Miami Open draw: Emma Raducanu handed nightmare opener

Emma Raducanu at Indian Wells

British No 1 Emma Raducanu is set for a tough start to her Miami Open campaign after she was drawn against Bianca Andreescu.

Raducanu and Andreescu could be set to contest the match of the first round, with the top 32 seeds not in action until the second round.

The match is a battle between two former US Open champions, with Raducanu’s win in 2021 coming two years after Andreescu lifted the trophy in New York.

Raducanu won three matches in succession at Indian Wells before going out to world no 1 Iga Swiatek, who had earlier accounted for Andreescu.

Andreescu has great memories in Miami, having gained the championship match in 2021 only to lose to Ash Barty.

The pair’s clash comes in the third quarter of the draw.

Things will not get any easier for the winner, who is goes on to face No 7 seed Maria Sakkari in the second round. Sakkari is coming off a semi-final showing in Indian Wells.

Defending champion Swiatek sits at the top of the draw as the No 1 seed.

Swiatek was carrying an injury at Indian Wells and will assess her health before her second-round match, where she will play the winner of the first-round match between Katerina Siniakova and Claire Liu.

The world no 1 isn’t quite in the same kind of groove as she was last term while she was in the midst of a 37-match winning run, which stands as the best on the WTA Tout this century.

Swiatek enjoyed a run to the semi-finals at Indian Wells but won’t have an easy time of it in Miami with potential Round of 16 opponents, including No 13 Beatriz Haddad Maia or No 24 Jelena Ostapenko.

Ostapenko was the Miami Open runner-up in 2018, the last event held at the old venue in Key Biscayne.

Swiatek won’t thank the tennis gods for placing 2022 Wimbledon champion Elina Rybakina in her path.

The world No 1 could meet the woman who beat her at Indian Wells last week, in the last eight in Miami.

Rybakina, No 8 Daria Kasatkina, and No 21 Paula Badosa are the seeds in the bottom portion of the top quarter of the draw.

The top two Americans, No 3 Jessica Pegula and No. 6 Coco Gauff might face off in an All-American quarterfinal matchup.

The 14th seed Victoria Azarenka, who has won the Miami Open twice, might be Pegula’s opponent in the Round of 16. Before that, Pegula might have to go through Danielle Collins, a fellow American ranked 30th, and Linda Fruhvirtova, a promising Czech prospect.

In order to advance to the quarterfinals, Gauff may have to overcome No 12 Liudmila Samsonova, No 23 Zheng Qinwen, No 27 Anastasia Potapova, and recent Austin winner Marta Kostyuk.

Belinda Bencic, Leylah Fernandez, and Sofia Kenin all lurk in this competitive section. In the second round, Bencic and Fernandez might be set for a face off.

Ons Jabeur, who is ranked No. 4, and will face Maryna Zanevska or a qualifier in the second round will anchor the third quarter. 

Jabeur, who competed in her first match since the Australian Open in Indian Wells, might face No. 15 Petra Kvitova or No. 22 Donna Vekic in the Round of 16.

The bottom of the draw is where Aryna Sabalenka lies. She is 17-1 for the year and won the Australian Open.

The winner of the match between Sloane Stephens, the 2017 US Open champion, and Shelby Rogers will play Sabalenka in the second round .

The Round of 16 matchup between Sabalenka and No. 16 Barbora Krejcikova might be their third consecutive WTA 1000 tournament matchup. In Dubai, Krejcikova dealt Sabalenka her lone defeat of the year, but Sabalenka exacted revenge in the round of 16 at Indian Wells.

The top three players in the fourth quarter are No. 5 Caroline Garcia, No. 11 Veronika Kudermetova, and No. 17 Karolina Pliskova. 

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