With the top 32 seeds enjoying first-round byes and the big names still transitioning from Indian Wells to Miami, there aren’t any really top stars in action for the first couple of days at the Miami Open but that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of intriguing action to watch.
The first round of women’s matches starts on Tuesday 21 March with 12 main-draw women’s matches on the order of play, highlighted by former French Open runner-up Sara Errani taking on Belinda Bencic – two women at opposite ends of their careers who are both trying to overcome temporary struggles.
Both women have been ranked in the top 10 but the Italian veteran Miami Open Tennis 2017 Live
Errani and Swiss starlet Bencic have both plummeted in the rankings over the past year or so, largely due to injury, and neither has made a good start to 2017 – Bencic has won just two of the eight matches she’s played so far this season while Errani is an equally unimpressive 2-5. The winner of Tuesday’s first-round clash will face 30th seed Zhang Shuai in the second round.
Kristyna Pliskova, the twin sister of second seed Karolina Pliskova, starts her Miami Open campaign on Grandstand court against Mandy Minella. Pliskova has been rising in the rankings after capturing her first career title in Tashkent last year and certainly has the weapons, with her big serve and powerful groundstrokes, to rise further – a win over Luxembourg’s Minella could see the Czech set up a second-round clash with Indian Wells runner-up and 2016 Miami runner-up Svetlana Kuznetsova.
Rising star Naomi Osaka, who made the third round of all three Grand Slams she played in 2016 while still a teenager, takes on Kristina Kucova on Court 1 with the winner to face third seed Simona Halep in the second round, while former Miami Open Tennis 2017 Live Stream
semifinalist Peng Shuai – runner-up in Taipei City earlier this year, and making great strides on her comeback from a serious injury – is in action on the same court against the hard-hitting Danka Kovinic.
Men’s qualifying action includes the young American beanstalk Reilly Opelka and another rising young American star, Ernesto Escobedo, as well as Russian veteran Mikhail Youzhny on Tuesday 21 March.
Play starts 10am local/2pm GMT on all courts unless otherwise stated
Play starts 12pm local/4pm GMT
WTA – M. Minella (LUX) vs Kr. Pliskova (CZE)
WTA – S. Errani (ITA) vs B. Bencic (SUI)
WTA – K. Flipkens (BEL) vs J. Brady (USA)
WTA – C. Witthoeft (GER) vs [WC] N. Gibbs (USA)
ATP – Qualifying – D. King (BAR) vs R. Opelka (USA)
Not Before 11:00 am
WTA – Y. Duan (CHN) vs L. Siegemund (GER)
WTA – K. Kucova (SVK) vs N. Osaka (JPN)
WTA – J. Larsson (SWE) vs M. Niculescu (ROU)
WTA – S. Peng (CHN) vs D. Kovinic (MNE)
ATP – Qualifying –  R. Olivo (ARG) vs  E. Escobedo (USA)
Not Before 11:00 am
WTA – L. Arruabarrena (ESP) vs [WC] N. Vikhlyantseva (RUS)
WTA – V. Golubic (SUI) vs T. Pironkova (BUL)
WTA – K. Bondarenko (UKR) vs [WC] P. Badosa Gibert (ESP)
WTA – [WC] B. Haddad Maia (BRA) vs L. Tsurenko (UKR)
WTA – Qualifying – F. Abanda (CAN) vs  M. Erakovic (NZL)
WTA – Qualifying –  V. Lepchenko (USA) vs  M. Duque-Mariño (COL)
WTA – Qualifying –  D. Vekic (CRO) vs A. Bogdan (ROU) or  T. Maria (GER)
WTA – Qualifying –  E. Rodina (RUS) or L. Hradecka (CZE) vs A. Krunic (SRB) or  P. Tig (ROU)
ATP – Qualifying –  L. Lacko (SVK) vs [WC] M. Kecmanovic (SRB)
ATP – Qualifying –  J. Donaldson (USA) vs  S. Kozlov (USA)
ATP – Qualifying –  R. Dutra Silva (BRA) or L. Rosol (CZE) vs [WC] C. Harrison (USA)
ATP – Qualifying –  P. Herbert (FRA) or T. Kamke (GER) vs F. Gaio (ITA) or  A. Bedene (GBR)
WTA – Qualifying –  M. Linette (POL) vs  A. Sasnovich (BLR)
WTA – Qualifying – V. Cepede Royg (PAR) vs  I. Falconi (USA)
WTA – Qualifying –  K. Nara (JPN) vs F. Schiavone (ITA)
WTA – Qualifying –  M. Barthel (GER) vs [WC] S. Zhuk (RUS) or  T. Townsend (USA)
ATP – Qualifying –  M. Youzhny (RUS) vs B. Becker (GER)
ATP – Qualifying –  R. Albot (MDA) vs  S. Stakhovsky (UKR)
Not Before 2:00 pm
ATP – Qualifying –  M. Kukushkin (KAZ) or P. Gojowczyk (GER) vs  N. Gombos (SVK)
ATP – Qualifying –  F. Tiafoe (USA) or T. Gabashvili (RUS) vs M. Bourgue (FRA) or  B. Fratangelo (USA)
WTA – Qualifying –  M. Brengle (USA) vs  S. Sorribes Tormo (ESP)
WTA – Qualifying – A. Van Uytvanck (BEL) vs A. Kontaveit (EST)
WTA – Qualifying – [WC] A. Potapova (RUS) vs  J. Cepelova (SVK)
WTA – Qualifying –  R. Ozaki (JPN) or [WC] K. Swan (GBR) vs J. Fett (CRO) or  J. Boserup (USA)
ATP – Qualifying –  N. Kicker (ARG) or A. Whittington (AUS) vs  D. Lajovic (SRB)
ATP – Qualifying – T. Smyczek (USA) vs R. Bemelmans (BEL) or  J. Kovalik (SVK)
Slumping Eugenie Bouchard takes on the resurgent 20-year-old Ashleigh Barty in the first round of the 2017 Miami Open on Wednesday, with the winner to face 14th seed Samantha Stosur.
