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Manic Monday at the Miami Open: Breaking down the Sweet 16 matchups – WTA Tennis



Miami Open: Scores | Draw | Order of play

Top-ranked Ashleigh Barty and No.5 seed Elina Svitolina both pulled through in three sets Monday to become the first two quarterfinalists at the Miami Open. 

Who will join them? 

Late Sunday night, Bianca Andreescu edged out Amanda Anisimova in a tight three-set match to reach the Round of 16 at the Miami Open. 

If Andreescu was hoping to play her way back into form after missing all of 2020, her 2-hour, 44-minute battle was a good start. Andreescu, the 2019 US Open champion, won’t have much time to recover. On Monday evening, she will take on Garbiñe Muguruza, who also survived a three-setter in her last match.

Here are the Sweet 16 matches still to be decided. 

Top Half

Anastasija Sevastova vs. [WC] Ana Konjuh

Here’s a blast from the distant past: These two have met only once, with Sevastova taking a three-set match four years ago in Mallorca.

Konjuh has been the story of the tournament. As a 19-year-old she was ranked No. 20 in July 2017. Then a series of elbow surgeries – four, to be precise – knocked her far down the tennis ladder.

“Thankfully all of that is behind me right now,” Konjuh told reporters later. “But in those key moments where you’re sick of everything and you’re just questioning yourself like should I go back and is it worth it and whatnot, I just remembered why I started playing this sport and why I love it so much and just the feeling that I had when I was in the top and having these great results and what it meant to me.

“So, I decided I’m not going to stop until I do everything there is, every possibility to help me. Here we are.”

She had only one WTA main-draw match (a loss to Amanda Anisimova) coming in, but Miami’s tournament officials granted her a wildcard – and it’s paid off wildly. She beat No. 70-ranked Katerina Siniakova in the first round, then No.18 seed Madison Keys in the second. Her third-round victory over Swiatek represented her second straight Top 20 win and first three consecutive match wins since Wimbledon 2017.

“Obviously [Swiatek] is a great player and great champion,” Konjuh said. “I just wanted to stay mentally in it in those key moments just to be able to, you know, produce some great shots. I did that.”

Sevastova, who received a walkover from Halep, is through to the Miami Round of 16 for the first time.

No.7 Aryna Sabalenka vs. No.19 Marketa Vondrousova

This could possibly be the closest Monday match to call.

Sabalenka took care of No.32 Veronika Kudermetova 7-6 (4), 6-4.

And later, 2019 Roland Garros finalist Vondrousova upset No.11 seed Belinda Bencic 4-6, 6-4, 6-4. Bencic was looking for her first Top 20 win since the 2019 WTA Finals. Vondrousova, you might recall, reached back-to-back quarterfinals at Indian Wells and Miami that same year.

The 21-year-old player from the Czech Republic scored a career-best fourth-round appearance at this year’s Australian Open and got to the quarterfinals of Miami two years ago.

Vondrousova holds a 2-1 advantage in head-to-head play, but the last match was nearly three years ago.

2021 Miami Highlights: Vondrousova edges Bencic in a thriller

1 day ago

Bottom Half

No.2 Naomi Osaka vs. No.16 Elise Mertens

Don’t sleep on this match.

Sure, Osaka has won 22 consecutive matches, but Mertens is a formidable opponent. She’s already been to two WTA semifinals this year – at Dubai and in Melbourne – and Sunday beat No.22 Anett Kontaveit 6-2, 0-6, 6-2.

Osaka was granted a walkover when qualifier Nina Stojanovic withdrew due to a right thigh injury.

Osaka leads the series 2-1, most recently beating Mertens in the 2020 Western & Southern Open semifinals.

“I mean, it’s always a tough opponent,” Mertens said of Osaka. “Yeah, I know how she plays. I mean, she’s in form, she’s winning a lot. It’s going to be an interesting match what I can do against her, but I’m definitely gonna give 100 percent.”

No.23 Maria Sakkari vs. No.29 Jessica Pegula

This is a quality match, with two players at the very top of their game.

Sakkari is 10-5 for the season, while Pegula is 14-5.

Sakkari is ranked No.25, only five spots below her best career ranking. The 25-year-old from Greece raced past unseeded Liudmila Samsonova 6-0, 6-1. The match required only 68 minutes and Sakkari won 60 of 91 points.

Photo by Getty Images

Pegula, meanwhile, is at a career-high ranking of No.33 and reached the quarterfinals of the Australian Open. She also made back-to-back semifinals during the Middle East Swing in Doha and Dubai. She now has a WTA-high four victories over Top 10 players this year after ousting No.6 Karolina Pliskova 6-1, 4-6, 6-4. Previous to this year, Pegula had no Top 10 victories. 

It was the American’s third win over Pliskova in 24 days; Pegula won six of the seven sets. 

Sakkari won their only meeting, on grass two years ago in Eastbourne, 6-2, 6-1.

“I think we played on grass, and I think she killed me,” Pegula said, smiling. “Yeah, I’m playing much better now. I know she’s been playing pretty well and kind of solidified her as a really good top player, dangerous, amazing athlete. It will definitely be tough. I’ll be ready for it.”

No.8 Bianca Andreescu vs. No.12 Garbiñe Muguruza

Andreescu overcame No.28 Amanda Anisimova 7-6(4), 6-7(2), 6-4.

The 20-year-old Canadian is playing only her third tournament since the end of 2019, after missing the entire 2020 season with a knee injury.

