TOP SEED Daniil Medvedev moved a step closer to reclaiming the world number one ranking as he beat Spaniard Pedro Martinez (6-3, 6-4) on Monday to reach the last 16 at the Miami Open, while Naomi Osaka cruised into the quarterfinals of the women’s draw.
Medvedev, who can replace Novak Djokovic in the rankings if he reaches the Miami semifinals, fired down 14 aces and broke Martinez three times to secure victory in 84 minutes.
“I just felt like I had to be more consistent, and the more consistent one today would win,” Medvedev said.
“I managed to just make a few less errors at important moments, serve even better, and it was a small margin but I managed to win and I’m really happy.”
Up next for the Russian, who lost the number one ranking after a surprise third-round loss at Indian Wells, will be American Jenson Brooksby, a 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 winner over Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut.
Spanish 14th seed Carlos Alcaraz will meet Stefanos Tsitsipas after both enjoyed straight-set wins over Marin Cilic and Alex de Minaur respectively.
The 18-year-old Alcaraz beat Tsitsipas in their only previous meeting, a five-set thriller at last year’s US Open.
“He is a great player,” the Greek third seed said of Alcaraz.
“For me, it will be a great challenge, the ones that I like.”
Indian Wells champion Taylor Fritz dispatched fellow American Tommy Paul 7-6(2), 6-4 and will meet Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic, a 7-6(4), 6-3 winner over Sebastian Korda.
Fritz said it is all about managing expectations.
“I didn’t really think about winning Indian Wells until I had match point in the final,” he said.
“So I’m approaching this one the same way. I don’t expect to win the tournament, but I take it one match at a time, and you never know.”
OSAKA SERVES UP WINJapan’s Osaka reached the quarterfinals for a second consecutive year with a 6-3, 6-4 win over American Alison Riske, recovering after falling behind 2-0 in the second set.
After the match the unseeded Osaka said she was in a different state of mind than last year when arriving at the Miami Open after winning the Australian Open.
“It’s really funny for me because last year I made it to the (Miami) quarters too, but it was after I won Australia and I wasn’t that grateful, I kind of expected to win,” said Osaka.
“But I’m in the same position this year and I am so like, this is really like one of the funnest times of my life.”
Standing between the four-times Grand Slam champion and a first Miami semifinal will be Australian Open finalist Danielle Collins, who beat Tunisian eighth seed Ons Jabeur (6-2, 6-4).
Poland’s new world number one Iga Świątek eased past 14th seed Coco Gauff (6-3, 6-1) and will next face Petra Kvitova after the Czech defeated Veronika Kudermatova (7-6(5), 6-4) to reach the quarters.
Spanish fifth seed Paula Badosa beat 16-year-old wild card Linda Fruhvirtova (6-2, 6-3) and will next meet Jessica Pegula, who reached the Miami quarterfinals for the first time after Anhelina Kalinina retired while trailing 6-0.
Badosa, who won the Sydney title this year and reached the semis at Indian Wells, told reporters it had been a tough day.
“I didn’t wake up feeling well so I didn’t know if I’d be able to finish the match,” she said. “I always say I want to be a fighter no matter what so that’s what I did. I kept fighting and I don’t really know how I won.” — Reuters