Miami Open 2019 recap: Federer dominates, Auger-Aliassime impresses, Kyrgios astounds
The Miami Open concluded on Sunday with Roger Federer winning the tournament for the fourth time in his career after defeating John Isner 6-1, 6-4 in the final. In women's singles, the young Australian Ashleigh Barty defeated the former World No. 1 Karolina Pliskova 7-6, 6-3 to claim her first Premier Mandatory title.
In the men's draw, the biggest upset was the elimination of World Number 1 Novak Djokovic by the Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut in three sets (1-6, 7-5, 6-3) in the fourth round. It remains to be seen whether Djokovic is in sound health both physically and mentally as he prepares for the clay challenge ahead.
Rafael Nadal withdrew from the tournament following a knee injury which had also forced him to pull out of his semi-final match against Federer in Indian Wells.
David Ferrer ended his stint in Miami on a high note as he defeated World number 3 Alexander Zverev in the second round. Later, he lost to young American Frances Tiafoe in the third round.
Nick Kyrgios bowed down to Borna Coric in the quarterfinals as he failed to remain steady enough in the face of the unrelenting pressure from the Croat. He still managed to produce the point of the tournament though, which will be talked about below.
Breakout player of the tournament
The dominance of the top players in the Majors is still intact, but when it comes to ATP 1000 or 500 tournaments, the young guns are giving the Big 3 a run for their money. Be it Zverev or Kyrgios or Tsitsipas, they have all proved that they can get the job done when it matters.
One such young star who has started to shine right from the start of 2019 is the Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime.
Auger-Aliassime was the runner-up at the Rio Open earlier this year and lost in the fourth round of Indian Wells to the young Japanese player Yoshihito Nishioka. Even in Indian Wells, he stunned Tsitsipas in the second round.
After going through qualifying in Miami, he defeated Nikoloz Basilashvilli and Borna Coric, and got close to defeating John Isner in the semi-finals as well. In that match, Auger-Aliassime had chances in both the sets but failed to capitalize due to his inexperience in pressure situations.
With a solid combination of attack and defense, Auger-Aliassime is the player to watch out for in the remainder of the ATP season.
Match of the tournament
There were some exciting matches throughout the course of the tournament, but the 4th round match between Shapovalov and Tsitsipas stands out from the rest. The quality of the shots that was produced by both the players throughout of the match was truly extraordinary.
Two single-handed backhand players who like to attack from the baseline, Shapovalov and Tsitsipas produced a classic which started during the early hours of Tuesday.
Both the players exchanged incredible winners from either end in their pursuit to get the win. But Shapovalov was the first one to lose his serve in the match, and he went on to lose the first set 4-6.
There were some amazing rallies in the second set but this time Shapovalov was too good, especially from the baseline, as he hit some amazing winners from both wings.
Neither player seemed bothered about the length of the match as they both tried to out-class the other in the first two sets. And in the third set they made full use of their lethal serves to take the match to a deciding tiebreaker.
It was just a matter of losing one point from there, and in the end that one point made the whole difference to the course of the match. This time Tsitsipas was on the receiving end as he lost the tie-break and the match.
Shapovalov's first serve percentage in that match was 74% whereas Tsitsipas's first serve percentage was 71%. Both the players won 100 points each on the whole, which is an indication of how close the match was.
Shapovalov eventually lost to Roger Federer in the semi-finals.
Shot of the tournament
Irrespective of the result of the match, players like Gael Monfils and Nick Kyrgios always surprise the audience with their unique shot-making.
In his quarter-final match against Borna Coric, Kyrgios hit a tweener that will forever be etched in the history of the Miami Open.
Have a look at the shot here:
And yes, finally, a word about the man who won the title. Federer struggled in his first two matches but found top form from his fourth round match against Daniil Medvedev. There were many appearances of vintage Federer in all of his matches from there on.
He was dominant once again when pitted against the younger players, and took home title No. 101 in the process. He is going to play on clay for the first time since 2016 this year, and the fans will be eager to see how he fares at the Madrid Open in May.
Modified Dec 20, 2019