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Rediff.com  » Sports » Miami Masters PHOTOS: Venus through; Federer, Djokovic dominate

Miami Masters PHOTOS: Venus through; Federer, Djokovic dominate

March 22, 2014 10:38 IST

Miami Masters PHOTOS: Venus through; Federer, Djokovic dominate

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Before Serena Williams planted her flag at the Sony Open it was sister Venus who ruled over the Miami hardcourts and the older of the tennis siblings signalled on Friday she was ready to reclaim the throne with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Anna Schmiedlova.

World No 1 Serena's resume includes six Miami titles but before her reign began with a first victory in 2002 it was big sister Venus who was the Queen of South beach having hoisted the trophy three times (2001, 1999, 1998).

"I haven't won Miami (in a while) but at least I've won (in Dubai). That's how I look at it," smiled Williams, who won the in the Middle East last month. "I figure another win would be very sweet.

"My whole plan is to be playing. That's it."


Image: Venus Williams of the USA in action
Photographs: Warren Little/Getty Images

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'My goal from Doha and Dubai was to be seeded here and got that'

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Venus, at 33 the oldest player in the women's draw, joined her sister in the third round on Friday despite an uneven performance that included five double faults and 35 unforced errors.

"I have small goals. My goal from Doha and Dubai was to be seeded here and got that.

"Then obviously my next goal is to be in the top 20 and ultimately the top 15.

"To make those steps you do have to play well and I want to win tournaments."


Image: Venus Williams of the United States in action against Anna Schmedlova of Slovakia
Photographs: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

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Li Na handed walkover

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Elsewhere, World No 2 Li Na advanced to the third round without hitting a single ball when Russia's Alisa Kleybanova withdrew because of a viral illness.

After a first round bye, the Australian Open winner was supposed to lead off what has been dubbed the 'parade of champions' on the Crandon Park centre court.

Even without Li, however, the lineup remained a mouth-watering one with 17-time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer, World No 2 Novak Djokovic, Williams and defending champion Andy Murray all in action.

Kleybanova, who is fighting her way back up the rankings after battling Hodgkin's lymphoma, handed her Chinese opponent a walkover due to a viral infection.


Image: Li Na
Photographs: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

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Jankovic became the biggest casualty

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Third seed Agnieszka Radwanska, the Sony champion in 2012, arrived in Miami riding the momentum from a runner-up finish last Sunday at Indian Wells but the Pole's participation had been left in doubt by a knee injury,

Radwanska, however, displayed no signs of distress as she thumped Swiss Romina Oprandi 6-0, 6-4 in just 74 minutes.

Seventh seed Jelena Jankovic became the biggest casualty in the women's draw when the Serb was taken out 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (7-2) by American Varvara Lepchenko, while 13th seeded Italian Roberta Vinci was stopped 6-4, 2-6, 7-5 by Czech Barbora Zahlavova Strycova.

Slovakian 10th seed Dominika Cibulkova, who lost the Australian Open final to Li, sped past Austria's Yvonne Meusburger 6-1, 6-2 to reach the third round.


Image: Jelena Jankovic of Serbia reacts
Photographs: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

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Murray wobbles

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It was left to defending champion Murray to provide a bit of late night drama, taming Australian Matthew Ebden 3-6, 6-0, 6-1 as the clock approached midnight.

Murray, who split with coach Ivan Lendl earlier in the week, got the contest off to an unsteady start when Ebden broke him at the first opportunity and then held serve to quickly jump in front 3-0 on his way to easily taking the opening set.

After storming through the second set, Murray was broken at the start of the third which sent the Briton into a towel tossing rage as he berated himself.

The chastising had the desired result as the sixth seed immediately broke back to get on level terms and raced through the next five games to clinch a convincing victory.

"You do what you do to win a match," said Murray. "It's not always about how you play or how calm you are on the court, it's about winning the tennis match. That's what matters.

"I won the next six games after that so maybe it nothing to do with it, maybe it helped. I just got on with it and won the match."


Image: Andy Murray of Great Britain celebrates match point
Photographs: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

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Federer celebrated his return to Miami hardcourts

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After a year's absence, fifth seeded Federer celebrated his return to the Miami hardcourts with a clinical 6-4, 7-6 (4) win over towering Ivo Karlovic.

A twice winner at Crandon Park, Federer did not visit Miami last year, taking an extended layoff before starting his season. But he looked quite at home, needing just 74 minutes to slay the 6-foot, 11-inch (2.11m) Croatian in a slugfest that featured just one break of serve.

"I was able to play a very clean match on my service games throughout, make sure I had a lot of first serves in, make sure I stayed aggressive from the baseline," said Federer. "I think it worked really well, hardly any unforced errors.

"There are no long rallies. It's just like more penalty shootout, like in soccer.

"It's about quick reaction, not getting frustrated and feeling that the returner is the one who has got less pressure."


Image: Roger Federer of Switzerland celebrates match point against Ivo Carlovic of Croatia
Photographs: Al Bello/Getty Images

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Good serves and good shots

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Djokovic launched his bid for a fourth Miami title in impressive fashion, dispatching Frenchman Jeremy Chardy 6-4, 6-3.

Djokovic, riding the momentum from his victory at Indian Wells into South Beach, jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the opening set before breaking Frenchman Chardy to secure a 1-0 lead.

There was only one break in the second set and that went to Djokovic, who nosed in front 5-3 before serving out for victory.

"It's a straight sets win and when I was supposed to play my best and come up with some good serves and good shots, that's what I have done in both sets," said Djokovic. "That's what matters the most to me."


Image: Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates
Photographs: Al Bello/Getty Images

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Ferrer, Gasque advance

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In other action, fourth seeded Spaniard David Ferrer and ninth seeded Frenchman Richard Gasquet both had straight sets passages to the next round.

Ferrer, who lost last year's final to Andy Murray, returned to action after sitting out the Masters series event in Indian Wells with a left abductor strain and showed no hint of rust as he cruised past Russian Teymuraz Gabashvili 6-4, 6-0.

Gasquet was given a tougher task but eventually dispatched 83rd ranked Colombian Alejandro Gonzalez 7-6 (7), 6-4.


Image: David Ferrer of Spain in action against Teymuraz Gabashvili of Russia
Photographs: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

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