Medvedev survives cramps and serious scare in Miami, Auger-Aliassime falls

By Sports Desk March 28, 2021

Russian star Daniil Medvedev overcame painful cramps and Alexei Popyrin to battle his way into the Miami Open round of 16.

Medvedev looked in all sorts of trouble against the Australian, but the world number two and top seed survived at the ATP 1000 tournament on Sunday.

Canadian sensation Felix Auger-Aliassime was sent packing by former champion John Isner in Miami.

 

MEDVEDEV ADVANCES… SOMEHOW

Australian Open and US Open runner-up Medvedev could barely walk during his gruelling three-set win against Popyrin.

Medvedev let three match points slip away in the second set, having led 5-2, before cramp set in.

In humid conditions, Medvedev was forced to rely on his serve as he limped around the court.

"Winning a Grand Slam final in straight sets doesn't feel the way I felt after the match point today," he said. "A match to remember for sure."

"I felt like my legs were not following me anymore," Medvedev said. "The only thing I was thinking about is not to fall down, because if you fall down, I don't think I would be able to get up. There were a few moments I just wanted to lay down and say, 'OK, it's over.' That's the thing I couldn't accept myself to do."

Awaiting Medvedev is Frances Tiafoe after he outlasted 16th seed Dusan Lajovic 1-6 7-5 6-3.

 

AUGER-ALIASSIME TOPPLED

A new year, but same result for 11th seed Auger-Aliassime, who was beaten 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-5) by Isner.

Isner defeated Auger-Aliassime en route to the championship match in Miami two years ago and the big-serving American repeated the feat.

The only former Miami champion in this year's field, Isner remains unbeaten in tie-breaks at Hard Rock Stadium, winning all 11 since the tournament relocated in 2019.

"It was a big test for me. There's probably not many places in the world where I like my chances against Felix," Isner said. "I'm kind of lucky to play him here in Miami, where I like it a lot. If I were to play him on clay somewhere in Europe, it'd probably be a different story."

Next up is seventh seed Roberto Bautista-Agut, who beat Jan-Lennard Struff 4-6 6-3 6-2.

Elsewhere, Jannik Sinner, Taylor Fritz, Emil Ruusuvuori and Alexander Bublik also advanced.

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    Ash Barty is a class above her peers right now – and 2022 is hers to dominate even further on the grand slam stage.

    Barty ended Australia's wait for a singles champion in Melbourne after a 6-3 7-6 (7-2) win over Danielle Collins in the final on Saturday.

    The world number one dealt with the pressure of such high expectations to become the first local Australian Open singles champion in 44 years.

    Barty had already ended another drought – becoming the first Australian women's singles finalist in 42 years.

    The composure she showed during that semi-final win over Madison Keys was again prevalent in the decider against Collins, who predictably threatened and looked certain to force a deciding set on Rod Laver Arena.

    Despite the expectations, there was a constant sense of calm and almost inevitability to Barty's success in Melbourne in 2022.

    In every moment, Barty seemed unfazed by everything around her, in a zone of her own, even at 5-1 down in the second set in front of an electric home crowd. Barty would have been excused for some panic, the fear of letting down the masses awaiting and anticipating a local Australian Open singles champion. But she didn't, and her calmness was mostly mirrored by those in the stands, who eventually got what they came for.

    And Barty's confidence was well-founded. She was far too good for each of her opponents, losing just 21 games on her way to the decider before facing a tougher test against Collins.

    Barty became the second active women's singles player to win a grand slam on every surface after adding the Australian Open to her 2019 French Open and 2021 Wimbledon titles, joining the great Serena Williams.

    Her coach, Craig Tyzzer, warned on Australia Day that Barty had "played better at times" in her career. But there was a steely resolve about Barty, whose focus and concentration was even more impenetrable than her serve throughout the fortnight. The emotions were released after championship point was converted with a cross-court forehand pass.

    The fact there could be more to come from Barty is a warning to the rest of the WTA Tour. That she managed all the pressure and expectation to win an Australian Open without dropping a set says a lot.

    "She seems very focused, but she's playing very within herself, and it just seems like everything is really working for her right now without playing unbelievable tennis for her," said Keys after being crushed in the last four. "I think the rest of us are watching it thinking, 'Wow, this is incredible', but when you watch her, she seems completely in control of all of it."

    Conquered by Barty in the quarter-finals, Jessica Pegula admitted the Australian was simply better than everyone else.

    "Just to do it two out of three sets for somebody to beat her is tough because she just makes you play so much and does everything so well," she said. "Yeah, I think she's definitely living in everyone's head a little bit. I don't think anyone is going to feel great going out to play her because they know they have to play really well."

    Barty has made history and delivered one of the iconic moments in Australian sport. She is a step above her opponents right now, and more history could await in 2022.

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    Ash Barty defeated Danielle Collins in an enthralling final to cap a supreme Australian Open campaign with a maiden title in her home grand slam.

    Barty was made to work hard for her success by unlikely finalist Collins and had to come from 5-1 down in the second set to prevail 6-3 7-6 (7-2) on Rod Laver Arena.

    It was to the delight of a partisan Melbourne crowd, who saw an Australian triumph in a singles event at the season's first major for the first time since Chris O'Neil in 1978.

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    With the crowd behind her, Barty got into her groove, holding with ease before two fantastic forehands paved the way for her to serve out the set.

    Barty seemed primed to take the match away from Collins in the second set, yet the top seed was stunned as she slumped to a 3-0 deficit.

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    There were more fist pumps from Collins as she held to go 4-1 up. A brilliant passing shot gave Barty hope in the next game, but she rushed a volley and followed with a double fault to hand her opponent two break points.

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    DATA SLAM: Barty's home run

    The first Australian woman since 1980 to reach the final of this major, Barty became the first woman to win a grand slam title in her home country since Sloane Stephens triumphed at the 2017 US Open.

    She is also the first woman ranked world number one to lift the trophy since Serena Williams in 2015, ending a run of top-ranked players losing the Australian Open final, after Simona Halep in 2018 and Serena Williams in 2016.

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    Barty – 30/22
    Collins – 17/22

    ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
    Barty – 10/3
    Collins – 1/2

    BREAK POINTS WON
    Barty – 3/5
    Collins – 2/4

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