JANNIK Sinner saved five match points to advance past Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta 5-7, 7-5, 7-5 in a sensational display in the third round of the Miami Open on Sunday.
Carreno Busta had Sinner on the ropes in the 10th game of the second set, nearly breaking him for the match before the Italian recovered to hold his serve and converted on a chance in the next game.
They traded breaks in the third before a marathon 10th game in which the Spaniard nearly broke his opponent for the win four times.
The world number 11 Sinner, who launched 15 aces across the net across the entire match, survived and converted on a chance in the next game to seize the advantage.
Serving for the match, he clinched the affair with a forehand winner as the crowd at Miami leapt to its feet and cheered.
The 2021 runner-up next faces Australian Nick Kyrgios, who put in a clinical performance to down Italian Fabio Fognini 6-2, 6-4, dropping just five first-serve points.
GAUFF ADVANCESElsewhere in the day’s action, American Coco Gauff kept alive her bid for a maiden WTA 1000 title, firing off five aces to overcome China’s Zhang Shuai 7-6(1), 7-5 in a tightly fought contest.
“I just kind of mentally was hanging in there. I wasn’t playing my best. She’s a tough player to play,” Gauff told reporters. “I knew it was going to be a tough match, and I was glad that I was able to pull it out today.”
British number one Cameron Norrie overcame a false start to keep his hopes of winning a second Masters 1000 title alive, beating Frenchman Hugo Gaston 6-3, 7-5.
Norrie, who triumphed at Indian Wells last year and won at Delray Beach five weeks ago, opened the contest by dropping his serve but kept his nerve as three break points went begging in the next game before he finally converted the fourth.
Norrie fired down his seventh ace on his eighth match point to set up a meeting with world number eight Casper Ruud, who has beaten the Briton on both of their previous meetings.
The in-form Ruud dispatched Alexander Bublik 6-3, 6-2 in less than an hour and had the best seat in the house when his Kazakh opponent produced a highlight-reel-worthy shot in the fifth game of the second set. Bublik flipped his racquet over and tapped an overhead shot with the handle.
“You will be on Tennis TV like always,” Ruud quipped to Bublik after the match.
Spanish fifth seed Paula Badosa put up a pristine performance to topple Kazakhstan’s Yulia Putintseva 6-3, 6-2. Putintseva was so frustrated with her error-filled display that she slammed her racquet with such force to the ground that it flew back up and almost hit her.
Badosa, who won last year’s Indian Wells, next faces 16-year-old Czech wild card Linda Fruhvirtova, who advanced after former world number one Victoria Azarenka abruptly retired midway through the second set of their contest.
Fruhvirtova was leading 6-2, 3-0 when Azarenka, who pulled out of Doha last month with an injury, informed the chair umpire that she was done and briskly walked off the court.
“I don’t even know how to describe it. It’s what I’ve always dreamed of, playing in these big stadiums in front of so many people,” Fruhvirtova said courtside.
“It’s definitely a dream come true.” — Reuters