia's Thanasi Kokkinakis

IMAGE: Spain's Fernando Verdasco reacts after winning a point against Australia's Thanasi Kokkinakis. Photograph: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Verdasco, the 31st seed, became annoyed during his win over Kokkinakis and even argued with the Australian qualifier in the deciding set when he accused his opponent's father of talking during his serves.

Kyrgios, who has a reputation on the tennis circuit for being outspoken, took to Twitter to weigh in on the happenings at CrandonPark in Key Biscayne, Florida.

"I hope TK wins this match, Verdasco is the saltiest dude, must be frustrated at his past success against Aussies," Kyrgios wrote in a Twitter post he has since deleted.

World number 39 Verdasco does indeed have a poor record against Australian players, his most recent loss to a competitor from Down Under coming at the hands of teenager Alex de Minaur in the first round at the Sydney International in January.

Verdasco, who could face Krygios in the Miami semi-finals, felt the need to respond after his nearly three-hour match and wrote, "When you have the courage to put a tweet insulting another player you need to have the same to don’t delete it."

Kyrgios was not about to let the spat end there and fired off one final message:

"I would honestly have told it to Fernando's face, the reason I deleted my previous tweet was because I didn't want to cause unwanted attention, but I'm just gonna leave this here. Thanks for blocking me, I'm sure that took a lot of courage x."

Verdasco will be in back in action on Tuesday when he faces fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta, the 16th seed, who beat American Steve Johnson 6-4, 6-4 to reach the fourth round for the first time. Kyrgios will battle German fourth seed Alexander Zverev.

Also reaching the fourth round were Kevin Anderson, a 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 winner over Karen Khachanov, and Denis Shapovalov, who upset 11th-seeded American Sam Querrey 6-4, 3-6, 7-5.

USA's Venus Williams hits a backhand against Great Britain's Johanna Konta

IMAGE: USA's Venus Williams hits a backhand against Great Britain's Johanna Konta. Photograph: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Venus Williams upended defending champion Johanna Konta 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 on Monday to reach the Miami Open quarter-finals while a dominant Victoria Azarenka also advanced with a straightforward win over Agnieszka Radwanska.

Three-time champion Williams stormed back from an early deficit to cruise past the British 11th seed, who needed several bouts of treatment on her lower back throughout a match that lasted two hours and 19 minutes.

Perhaps more impressive was that Williams, who turns 38 in June, was able to look so in control despite playing a day after spending nearly three hours on the court for her third round clash against Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens.

Former world number one Azarenka, in only her second event after an eight-month absence because of a custody dispute involving her son, also looked sharp throughout her 6-2 6-2 win over 30th-seeded Pole Radwanska.

The Belarussian, competing as a wild card, won 79 percent of her first service points and needed only 82 minutes to prevail in a clash between former Miami champions.

Up next for the 28-year-old is Czech fifth seed Karolina Pliskova, who advanced to the last eight after Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan was forced to retire injured while trailing 6-2, 2-1.

USA's Sloane Stephens smiles at her player's box after defeating Spain's Garbine Muguruza

IMAGE: USA's Sloane Stephens smiles at her player's box after defeating Spain's Garbine Muguruza. Photograph: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Former world number one Pliskova was efficient from the start and did not drop a point on her first serves in the entire match against Diyas, who took multiple medical time-outs and was visibly struggling with her movement.

Sloane Stephens raised her game to levels similar to last year when she won the US Open as she beat Spanish third seed Garbine Muguruza 6-3, 6-4 and secure passage to the quarter-finals.

The American 13th seed dictated play against the Wimbledon champion from the start by taking eight of the first nine points of the match.

After securing a break in the fifth game of the second set, Stephens sent Muguruza packing with a backhand on the line on her second match point.

Stephens, who equalled her best result in Miami having also reached the quarter-finals in 2015, will next face German 10th seed Angelique Kerber, a 6-7(1), 7-6(5), 6-3 winner over Chinese qualifier Wang Yafan.

Ukrainian fourth seed Elina Svitolina also advanced with a 7-5, 6-4 win over Australian Ashleigh Barty.

French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko will cap the night session with her clash against ninth-seeded Czech Petra Kvitova.

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