MIAMI, March 27, 2015
The seeded players receive a bye in the opening round at the Miami Open presented by Itaú but the young guns on the ATP World Tour have already stepped into action.
Three of the top five ranked teenagers made it into the second round in Florida. 18-year-old Hyeon Chung was granted a wild card and gave a successful debut at the ATP Masters 1000 series beating Marcel Granollers on Wednesday 6-0, 4-6, 6-4 in two hours and 13 minutes. “It was tough – the weather, the conditions and playing against a high-ranked player, everything was tough,” said Chung. “But I was motivated – I knew if I won that I would get an even better opportunity to play a better player.”
The world number 121 from South Korea, who wears glasses during matches due to a development eye disease, has already reached two finals on ATP Challenger Tour this season claiming his second career title at this level in Burnie in February. Chung will face eighth seed Tomas Berdych in the second round.
Another wild card in person of 18-year-old Thanasi Kokkinakis, who made it to the round 16 in Indian Wells last week, lost to Argentina Carlos Berlocq 4-6, 6-3, 2-6. The world number 68 from Argentina played his only third match on hard court this season, his first since the Australian Open in January, but won 65% of his first service points to seal victory in two hours and 22 minutes. Kokkinakis tweeted after the match:
German Alexander Zverev battled through the qualifying and debuted at his first Masters main draw match with a 7-5, 6-7, 6-4 victory over Sam Groth. The 17-year-old world number 129 fired 22 aces and will meet the tournament’s number 26 Lukas Rosol in the next round.
“It was very hard with the conditions, it was very windy – especially against Sam, one of the best servers in the world. I think I won four points on his serve in the first set but I still managed to break him, so I am very happy with that win,” Zverev told afterwards. “You cannot really prepare for the conditions. You wake up and you see it’s windy and you can’t do anything about it. I only had one day off. I was just taking it easy yesterday, I didn’t do much and I am happy today,” the youngster from Hamburg added. In his home town Zverev reached the semi-finals last year. “This gave me a lot of confidence but it was also hard for me mentally after Hamburg for the rest of the year. I didn’t win a lot of matches before that and didn’t win a lot afterwards but now I am feeling better. I really feel I can win again. I am really excited about this season and see what I can do.” Zverev has also drawn the other youngsters for inspiration. “It’s great to see the young guys come through. Rafa, Roger, Andy and Novak they were all young when they started winning a lot. Most of the Grand Slams went to them right now, so it’s really exciting to see the Young players come through and hopefully one day we can be like them and win big matches as well.” Zverev will turn 18 on April 28th. “I probably will be on a tournament somewhere. Celebration will not very big, as all of my friends will be at home while I will probably sit in my room being on a tournament, having a cake or something. We will see, it’s still far away.”
Borna Coric took out Austrian Andreas Haider-Maurer in a tough match in which both players had to cope with physical problems by the end of the encounter winning 1-6, 6-3, 7-6 after two hours and 30 minutes. The 18-year-old Croat will take on David Goffin next. Both players met once before in Basel 2014 with the better ending for the Belgian winning in three sets.
Only the top-ranked teenager, world number 37 Nick Kyrgios, cannot play in Miami. The 19-year-old Australian revealed that he is sidelined for up to one month with an ankle injury. Kyrgios rolled his ankle late in his second round loss to Grigor Dimitrov in Indian Wells last week.
With 17-year-old Andrey Rublev a kind of substitute could be found. Together with the other young guns the Russian wild card made history as there are now four teenagers in Miami’s second round for the first time since 2007. Rublev, who reached the quarterfinal at the ATP Challenger in Dallas, defeated Pablo Carreῆo-Busta on Thursday 1-6, 6-1, 6-4 in one hour and 51minutes to face John Isner next.