“My game, I know that it can be better, but I’m trying to find ways to push through on my off days, and I think I’m doing that well,” Andreescu said. “I think that’s what makes a really good player, and I’m trying to be that really good player like I was in 2019. I did that today, and I just want to fight and give it my all and then the rest will come.”

Meanwhile, Muguruza rallied to defeat wildcard Anna Kalinskaya 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in 2 hours and 41 minutes. Coming off a title in Dubai and leading the tour with 20 match wins, Muguruza is now looking to advance to her first Miami quarterfinal. 

“I’m not concerned about the day of rest, because I have been playing many matches back to back,” Muguruza said. “So I feel like, you know, it’s going to be a challenge, of course, because today was a very physical match and I could feel the heat and everything. But it’s for everybody. Everybody has to play tomorrow, so all the players that play today are in the same circumstances.”

No. 27 Ons Jabeur vs. Sara Sorribes Tormo

Jabeur, the 26-year-old from Tunisia, shocked No.4 Sofia Kenin 6-4, 4-6, 6-4. For context, consider that Kenin had won their four previous WTA main draw matches – and all eight sets. Jabeur, who orchestrated her third career win against a Top 5 opponent, sits at a career-high World No.30 ranking.

“I tried to play my game and to play for revenge, because I’ve been losing a lot against Sofia,” Jabeur said. “She’s such an amazing player. But I was there, I was confident, I wanted to win. I wanted to play well and play my game. Honestly, I’m so proud that I won today.”

Sorribes Tormo defeated No. 21 Elena Rybakina 6-1, 3-6, 6-2. The 24-year-old Spaniard is ranked No.58 and is a stellar 14-4 for 2021. She beat No. 14 Jennifer Brady in second round and already has a surprising 14 main-draw wins.

READ: Why tennis-obsessed Sorribes Tormo could be the toughest out on tour

“I know that Sorribes is playing really good lately and she’s been winning a lot of matches,” Jabeur said. “She’s a good friend of mine on tour and honestly, I love playing her. I love the way she plays. I have to be ready tomorrow, especially physically and mentally, to win.”

Jabeur holds a 4-1 head-to-head advantage at WTA level, having won the past three – 2017 Shenzhen, 2018 Manchester and 2019 Rome – all in straight sets.

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Maple Leafs' goalie Petr Mrazek exits with groin injury vs. Senators – The Athletic



Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Petr Mrazek exited after the second period of a 3-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators on Thursday with what the team called a groin injury. The team had no further update on his status after the game.

Mrazek went down awkwardly on the final shot of the period from Ottawa’s Victor Mete, then hobbled down the tunnel at the end of the period. Mrazek made 26 saves but allowed three first-period goals. Jack Campbell came on for the Leafs in goal to start the third period.

Mrazek, 29, was making his debut with the Leafs after signing a three-year deal in the offseason.

(Photo: Chris Tanouye / Getty Images)

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Umpire's 'Blown' Check-Swing Call Ends Epic Dodgers-Giants Series And Stuns Fans – Yahoo



Of course the epic National League Division Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants would finish in controversy.

The Giants’ Wilmer Flores struck out on what many believed was a blown check-swing call by first base umpire Gabe Morales. The out preserved the Dodgers’ 2-1 victory in Game 5 on Thursday, allowing the team to advance to the National League Championship Series against Atlanta.

The chances of a Giants rally appeared dim at the time. The count was 0-2, there were two outs, a runner on first, and three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer was pitching. Not to mention that Flores had never gotten a hit off Scherzer before, the San Francisco Chronicle noted.

But the anticlimactic ending to the momentous playoff clash between the historic rivals angered fans. Reporters and Major Leaguers, including the New York Mets’ Kevin Pillar (a former Giant), chimed in, too.

Check out the reactions of what some called “the check swing heard round the world.”

This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.


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Cardinals acquire Pro Bowl tight end Zach Ertz from Eagles –



The undefeated Arizona Cardinals have added another weapon to their arsenal.

The Cardinals, who are the only 5-0 team in the NFL, acquired three-time Pro Bowl tight end Zach Ertz from the Philadelphia Eagles on Friday for cornerback Tay Gowan and a 2022 fifth-round draft pick.

Ertz played with the Eagles since they selected him in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft. He set an NFL record for most receptions by a tight end in a single season with 116 catches and also had a career-high 1,163 yards during the 2018 season. Ertz, who was selected to the Pro Bowl three consecutive years from 2017-19, caught the game-winning touchdown during Super Bowl LII to help the Eagles defeat the New England Patriots 41-33 and capture their first Super Bowl.

“Zach Ertz built a special legacy in Philadelphia,” Eagles chairman and CEO Jeffrey Lurie said in a statement. “Talented, tough, and passionate, he helped to establish our team’s culture and played a vital role in our success over the years.

“Zach created so many memories that will live on forever, from setting numerous franchise and league records, to reaching across the end zone for the game-winning touchdown in our first-ever Super Bowl championship. He will always be a member of the Eagles family, not only because of what he accomplished on the field, but also because of the wonderful person, dedicated leader, and exemplary role model that he was for nine seasons in Philadelphia. We wish Zach and Julie nothing but the best.”

The 30-year-old Ertz has 18 receptions for 189 yards and two touchdowns in six games this season. Philadelphia lost 28-22 Thursday night to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with Ertz hauling in a touchdown catch.

The Cardinals play the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.

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