Miami | Andreescu fells Raducanu as Swiatek pulls out

There was disappointment for fans as Emma Raducanu, the British No 1, fell to Bianca Andreescu in her opening round at the Miami Open Presented by Itaú on Wednesday, 6-3 3-6 6-2, and news broke that top seed Iga Swiatek had withdrawn due to a rib injury.

You never know what to expect. I just came in here wanting to play my best with what I had today, and I think I did that. Emma played amazing. She’s an incredible player and I have a lot of respect for her. I didn’t let my negative emotions get the best of me. I stayed positive, I was very energetic and I never gave up. Bianca Andreescu

“I wanted to wait ’til the last minute to decide whether to play in Miami,” Swiatek said at a news conference on site. “We were kind of checking if this is the kind of injury you can still play with, or this is the kind when you can get things worse.

“So I think the smart move for me is to pull out of this tournament because I want to rest and take care of it properly.

“You know that in and after Doha I was struggling with a strong infection,” Swiatek added. “I was allowed to play, but a strong episode of tough cough led to a rib injury.

“We were trying to handle it, and continue to play as long as it was safe for me. We were analysing the data in the last days, and my doctor prepared my diagnosis.

“Unfortunately, I’m still feeling a lot of discomfort and pain and I can’t compete.”

The World No 1 from Poland, who was the defending champion in Miami, has also withdrawn from the Billie Jean Cup Qualifiers in early April but hopes to return in a month for the clay at Stuttgart.

Bianca Andreescu beat Emma Raducanu in 3 sets in Miami on Wednesday

© Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Injury, it seems, was also at the root of Raducanu’s demise in the battle of two former US Open champions at the Hard Rock Stadium in Florida.

There are similarities between the two, as both were born in Toronto and have Romanian heritage, and both won the US Open as teenagers on their tournament debut, but have since struggled with injuries and inconsistency.

The Canadian bolted out of the blocks in the first match of Day 2, using aggressive tactics on her return to break Raducanu off the bat, a lead she maintained for the rest of the set.

She repeatedly opened up the court by injecting pace at the Raducanu backhand, and slammed down 4 aces among her first set 12 winners, as the Briton racked up 15 unforced errors to only 3 winners.

Raducanu fought back in the second with greater aggression, particularly in the crucial 8th game, in which time and again, she forced her way to break point, only for Andreescu to fend it off.

On the 10th deuce, Raducanu found her best forehand winner of the game, and converted her 7th break point as Andreescu drilled the ball wide.

Having won the marathon 26-point game to go up 5-3, Raducanu eventually served out the set, but she missed 3 break chances at the start of the third, then was broken to go down 4-2, as Andreescu successfully re-grouped.

When Raducanu double-faulted, the only one of the match from either of them, to bring up break points for the Canadian, Andreescu converted on the second with a thumping forehand down the line.

With the finish line in sight, Andreescu ended the 2 hour, 32-minute clash on her first match point with another break when Raducanu sent a running forehand long.

“Miami has a special place in my heart,” Andreescu said.. “I’ve been coming here since I was I think 12 years old, whether it’s for vacation or training or, yeah, Orange Bowl.

“I love that tournament very much. Yeah, coming back here, I think it’s just good vibes overall.”

The 22-year-old fired 7 aces, saved 11 of 12 break chances and did not drop a point on second serve in the third set, while she also tallied 32 winners to Raducanu’s 20, and made 34 unforced errors to the 20-year-old’s 40.

Both brought their best out under pressure, which was reflected in the 11 break points that Andreescu saved out of 12, while Raducanu defended 8 out of 11.

“You never know what to expect,” Andreescu told the crowd. “I just came in here wanting to play my best with what I had today, and I think I did that.

“Emma played amazing. She’s an incredible player and I have a lot of respect for her.

“I didn’t let my negative emotions get the best of me. I stayed positive, I was very energetic and I never gave up.”

Andreescu took the last 4 games of the match and has now won both of tour-level head-to-head meetings with Raducanu.

The 22-year-old Canadian will next take on No 7 seed Maria Sakkari from Greece in round 2, having split their two previous meetings with both coming down to the wire.

Emma Raducanu came back to win the second set but was broken early in the third

© Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

“I think that in the third, obviously, I went 0-40 first game on her serve,” Raducanu said later. “She played a few good service points.

“I missed one second-serve return, which I went for against the wind. Then I think that I was going for my shots early third set, but I was just missing.”

