Hewitt Wins, Serena and Venus in Action Thurs. at Sony Miami Tennis
All-unseeded men’s play kicked off Wednesday at the Sony Open in Miami, where the slugs battled it out to potentially meet a seed.
Notable winners were Nikolay Davydenko in a sloppy three sets over Paolo Lorenzi 6-0, 2-6, 6-0; Horacio Zeballos over Thiemo De Bakker in three; James Blake winning an all-American over Ryan Harrison easily 6-2, 6-2; veteran Michael Llodra topping youngster Benoit Paire in an all-French, all-contentious in straights; and former No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt advancing.
“It felt good,” Blake said after easily rolling past Harrison. “It was just one of those days where things were going in. I felt like I was playing well last week. It’s just a matter of putting it all together and tonight is an example of what can happen when I do that.”
Hewitt failed to serve out the second set twice before clinching in the tiebreak.
“He played way better every time he was behind in the match,” Hewitt said after topping Joao Sousa. “Whenever he’d get back on serve in the second set, he actually played worse. When he was behind, he sort of just went for it a lot more. That was tough because he sort of had nothing to lose.”
Hewitt will next meet No. 11 seed Gilles Simon.
“He’s a different player. He obviously plays with a bit of finesse out there, moves the ball around extremely well,” Hewitt said. “His movement is a big part of his game, as well. He can pull the trigger when he wants to on his first serve, but also on the baseline.”
The women’s unseeded players had a full slate Wednesday, with the highlights American Bethanie Mattek-Sands topping Puerto Rican riser Monica Puig 6-4, 7-5; former world No. 2 Svetlana Kuznetsova defeating Spaniard Lourdes Dominguez Lino 6-3, 6-3; American teen Victoria Duval beating Czech Andrea Hlavackova 7-6(4), 6-4; former French Open champ Francesca Schiavone outlasting Slovak Jana Cepelova in three; Canadian riser Eugenie Bouchard outlasting veteran Shahar Peer from a set down; and Daniela Hantuchova, Americans Jamie Hampton, Christina McHale and Madison Keys, and Brit Laura Robson also advancing.
“I’ve changed,” Petkovic said. “My coach actually laughs at me when I tell him I’m a changed person, but it’s true. I don’t get frustrated on the court anymore. I’m just happy to be back. I’m really enjoying every moment of it. I don’t know how long it’ll hold up like this — let’s talk again in two months…I felt deep inside this chapter isn’t over.”
Highlights of Thursday play are (1) Serena Williams vs. veteran Flavia Pennetta, (19) Venus Williams vs. veteran Kimiko Date-Krumm, Thomaz Bellucci vs. (WC) Christian Harrison, and (10) Marion Bartoli vs. (WC) Andrea Petkovic.
For Serena it would be a record-breaking sixth title in Miami if she could emerge victorious two weekends from now.
“I just focus on every match that I play, from the first round to the last,” Serena said Wednesday. “I don’t fear anybody, and I don’t like that word. But I’m cautious of everyone — I think that’s a better way to put it.”
Novak Djokovic and his top of the draw take the court on Friday.
STADIUM start 11:00 am
 A Radwanska (POL) vs S Hsieh (TPE) – WTA
[Q] M Gicquel (FRA) vs B Tomic (AUS) – ATP
 S Williams (USA) vs F Pennetta (ITA) – WTA
J Nieminen (FIN) vs D Nalbandian (ARG) – ATP
Starting at 7:30 PM
 V Williams (USA) vs K Date-Krumm (JPN) – WTA
T Bellucci (BRA) vs [WC] C Harrison (USA) – ATP
GRANDSTAND start 11:00 am
K Bertens (NED) vs  N Li (CHN) – WTA
S Peng (CHN) vs  P Kvitova (CZE) – WTA
 C Wozniacki (DEN) vs [Q] K Pliskova (CZE) – WTA
 M Bartoli (FRA) vs [WC] A Petkovic (GER) – WTA
Not Before 5:00 PM
J Isner (USA) / S Querrey (USA) vs T Huey (PHI) / D Inglot (GBR) – ATP
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