Another teenage sensation is making her mark on the Hologic WTA Tour scene, with 16-year-old Linda Fruhvirtova reaching the Round of 16 at the 2022 Miami Open.
Fruhvirtova was leading three-time Miami Open champion Victoria Azarenka 6-2, 3-0 in their third-round clash when Azarenka, the titlist in 2009, 2011, and 2016, retired from the match.
Milestones aplenty: Fruhvirtova, who was already the youngest player to reach the Miami third round since 2015, is now the first player under 17 years of age to reach the Miami fourth round since Maria Sharapova and Tatiana Golovin both did so as 16-year-olds in 2004.
Fruhvirtova had never faced a Top 20 opponent prior to her match against No.12 seed Azarenka on the Grandstand Court, but the Czech teen had already collected a big upset this week, defeating 24th-ranked Elise Mertens in the previous round.
Fruhvirtova immediately topped her career-best win by ranking on Sunday, advancing past two-time Australian Open champion Azarenka via retirement to collect her maiden Top 20 victory.
Words from the winner: "Of course I didn’t want it to end this way, because Vika is one of the players I grew up watching, and she’s definitely one to look up to," Fruhvirtova said on court, after the match. "I just wish that she feels better as soon as possible.
"I don’t think I’ve ever played on such a big stadium, and these are the memories I’m going to remember forever."
Key moments: Fruhvirtova found a tremendous passing winner to break Azarenka for an early 2-0 lead. Azarenka used superb returns to get back on serve at 3-2, but Fruhvirtova broke once more for a 4-2 lead and cruised through the rest of the first set.
Fruhvirtova continued rolling in the second set before Azarenka ended the affair.
Next up: Fruhvirtova will now test herself against a Top 10 player for the first time in her career. She will face No.5 seed Paula Badosa of Spain in the Round of 16, after Badosa defeated Yulia Putintseva earlier on Sunday.
Kalinina earns comeback win over Haddad Maia
Ukraine's Anhelina Kalinina also reached the Round of 16 in Miami on Sunday, overcoming Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 in two-and-a-half hours.
World No.51 Kalinina improved to 3-0 against 62nd-ranked Haddad Maia, although this was the first meeting between the two 25-year-olds since a pair of ITF Challenger meetings in 2014.
Despite falling behind by a set and a break, Kalinina maintained her undefeated record against the Brazilian, converting five of her 15 break points and edging to victory.
Kalinina, who beat No.26 seed Madison Keys in the second round, will now take on another seeded American in the Round of 16, where she will face No.16 seed Jessica Pegula.