Top-ranked Ashleigh Barty and No.5 seed Elina Svitolina both pulled through in three sets Monday to become the first two quarterfinalists at the Miami Open.
Who will join them?
Late Sunday night, Bianca Andreescu edged out Amanda Anisimova in a tight three-set match to reach the Round of 16 at the Miami Open.
If Andreescu was hoping to play her way back into form after missing all of 2020, her 2-hour, 44-minute battle was a good start. Andreescu, the 2019 US Open champion, won't have much time to recover. On Monday evening, she will take on Garbiñe Muguruza, who also survived a three-setter in her last match.
Here are the Sweet 16 matches still to be decided.
Anastasija Sevastova vs. [WC] Ana Konjuh
Here’s a blast from the distant past: These two have met only once, with Sevastova taking a three-set match four years ago in Mallorca.
Konjuh has been the story of the tournament. As a 19-year-old she was ranked No. 20 in July 2017. Then a series of elbow surgeries – four, to be precise – knocked her far down the tennis ladder.
“Thankfully all of that is behind me right now,” Konjuh told reporters later. “But in those key moments where you’re sick of everything and you’re just questioning yourself like should I go back and is it worth it and whatnot, I just remembered why I started playing this sport and why I love it so much and just the feeling that I had when I was in the top and having these great results and what it meant to me.
“So, I decided I'm not going to stop until I do everything there is, every possibility to help me. Here we are.”
She had only one WTA main-draw match (a loss to Amanda Anisimova) coming in, but Miami’s tournament officials granted her a wildcard – and it’s paid off wildly. She beat No. 70-ranked Katerina Siniakova in the first round, then No.18 seed Madison Keys in the second. Her third-round victory over Swiatek represented her second straight Top 20 win and first three consecutive match wins since Wimbledon 2017.
“Obviously [Swiatek] is a great player and great champion,” Konjuh said. “I just wanted to stay mentally in it in those key moments just to be able to, you know, produce some great shots. I did that.”
Sevastova, who received a walkover from Halep, is through to the Miami Round of 16 for the first time.
No.7 Aryna Sabalenka vs. No.19 Marketa Vondrousova
This could possibly be the closest Monday match to call.
Sabalenka took care of No.32 Veronika Kudermetova 7-6 (4), 6-4.
And later, 2019 Roland Garros finalist Vondrousova upset No.11 seed Belinda Bencic 4-6, 6-4, 6-4. Bencic was looking for her first Top 20 win since the 2019 WTA Finals. Vondrousova, you might recall, reached back-to-back quarterfinals at Indian Wells and Miami that same year.
The 21-year-old player from the Czech Republic scored a career-best fourth-round appearance at this year’s Australian Open and got to the quarterfinals of Miami two years ago.
Vondrousova holds a 2-1 advantage in head-to-head play, but the last match was nearly three years ago.
No.2 Naomi Osaka vs. No.16 Elise Mertens
Don’t sleep on this match.
Sure, Osaka has won 22 consecutive matches, but Mertens is a formidable opponent. She’s already been to two WTA semifinals this year – at Dubai and in Melbourne – and Sunday beat No.22 Anett Kontaveit 6-2, 0-6, 6-2.
Osaka was granted a walkover when qualifier Nina Stojanovic withdrew due to a right thigh injury.
Osaka leads the series 2-1, most recently beating Mertens in the 2020 Western & Southern Open semifinals.
“I mean, it’s always a tough opponent,” Mertens said of Osaka. “Yeah, I know how she plays. I mean, she’s in form, she’s winning a lot. It’s going to be an interesting match what I can do against her, but I’m definitely gonna give 100 percent.”
No.23 Maria Sakkari vs. No.29 Jessica Pegula
This is a quality match, with two players at the very top of their game.
Sakkari is 10-5 for the season, while Pegula is 14-5.
Sakkari is ranked No.25, only five spots below her best career ranking. The 25-year-old from Greece raced past unseeded Liudmila Samsonova 6-0, 6-1. The match required only 68 minutes and Sakkari won 60 of 91 points.
Pegula, meanwhile, is at a career-high ranking of No.33 and reached the quarterfinals of the Australian Open. She also made back-to-back semifinals during the Middle East Swing in Doha and Dubai. She now has a WTA-high four victories over Top 10 players this year after ousting No.6 Karolina Pliskova 6-1, 4-6, 6-4. Previous to this year, Pegula had no Top 10 victories.
It was the American’s third win over Pliskova in 24 days; Pegula won six of the seven sets.
Sakkari won their only meeting, on grass two years ago in Eastbourne, 6-2, 6-1.
“I think we played on grass, and I think she killed me,” Pegula said, smiling. “Yeah, I’m playing much better now. I know she’s been playing pretty well and kind of solidified her as a really good top player, dangerous, amazing athlete. It will definitely be tough. I’ll be ready for it.”
No.8 Bianca Andreescu vs. No.12 Garbiñe Muguruza
Andreescu overcame No.28 Amanda Anisimova 7-6(4), 6-7(2), 6-4.
The 20-year-old Canadian is playing only her third tournament since the end of 2019, after missing the entire 2020 season with a knee injury.
"My game, I know that it can be better, but I'm trying to find ways to push through on my off days, and I think I'm doing that well," Andreescu said. "I think that's what makes a really good player, and I'm trying to be that really good player like I was in 2019. I did that today, and I just want to fight and give it my all and then the rest will come."
Meanwhile, Muguruza rallied to defeat wildcard Anna Kalinskaya 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in 2 hours and 41 minutes. Coming off a title in Dubai and leading the tour with 20 match wins, Muguruza is now looking to advance to her first Miami quarterfinal.
“I’m not concerned about the day of rest, because I have been playing many matches back to back,” Muguruza said. “So I feel like, you know, it’s going to be a challenge, of course, because today was a very physical match and I could feel the heat and everything. But it’s for everybody. Everybody has to play tomorrow, so all the players that play today are in the same circumstances.”
No. 27 Ons Jabeur vs. Sara Sorribes Tormo
Jabeur, the 26-year-old from Tunisia, shocked No.4 Sofia Kenin 6-4, 4-6, 6-4. For context, consider that Kenin had won their four previous WTA main draw matches – and all eight sets. Jabeur, who orchestrated her third career win against a Top 5 opponent, sits at a career-high World No.30 ranking.
"I tried to play my game and to play for revenge, because I've been losing a lot against Sofia," Jabeur said. "She's such an amazing player. But I was there, I was confident, I wanted to win. I wanted to play well and play my game. Honestly, I'm so proud that I won today."
Sorribes Tormo defeated No. 21 Elena Rybakina 6-1, 3-6, 6-2. The 24-year-old Spaniard is ranked No.58 and is a stellar 14-4 for 2021. She beat No. 14 Jennifer Brady in second round and already has a surprising 14 main-draw wins.
"I know that Sorribes is playing really good lately and she's been winning a lot of matches," Jabeur said. "She's a good friend of mine on tour and honestly, I love playing her. I love the way she plays. I have to be ready tomorrow, especially physically and mentally, to win."
Jabeur holds a 4-1 head-to-head advantage at WTA level, having won the past three – 2017 Shenzhen, 2018 Manchester and 2019 Rome – all in straight sets.