MIAMI, March 29, 2016
Miami Open‘s third round action continued on Monday with eight matches from the bottom half of the men’s draw.
26th seed Grigor Dimitrov upset second favourite and two time champion at Crandon Park Andy Murray, winning 6-7, 6-4, 6-3. The 24-year-old Bulgarian won 74% of his first service points and converted six of his seven break point opportunities to post his first top 10 win since Madrid in May last year. The encounter lasted two hours and 25 minutes.
“To be honest, I just played better in the big moments today,” Dimitrov said. “I had quite a few opportunities and I used them.
“Even though I lost the first set, I kept good composure. I had to stay in the match and I had to be really focused. I think when I was 3-1 down in the third set, I knew I was going to get another chance because I was returning well, playing well in the key moments. I’m happy with all those things.”
Murray suffered his third loss against Dimitrov, his first since Acapulco 2014, but still leading 6-3 in head to head records.
“I made a lot of unforced errors in the third set,” Murray said. “Obviously, I didn’t start the second set particularly well. After winning a close first set you want to try and put your opponent under pressure.
“I think I lost my first two service games to love, so that wasn’t very good. Then in the third set, he managed to get up a break and then I made a lot of unforced errors. Credit to him. He was more solid than me.”
Dimitrov will play Gael Monfils next. The tournament’s number 16 from France defeated Pablo Cuevas 6-3, 6-4 for the third time in as many meetings between the two. Monfils didn’t face a break point and fired 13 aces to match his career best run in Miami after one hour and 10 minutes.
Kei Nishikori has reached the fourth round at Crandon Park for the fifth straight year with a comfortable 6-2, 6-2 victory over 27th seed Alexandr Dologopolov. The world number six converted five of his 16 break point chances, winning 73% of his first service points to advance after one hour and 11 minutes.
“Everything worked well,” Nishikori said. “Not many easy mistakes and I served well today, so that was the key.”
Nishikori will take on Roberto Bautista-Agut in the fourth round. The 27-year-old Spaniard also won the rematch of the semi-finals in Auckland this year, rallying 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 against ninth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Bautista-Agut withstood nine aces, winning 101 of the total 196 points to seal victory in two hours and 28 minutes. The world number 18 from Castellón will appear in Miami’s fourth round for the first time, coming into the match with Nishikori with a 0-3 deficit in head to head records.
Miami debutant Nick Kyrgios overcame US-American qualifier Tim Smyczek with a 6-4, 6-4 win. The 20-year-old Aussie lost his serve two times but broke his opponent’s service four times to reach the fourth round after one hour and 27 minutes.
Kyrgios will face Andrey Kuznetsov. The 25-year-old Russian had celebrated his first win at Crandon Park on Thursday, before he scored his second win over a top 10-player beating Stan Wawrinka in the second round. Kuznetsov continued his good form on Monday, downing Adrian Mannarino 2-6, 7-5, 6-0. The world number 51 sent down nine aces and converted five of his 11 break point chances to prevail in one hour and 47 minutes.
12th seed Milos Raonic ousted Jack Sock 7-6, 6-4 in one hour and 47 minutes to set a fourth round meeting with Dami Dzumhur, who rallied past Mikhail Kukushkin 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 in one hour and 57 minutes.
The women’s competition will have a new champion for the first time since 2012, as Svetlana Kuznetsova stunned top-seed Serena Williams, winning 6-7, 6-1, 6-2 in two hours and two minutes.
“I’m really thrilled,” Kuznetsova told during her on-court interview. “I’m sorry, fans who are disappointed that Serena’s not going to keep playing, but for sure she’ll be at more events than here.
“I’m really happy with my performance; I tried to stay at a good level the whole game, put as many balls back. I think I did that pretty well and I’m happy with the way I served today.”
Second seed Angelique Kerber remains the highest ranked player in the draw. The reigning Australian Open champion overcame Timea Babos, winning 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 in two hours and eight minutes to reach the quarterfinals.
“Timea was playing very well,” the German told. “I started the match good and I played a good first set but she came back stronger.
“I was trying to fight until the last point; I was down in the third set and I was just believing in myself that I could turn it around.”