It’s intriguing to consider a match-up between Bouchard and Barty – not so much from the point of view of their tennis, although both have extremely watchable games, but from the way that the respective careers of the Canadian and the Australian have developed up until the point of this meeting in Miami.
We all know the Bouchard story – the breakthrough success of 2014, an extraordinary season which saw the Canadian make the semifinals of the Miami Open Tennis Live
and the Wimbledon final and end the year at world no. 7, having been anointed the new star of the tennis world. English-speaking, blond and beautiful – three things that a certain segment of marketing interests in tennis believe to be pre-eminent in the case of WTA players – Bouchard immediately signed plenty of lucrative endorsement deals and her off-court profile, if you can put it that way, continues to be high. But her on-court success has dried up dramatically.
That’s not to say Bouchard is exactly in a terrible position – at 22 years old, she’s a solid top-100 player (currently ranked world no. 56). She made two WTA Tour finals in 2016, although she didn’t win either – her solitary WTA title came at the International-level Nurnberg event in 2014 – beat then-world no. 2 Angelique Kerber in Rome and won back-to-back matches at several Slams and Premier-level events. So far in 2017 she’s been a semifinalist at the Apia International Sydney, where she beat Zhang Shuai, Dominika Cibulkova and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova before losing to Johanna Konta, and made the third round of the Australian Open before losing to Coco Vandeweghe. So it’s hardly dire for Bouchard – but it is miles away from where her career seemed to be headed in 2014.
Ashleigh Barty knows all about careers taking unexpected directions. A junior Wimbledon champion in 2011, the Australian made her first WTA Tour quarterfinal in Kuala Lumpur back in 2013, at a time when she had already reached her first Grand Slam final in doubles with Casey Dellacqua; the two would go on to make two more Grand Slam finals that year, at Wimbledon and the US Open, while Barty continued to build a singles career, rising as high as world no. 129 in September of that season. In 2014, Barty successfully qualified for WTA Tour events in Brisbane, Acapulco and Strasbourg and for the US Open – but the Australian, still a teenager, felt stressed out and burned out by the grind of the tennis tour.
Barty took the brave decision to stop playing tennis, a break that would eventually last almost two years, after the 2014 US Open. Surprisingly, Barty took up a different sport, a team sport, earning a contract with the cricket team Brisbane Heat for the inaugural Women’s Big Bash League and playing a season with them before deciding that her future lay in tennis after all.
Barty played her first tournament since the Miami Open Tennis Live Stream
at Eastbourne in May 2016, where she qualified for the ITF $50,000 event before reaching the semifinals with wins over the likes of world no. 123 (and former Wimbledon semifinalist) Tamira Paszek. From being unranked, Barty ended 2016 at world no. 325 after playing just four events – and she is already up to world no. 158 after a return to a full schedule in 2017.
Barty started off 2017 by making the second round of the Brisbane International, where she took a set from then-world no. 1 Angelique Kerber. A shoulder injury saw her pull out before the final round of qualifying for Hobart, but at the Australian Open, Barty scored straight-sets wins over Annika Beck and Shelby Rogers to reach the third round where she lost to Mona Barthel. That propelled her into the top 200, and Barty produced another fine showing during Fed Cup, where she took the first set from world no. 13 Elina Svitolina before losing in three.
Then came Kuala Lumpur, where Barty qualified for the main draw before making an unexpected run to her first WTA title. The Australian 20-year-old only had to face one player ranked inside the top 100 on her way to the Malaysian Open trophy – world no. 97 Irina Falconi – but she beat a number of much more experienced players and continued to emphasize her credentials as a player to watch.
Barty is playing for the first time since that Kuala Lumpur final in Miami, where she received a wildcard (she is now ranked world no. 91). This will be her first singles appearance at the Miami Open, although she played doubles at the Premier Mandatory-level event with Casey Dellacqua back in 2014 (they lost in the first round).
Bouchard has won one match in Miami in four previous appearances and comes into the event on a three-match losing streak, having lost to Vandeweghe in Melbourne, Ajla Tomljanovic in Mexico and Annika Beck at Indian Wells. That’s inauspicious in the extreme, but Barty hasn’t played for weeks, so it isn’t as if the Australian will be much better prepared. The two, both powerful and aggressive players, have never met before and it seems like a match Bouchard can and should win.