Raducanu will now consider her options as the wrist injury she has been nursing during the spring hard-court season continues to flare up and she needs to find a long-term solution to the issue.

“I just need to review after this tournament, really, and figure out what my next steps are,” Raducanu said. “We have been managing it, keeping on top of it. I’m able to play in the short term. But the current solutions aren’t very viable, long term.”

Now ranked 72, Raducanu, felt the injury flare up during her training ahead of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, where she put in her best run at a tournament since winning the US Open in 2021 to reach the Round of 16, where she lost to Swiatek.

“I think that I’m doing the right things, day to day, which brings me confidence,” Raducanu added. “I feel like this year has been difficult in the sense that I have been managing a few existing injuries.

“Yeah, that has been annoying and frustrating because I’ve been working as best as I can.

“I feel, like, I’m enjoying the competition. Yeah, just really, really happy to be on the match court.”

Andreescu can relate to Raducanu’s frustration, having suffered injuries and mental health concerns since winning the US Open in 2019.

“I would honestly really, really like to speak to her because of that, because of our similarities,” Andreescu said. “I mean, she’s also Romanian. She was born in Toronto, which is super, super crazy.

“Definitely I would love to speak to her, for sure. Maybe we can help each other out.”

Raducanu’s next scheduled event is the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, Germany, which begins on begins on 17 April, and where she has received a main draw wild-card.

Shelby Rogers took out Sloane Stephens, a former US Open and Miami Open champion, on Day 2 at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida

© Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Another US Open champion, Sloane Stephens, also was eliminated from the Miami Open on Wednesday, falling to countrywoman Shelby Rogers, 6-4 3-6 6-2, and leaving Victoria Azarenka as the lone former champion left in the women’s draw.

The American has 6 hard-court titles to her credit, including the 2017 US Open and Miami in 2018.

Rogers will face Australian Open champion and World No 2 Aryna Sabalenka from Belarus next, while a 3rd American, Madison Brengle, got a late retirement from compatriot Amanda Anisimova, who called it quits when down, 7-6(5), 5-2, and will meet Donna Vekic, the 22nd seed from Croatia.

Also among the handful of American 1st-round winners were 2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin, 18-year-old Robin Montgomery and Taylor Townsend.

Kenin, a former World No 4, fended off a late come-back by Australian qualifier Storm Hunter before prevailing, 6-0 7-6(5), in 1 hour and 23 minutes on the Grandstand, while wild-card Montgomery earned her first career WTA main-draw victory by overcoming Romania’s Ana Bogdan, 3-6 6-3 6-3, after a 2 hour battle.

Townsend reached the 2nd-round by winning against Hungarian Anna Bondar, 6-4 6-0, at the Hard Rock Stadium on Wednesday evening, still less than a year into her return from maternity leave.

Leylah Fernandez came back from deficits in both sets to beat Lesia Tsurenko and set up a meeting with Belinda Bencic next

© Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Canada’s Leylah Fernandez was also a 1st-round winner, after the 20-year-old left-hander came back from deficits in both sets to oust Ukrainian qualifier Lesia Tsurenko, 6-4 6-3, and win a main-draw match at the Miami Open for the first time.

Fernandez, who was runner-up to Raducanu at the 2021 US Open, cracked 25 winners to Tsurenko’s 14 in a high-quality affair on the Grandstand court, in the first meeting between the two.

Tsurenko, a former US Open quarter-finalist, took a 4-0 lead in the first set but the Canadian pulled back level at 4-4 with a drop-shot winner, and went all the way to a one-set lead from there, reeling off 6 games in a row after being down the double-break.

Fernandez twice went down a break in the second as well, but she used her stunning speed and excellent timing to win out in rallies down the stretch, saving 2 break points in the final game of the match before slamming a rally forehand winner to prevail.

She will now square off against No 9 seed Belinda Bencic from Switzerland in the 2nd-round.

Czech qualifier Karolina Muchova enjoyed an easy win over Swiss Jil Teichmann, 6-0 6-2, while Belarusian Aliaksandra Sasnovich toppled Dalma Galfi from Hungary, 6-3, 7-6(5), and teenagers Linda Noskova from Czech Republic and Erika Andreeva also advanced, with wins over Italy’s Lucia Bronzetti, 6-3 6-4, and Ashlyn Krueger, a fellow American wild-card, 7-5 6-2, respectively.



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