No.14 seed Coco Gauff and No.10 seed Jelena Ostapenko both opened their Miami Open campaigns against opponents to whom they had lost this year, and came away with contrasting results. Gauff reversed her Australian Open loss to Wang Qiang to defeat the qualifier 7-5, 6-4, but Shelby Rogers upset Ostapenko 6-3, 7-6(0) for the second tournament in a row.
Gauff had previously defeated Wang twice on clay last year, and notched her first hard-court victory over the former World No.12 in 1 hour and 39 minutes to reach the third round of Miami for the first time. She will next face another Chinese player, Zhang Shuai, who routed No.24 seed Sorana Cirstea 6-1, 6-1 in only 53 minutes.
Match management: Gauff was both more consistent and more aggressive than Wang throughout the match, firing 29 winners to her opponent's 16. The 18-year-old American gained the first break of each set, leading 5-2 in the first and 5-3 in the second, but needed all of her resilience after Wang prevented her from serving either out.
In the main, solid serving was the bedrock of Gauff's win. She posted a 72% first serve percentage and landed six aces. But it was her defensive skills that gave her the edge in the match's tightest moments, with a series of phenomenal passing shots in the second set drawing gasps from the crowd.
In Gauff's words: "I was just super-motivated today," said Gauff afterwards. "Extra motivation because I'm playing at home, and also because I lost before. I feel like everything was working for me today, but especially my mindset - I had an opportunity to serve out the first set and also the last one, but I got broken. But I'm happy that I was able to break back."
Rogers pulls off the Ostapenko upset double
Before this month, Rogers had yet to beat Ostapenko in three meetings, though she had held a match point over the Latvian at Charleston 2019. Rogers claimed her first win in their rivalry 7-5, 7-6(7) in the second round of Indian Wells two weeks ago, and reprised the outcome at the same stage of Miami in 1 hour and 34 minutes. The result was her 22nd career Top 20 victory.
The American slammed down a remarkable 15 aces in total. Three came in one game to take a 4-3 lead, two more helped her survive four deuces to serve out the first set and the final trio arrived in an immaculate second-set tiebreak whitewash.
Ostapenko was frequently spectacular off the ground, but suffered inconsistency on her backhand side in particular. The former Roland Garros champion threatened a comeback when she overturned a break deficit in the second set and held two set points at 5-4, but Rogers fended those off with a service winner and yet another ace.
Rogers is back in the third round of Miami for the first time since 2017, and will seek to make her fourth-round debut against Veronika Kudermetova. The No.21 seed is fresh off a quarterfinal run in Indian Wells, and advanced when qualifier Dalma Galfi retired trailing 5-1.
Elsewhere, No.17 seed Elena Rybakina claimed her first ever win in Miami 6-4, 7-5 over Elena-Gabriela Ruse. The Kazakh came from 3-0 down in the second set to defeat the Romanian in a first-time encounter.