Miami Tuesday: Main Draw Begins
Published March 18, 2014 12:11
Tuesday, First Round
Elina Svitolina (UKR #42) vs. Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA #51)
Head-to-head: first meeting
Elina Svitolina may still be waiting for her breakthrough at one of tennis' showpiece events, but she certainly knows how to win. Last year, the 19-year-old picked up her maiden WTA title, in Baku, and two more on the ITF Circuit as she jumped up nearly 100 places in the rankings.
This campaign has already seen her reach the quarterfinals in Paris and the third round at the Australian Open, and in Indian Wells she came within two points of tripping up former champion Ana Ivanovic in the second round.
How well she has recovered from this setback will be tested when she takes on Bethanie Mattek-Sands and her refreshingly adventurous tennis in the tournament's opening match on Grandstand. The American's attacking instincts, though, have never served her well in Miami, where she has made the second round just twice in 10 attempts.
Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK #36) vs. Monica Puig (PUR #58)
Head-to-head: Puig leads 1-0
A lot has changed since Magdalena Rybarikova and Monica Puig's first career meeting. On that occasion, in late 2012, Puig won in straight sets en route to the second of back-to-back titles on the ITF Circuit.
Since then, a combination of wins on the court and a winning personality off it have seen the Puerto Rican rapidly carve out a reputation as one of the WTA's brightest young talents. However, 2014 has not gone exactly to plan, and she arrives at an event she has attended since childhood with just one win to her name.
Puig, though, is not lacking in self-confidence, and she will need to draw on this if she is to avoid an early exit in her adopted hometown. In Rybarikova, she faces a crafty player in possession of one of the best slice backhands in tennis and an ability to befuddle anyone on her day, as she showed running Li Na close in Doha recently.
Annika Beck (GER #43) vs. Kurumi Nara (JPN #45)
Head-to-head: first meeting
Twelve months is a long time in tennis. Last March, Kurumi Nara was in Florida, not for the Sony Open Tennis, but for a stint on the ITF Circuit that would take in the tennis backwaters of Innisbrook, Osprey, Jackson and Pelham.
Since then the 22-year-old has climbed more than 100 places in the rankings, reached the third round at two Grand Slams and picked up her first WTA title. On Tuesday, she will make her debut in Miami, taking on another high-flying prospect, Annika Beck, for the right to play No.4 seed Maria Sharapova.
Beck lost in the first round to Urszula Radwanska at Crandon Park last year and arrives for her second visit on the back of a promising start to the season that has already seen her make the semifinals in Shenzhen and the third round in Indian Wells.
Also on court...
Following Svitolina and Mattek-Sands on Grandstand will be Francesca Schiavone and Yaroslava Shvedova, while Casey Dellacqua and Tsvetana Pironkova are among those in action on the outside courts.