Serena v Halep, Isner v Nishikori, and Djokovic Thursday at Miami Open
by Staff | April 1st, 2015, 11:47 pm
  • 59 Comments

World No. 1 Serena Williams and the player who handed her one of the worst losses of her career last year, Simona Halep, will renew their rivalry in the semifinals of the Miami Open after posting not-so-easy victories on Wednesday.


Williams recovered from a 6-1 thrashing in the second set to rebound and defeat Sabine Lisicki, topping the No. 27-seeded German 7-6(4), 1-6, 6-3.

“Today wasn’t my best day,” said Williams, who broke early for a 3-0 lead in the final set. “I wasn’t serving the way I normally serve or hitting the way I normally hit, so all I could do was just fight and try to give 200% instead of 100%…She had a lot of momentum going into the third set after winning the second set, so I just wanted to stay strong, and basically hold my serve.”

It was the 700th tour match win for Williams, putting her in the company of Martina Navratilova (1,442 wins), Chris Evert (1,309), Steffi Graf (902), Virginia Wade (839), Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario (759), Lindsay Davenport (753) and Conchita Martinez (739).

“I saw them bringing out a cake and I thought, ‘Whose birthday is it today?’” said Williams of tournament officials who honored her with a “700″ cake.

Williams hasn’t lost a match since getting drubbed by Halep in round robin play at the 2014 year-end championships, since then winning 19 matches in a row.

Halep after an easy first set seemed to mentally take her foot off the pedal against Sloane Stephens, eventually defeating the American 6-1, 7-5.

“The beginning of the match was really fast. I think I was really playing my best tennis,” said Halep, who went up 6-1, 3-0 before the wheels came off. “She came back and changed the tactics, playing a little bit slower, and I lost my rhythm for a little bit.”

Williams leads Halep in their head-to-head series 4-1, with the loss a 6-0, 6-2 defeat at the WTA Championships. The two were to face in the semifinals two weeks back at Indian Wells before Serena withdrew citing a knee injury.

“I’ll remember beating her all my life because it was such a good match for me,” Halep said. “I have to believe I can win again against her — I just have to go out there and believe I have a chance. I have nothing to lose tomorrow. She’s the best player in the world.”

On the men’s side Andy Murray and Tomas Berdych advanced to a semifinal meeting with wins on Wednesday.

The No. 3-seeded Murray came from a set down to defeat unseeded Dominic Thiem of Austria 3-6, 6-4, 6-1, while the No. 8-seeded Berdych overpowered unseeded Argentine Juan Monaco 6-3, 6-4.

“I expected a tough match,” said Murray, now one match away from a fourth Miami final. “He’s beaten some very good players this week already…When you let him dictate the points, he hits the ball as hard off each side as anyone…I think in the third set the difference was really my returning.”

Thiem gained confidence from the match and possibly raised his future expectations.

“Before this week I would have given a lot for the quarterfinals, but now, of course, I’m a little bit disappointed, especially [because] I won the first set,” Thiem said. “I played a good match. I will leave Miami feeling positive and with a good feeling for the clay court season.”

Berdych leads his career series with Murray 6-5, with the Scot winning their most recent meeting at the Australian Open this past January.

The Czech will attempt to reach his second Miami Open final, in 2010 losing to Andy Roddick in the championship match.

Thursday Miami Open Schedule:

Stadium Start 1:00 pm
[12] Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP) vs. [9] Andrea Petkovic (GER)

Not Before 3:00 pm
[4] Kei Nishikori (JPN) vs. [22] John Isner (USA)
[3] Marcelo Melo (BRA)/Bruno Soares (BRA) vs. [2] Vasek Pospisil (CAN)/Jack Sock (USA)

Court 1 Start 6:00 pm
[1] Bob Bryan (USA)/Mike Bryan (USA) vs. John Isner (USA)/Sam Querrey (USA)

Stadium 7:00 pm
[1] Novak Djokovic (SRB) vs. [6] David Ferrer (ESP)

Not Before 9:00 pm
[1] Serena Williams (USA) vs. [3] Simona Halep (ROU)


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59 Comments for Serena v Halep, Isner v Nishikori, and Djokovic Thursday at Miami Open

danica Says:

I’ll stick my neck out and predict Simona’s win over Serena.


Giles Says:

Serena the Queen of Tennis will win.


Hippy Chick Says:

Not a fan of Isner but so far he is out hitting Nishikori taking the ball really early,it would be great if he always hit the ball this well,fun match so far….


brando Says:

##ck! Nishikori down 6-4, 3-1 to isner! He’s out basically! Gutted. Nishikori v Djokovic was the ONLY possibly interesting match left Miami. A exciting, curious match potentially. The rest are just fruitcake opponents for me for Novak. Someone tie one arm behind his back to give the remaining opponents a chance.


Daniel Says:

Damm, Isner broke Kei 2 times in a row and for love. Some amazing returns. He is super aggressive this tourney.


brando Says:

5-2. Have to say: Big John has been RU at Cincinnati, RU at Indian Wells, barring a choke SF at Miami and yet he’s never reached USO QF. That’s just ridiculous for a guy like him.


