2021 Miami Open talking points: Naomi Osaka’s win-streak snapped, Daniil Medvedev’s kryptonite
After falling victim to the pandemic in 2020, the Miami Open returned this year with Naomi Osaka looking to continue her recent dominance of hard courts and with some notable absentees including Serena Williams and tennis’ Big Three of Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
Isaac Seelochan looks at the talking points from a unique tournament in Florida.
Osaka bagelled en route to having win-streak snapped
Having last tasted defeat about 13 months ago, Naomi Osaka’s 23 match-winning streak finally came to an end when she was beaten by Maria Sakkari in the quarter-finals.
But it was the manor of the defeat which caused the biggest shock as few would have predicted that the world No 2 would be bagelled 6-0 during a straight-sets defeat.
23 unforced errors came from the racket of Osaka with 12 of them coming in the opening set from the US and Australian Open champion.
In contrast, her opponent hit 22 winners in a fantastic performance after saving six match points in her previous match against Jessica Pegula.
Sinner’s breakthrough despite final defeat
Much hype has surrounded Jannick Sinner with the likes of Djokovic, Chris Evert and Goran Ivanisevic hailing his potential.
The 19-year-old’s run to the final will have done little to dampen such excitement despite a rather flat performance against Hubert Hurkacz.
But his coach, Riccardo Piatti insists that the Italian still has a long way to go.
“Jannik needs to play at least 150 matches before he understands the ATP Tour. He hasn’t even played Wimbledon yet,” he said on Amazon Prime Video before Sunday’s final.
Injury halts Bianca Andreescu again
The 2019 US Open champion missed the majority of 2020 through injury and after an early exit at the Australian Open was looking to make a triumphant return in Miami.
The Canadian battled past the likes of Garbine Muguruza and Sakkari, but once again an injury struck and the 20-year-old was forced to retire when 6-3, 4-0 down to Ashleigh Barty in the final.
In fairness, Barty was in command for much of the match before Andreescu’s injury but it’s another untimely setback for the 20-year-old who will be hoping to recover quickly in order to have a successful clay court campaign.
The injury means she will miss Canada’s Billie Jean King Cup tie against Serbia but she said on Instagram: “I’m relieved to say that there is no serious injury and with some rest and preparation, I will be back very soon.”
Bautista-Agut proving to be Medvedev’s kryptonite
Not much has stood in the way of Daniil Medvedev on a tennis court recently, but Roberto Bautista Agut can certainly claim to be a major obstacle in his path after beating the Russian in the quarter-finals.
RBA leads the head-to-head between the pair 3-0 since their first match in Chennai four years ago, with Medvedev taking just a single set during their three previous meetings.
It is perhaps no coincidence that Novak Djokovic, who has a similar playing style to Medvedev, has also struggled against the Spaniard recently having lost two of their last four encounters.
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