Miami Open 2023: Elise Mertens breaks six-year curse to beat Daria Kasatkina in second round

Mertens had only ever won once before in the second round of the 2017 New Haven tournament, giving Kasatkina a 4-1 head-to-head advantage.

Elise Mertens in a file photo (image: twitter)
By Nilavro Ghosh | Mar 24, 2023 | 3 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

Elise Mertens defeated Daria Kasatkina 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 in the second round of the Miami Open, breaking her unfavourable trend against the No. 8 seed. Mertens had only ever won once before in the second round of the 2017 New Haven tournament, giving Kasatkina a 4-1 head-to-head advantage going into the match. After losing the opening set after leading 3-0 double-break, the Belgian lost all three sets they played in the following matches.

Kasatkina, who required a medical time-out towards the end of the second set, started to feel sick, but Mertens recovered. She had made 28 unforced errors in the first set, which cost her the lead. However, she significantly tightened up in the second, giving up only four points on serve. Mertens decreased her error total to 17 over the course of the second and third sets combined.

The 39-ranked Mertens deployed smart tactics in the decider as Kasatkina’s energy visibly sapped away. She relentlessly extended the rallies and dismantled Kasatkina’s forehand to win the opening game. Kasatkina’s double fault gave Mertens the double-break advantage for 5-2, and she won with her third ace of the day.

The result was Mertens’ 10th career Top 10 win, and first since she defeated Simona Halep in the third round of Madrid 2021. As she attempts to make it to the Miami last 16 for a second time, she will next play either No. 29 seed Petra Martic or Wang Xiyu.

Bianca Andreescu ousts Emma Raducanu in first round

In the Miami Open on Wednesday, Bianca Andreescu defeated Emma Raducanu 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 in 2 hours and 33 minutes. The 2021 finalist Andreescu won their first-round match in Rome last year after Raducanu withdrew due to a lower back injury while trailing 6-2, 2-1. This time, the rivals engaged in three exciting sets of combat.

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“You never know what to expect,” Andreescu said on court. “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.”

The seventh seed Maria Sakkari will be the next opponent for the 22-year-old Canadian in the second round. She and Sakkari had previously had two close meetings that she had to decide between. In the 2021 Miami semifinals, Andreescu prevailed 7-6(7), 3-6, 7-6(4), but Sakkari triumphed 6-7(2), 7-6(6), 6-3 a few months later in the fourth round of the US Open.

In comparison to Raducanu’s 20, Andreescu scored 32 victories, including seven aces. Compared to the 20-year-40 old’s unforced errors, she made 34 of them. Under pressure, both players played at their best, as evidenced by the 11 break points saved by Andreescu out of a possible 12 and the eight by Raducanu out of a possible 11.

(Information taken from official WTA website)

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