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Miami Open 2018: Novak Djokovic and Caroline Wozniacki shocked, Juan Martin del Potro wins

A round-up of Friday's action at the Miami Open 2018

FEATURED COLUMNIST
News 24 Mar 2018, 13:05 IST
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Miami Open 2018 - Day 5
Benoit Paire (left) and Novak Djokovic shake hands after their match in Miami on Friday

The Miami Open 2018 witnessed some shock defeats on Friday as two of the biggest names in the tennis world crashed out of the high-profile tournament held in Crandon Park, Florida. Six-time champion Novak Djokovic’s woes continue as he fell 3-6, 4-6 to World No. 47 Benoit Paire in the second round.

The Serb was seeded ninth this time as he struggles to find his way back to the top echelons of the sport after an elbow surgery. With this loss, his staggering 16-match winning streak ends in Miami.

Djokovic dropped his serve four times and managed to earn just one service break. This was the third consecutive defeat for the 12-time Grand Slam champion after setbacks at the Australian Open and at Indian Wells.

“I’m trying, but it’s not working. That’s all. That’s all it is,” a despondent Djokovic told the media after the shock defeat.

Fifth seed and Indian Wells winner Juan Martin del Potro had to battle hard for a 6-4, 5-7, 6-2 win over World No. 44 Robin Haase. With that victory, he set up a blockbuster third round clash with former US Open runner-up Kei Nishikori.

The 26th seeded Japanese is also making a return to the sport after overcoming a wrist injury at the beginning of the season. He needed 2 hours 51 minutes to prevail over Australia’s John Millman 7-6(4), 4-6, 6-3.

Second seed and 2017 Australian Open runner-up Marin Cilic defeated Pierre-Hugues Herbert 7-5, 6-3 to advance to the third round. Third seed Grigor Dimitrov, who won the ATP World Tour Finals in November, came back from a set down to beat Maximilian Marterer 4-6, 6-2, 6-1.

12th seeded Roberto Bautista Agut, who conquered the Dubai Open in February, succumbed to a 6-7(4), 6-2, 4-6 defeat to American qualifier Michael Mmoh. Seventh seeded David Goffin’s comeback from a freak eye injury did not last long as he was blanked 0-6, 1-6 by Joao Sousa.

19th seed and Australian Open semi-finalist Hyeon Chung staved off a tough challenge in the second set from Matthew Ebden for a 6-3, 7-5 win. Former Wimbledon runner-up Milos Raonic rode on 16 aces to beat Mikael Ymer 6-3, 6-3.

Wozniacki departs, Osaka falls

On the women’s side, the reigning Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki suffered a second round loss even after a terrific start. The World No. 2 bagelled the Olympic gold medallist Monica Puig in the first set.

However, the Puerto Rican still managed to mount a comeback and downed the Dane 0-6, 6-4, 6-4 in a surprise result.

Both the Indian Wells winner Naomi Osaka and the Indian Wells runner-up Daria Kasatkina headed for the exit on Friday as well. After beating Serena Williams in the earlier round, Osaka failed to do much against the fourth seeded Elina Svitolina and went down 4-6, 2-6.

19th seeded Kasatkina squandered a one-set lead to slump to a 6-3, 2-6, 2-6 defeat to 19-year-old American qualifier Sofia Kenin.

Eighth seeded Venus Williams had no such problem and notched up a 7-5, 6-4 win over World No. 88 Natalia Vikhlyantseva. Ninth seeded Petra Kvitova had to fight hard to eke out 7-5, 3-6, 6-3 win over Aryna Sabalenka. French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko too joined them in Round 3 after a 6-4, 6-4 defeat of Timea Babos.

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