Gauff defies trend in Miami to progress

Coco Gauff has bucked the trend of upsets at the Miami Open with the No.14 seed beating Wang Qiang to advance to the third round.

The American got past China’s Qiang 7-5 6-4 on Friday to avenge the first-round loss to her in the Australian Open earlier this year.

“I think I hit a lot of good shots on the run,” Gauff said.

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Gauff, who turned 18 earlier this month, made her WTA Tour debut three years ago at the Miami Open.

She reached the second round that year, was ousted in the second round last year and is now in the third round at Miami for the first time.

“I was just super motivated today,” Gauff said.

No.16 seed Jessica Pegula felt right at home too, even though the tournament is held on the grounds where the NFL’s Miami Dolphins practice and play – her parents Terry and Kim Pegula own the Dolphins’ AFC East rivals Buffalo Bills.

Pegula had little trouble beating 2018 Miami Open Winner Sloane Stephens 6-1 6-4, but more than half of the women who were Seeded going into the tournament won’t even be around for the first weekend.

Four more seeds – No.10 Jelena Ostapenko, Elise Mertens (No.20), Romania’s Sorana Cirstea (No.24) and Liudmila Samsonova (No.29) – were all eliminated in the second-round matches on Friday.

Their losses meant 15 Seeded women have now lost their opening matches at the tournament with 11, including top-seed Aryna Sabalenka, ousted on Thursday alone.

Another four Seeded women have withdrawn with either injuries or ailments, meaning no more than 13 of the original 32 seeds will get to the third round.

Shelby Rogers used 15 aces and saved nine of the 10 break points she faced against Ostapenko to win 6-3 7-6 (7-0).

It was Rogers’ second win over Ostapenko this month, after also topping her in a second-round match-up at Indian Wells.

“There are no easy matches out here,” said Rogers, who has now made the third round at Miami for just the second time after 2017.

Australia’s Storm Sanders bowed out to Lauren Davies.

Sanders double-faulted four times and failed to convert any of her three break points, while the American broke serve four times in a 6-4 6-1 Victory.

Madison Brengle beat Samsonova 6-4 6-0 while China’s Zhang Shuai needed only 53 minutes to beat Cirstea 6-1 6-1.

Linda Fruhvirtova of the Czech Republic defeated Mertens 7-5 2-6 6-1 while other Seeded second-round winners included No.17 Elena Rybakina and No.21 Veronika Kudermetova.

Later Friday, No 2 seed Every Swiatek can clinch the world No.1 ranking if she defeats Switzerland’s Victoria Golubic in their second-round match.

Swiatek would be assured of moving into the No.1 spot because Ash Barty, who held the top spot until her retirement earlier this week, has asked to be removed from the next set of rankings.

The updated list will come out after the Miami Open concludes.

“We’re going to definitely miss Ash on Tour,” Gauff said.


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