MIAMI: Defending champion Novak Djokovic and world number three Roger Federer both advanced through the Miami Masters second round in straight sets, but crowd favourite Kim Clijsters crashed out of the women’s draw.
Top-seed Djokovic easily defeated Marcos Baghdatis 6-4, 6-4 at the ATP/WTA Miami Masters hardcourt tournament, while third-seeded Federer recorded his 23rd win of 2012 by beating 19-year-old American wild card Ryan Harrison 6-2, 7-6 (7/3).
“I felt like I had to win the match three times at the end, so I was relieved to come through,” said Federer. “And beating an American in America is always a big deal, because this is here where they usually play at their best.”
“I guess I’m more confident now. I have been playing really nice as of late.”
Meanwhile, top-seed Djokovic finished with two aces, one double fault and won 80 percent of his first-serve points in the 91-minute night match. The 24-year-old now has 15 wins and just two losses in the year.
“I am really trying to have a positive attitude,” said Djokovic. “I’m here to fight for the title just as all the other players are and not to defend it.
Djokovic advances to the third round where he will square off against fellow Serb Viktor Troicki who rallied to beat qualifier Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 4-6, 6-1, 6-4.
Andy Roddick, the number 31 seed and 2004 and 2010 champion in Miami, dropped nine points on his serve and hit 10 aces to beat Luxembourg’s Gilles Muller 6-3, 6-2.
Sharapova advances, Clijsters knocked out
On the women’s side of the draw, Russian second-seed Maria Sharapova eased her way into the fourth round but Clijsters bit the dust after losing to Belgian compatriot Yanina Wickmayer in straight sets.
Sharapova cruised into the next round by dominating American qualifier Sloane Stephens 6-4, 6-2. However, former world number one Clijsters saved three match points against Wickmayer, the 23rd seed, before losing 6-4, 7-6 (7/5) in the third round.
“She definitely started off much better and was more consistent throughout,” said Clijsters. “It’s a little bit frustrating knowing that I am playing not even 50 per cent but it’s still that close.”
Published in The Express Tribune, March 26th, 2012.