Daniel Says:

Inner can’t sustain high level for too long, that’s why his Slam results don’t match his best of 3.


brando Says:

True Daniel. Best of 3 is more of a Sprint than the marathon like grand slam stage.


brando Says:

Big John through in straight sets, congratulations to him. Was impressed. But peeved at Kei. He’s at that age, stage of career where if he’s the real deal he needs to beat the Isner’s of the world. That said: big servers or hitters are always tough for the relatively short nishikori.


Okiegal Says:

Well, I’m happy my American guy won today. He basically blew Kei off the court! Serving specialists are very dangerous. Not only did John serve great but his shots were amazing! Good for him. He will probably play Novak! Go John Boy!!


brando Says:

Yeah big servers are an issue for Kei: John today, marin at USO, think he lost to raonic also this year. One can understand why due to his height.


Hippy Chick Says:

Okie if only Big John could always play like that?thats the best ive seen him hit the ball in a long time so cleanly,im only dissapointed he played like this against one of my new favorites….


the DA Says:

Well that was something by Isner. Who would’ve thought he’d come away with a straight sets win – with breaks – against Kei? He was zoning and belting winners off of 1st serves! I think the Davis Cup was a great catalyst for him. And I can’t believe Miami is going to stiff him by scheduling a night match against Ferrer/Djoker – after IW made the same blunder.


brando Says:

“I can’t believe Miami is going to stiff him by scheduling a night match against Ferrer/Djoker – after IW made the same blunder.”: that’s some dumb ass scheduling for the home no.1. Big John definitely is better during day more so than night and yet organizers screw him over with scheduling. No point moaning about no top level US players when the ones who could make a dent of sorts get no real help with their schedules.


brando Says:

PS: Kei got 65 plus % first serves in but Big John was winning over 40% of them nonetheless. Really aggressive on his returns. I do not understand why guys like him and Milosevic, who could almost bank on winning 95% of their service games, are not more aggressive with their returns. They have the reach: just swing hard.


Jimmy Says:

They have to be fair to tonight’s players, do you expect them to get off the court at 9 or 10 pm after potentially a long, physical match and have a short turnaround the next day?


the DA Says:

@Brando – It makes me wonder if the ATP tournaments try to avoid any bias. It’s certainly not the case in the ITF. Each slam tries to give their home players the best schedule possible. Nevertheless, it’s baffling. Nole or David will relish a night match against him.

Another unexpected bonus from this win: it stops Rafa’s slide down the rankings. Everyone will be happier for that. No 4th rounds or QFs against Rafa on clay thank you.


Jimmy Says:

There is a day off in those, which are best of 5, except for the U.S. Open on the last weekend.

But hey, yeah, better yet make it like pro wrestling.


Jimmy Says:

And Isner plays doubles tonight against the Bryan brothers, maybe he would like some rest, no?


Jimmy Says:

… And Isner plays doubled tonight against the Bryan brothers, maybe he needs to rest too, no?


brando Says:

@the DA: the only thing I can think of is that they want to have a nice spread of the schedule BO wise. So Andy is a star, put him in for the morning. Nole is a star, put him in the evening. That way the public has a major attraction for each session. ‘re Rafa: so I guess you’re not buying the ‘it’s good to face rafa early theory’ lol. Neither am I not do I think the players are either to be honest.


Daniel Says:

Isner still is unbroken this tournament. But next match he will face either one of the best 3 returners in the game.
Djokovic, also, like Kei doesn’t like playing big serves much. His lost to Karlovic Doha and if Isner keeps playing like he is he will have his chances.


RZ Says:

I really hope that Jack Sock and Vasek Pospisil keep playing doubles. Their win-loss record as a team is ridiculously high. I couldn’t find quick and easy stats on them as a team but I think they’ve lost very few matches together.


chris ford1 Says:

RZ – Pity Sock&Pop aren’t from the same country. The Olympics are coming in a year and a few months.

Don’t think there is a conspiracy against the servebot. The reason you see Djoker, Fed, Muzz and Rafa in night matches a lot has as much to do with their amazing consistency as wanting the best odds for the fans to have a match they want to see, and come out to the stands or turn on the match on TV.
Isner is not consistent and his game and what he does to other players is bad viewing.
Yes, he is ‘Murican!! – and a very nice guy, but he will never be a fan favorite because he is a servebot.

We really don’t know the order at RG execpt Nole will be rated #1. Other rankings are YTBD in Estorial, Barcelona, Hamburg, and the 3 Masters. I just hope Rafa is in the other half of the draw from Nole and Fed at the French Open.


Okiegal Says:

@Chick……Yes, I thought about you with Kei’s loss today. I will have to pull for my fellow American since he’s gotten so deep into this one. John looked very good today. Daveed drew first blood against Novak tonight…..but it ain’t over til’ it’s over.


RZ Says:

@Chris Ford – Fed is almost certainly going to stay at #2 through the French Open. Between now and the FO he only has finalist points at Monte Carlo to defend, and can gain lots of points at Madrid and Rome (plus he’s playing a new tourney at Istanbul). So Rafa will be drawn in the same half as either Djoker or Fed.


django Says:

Novak is getting a lot of fan support today.


Okiegal Says:

Novak wanting more applause!!


jane Says:

i am not that surprised about isner. at iw he was playing really well. i think gimblestob must be invigorating him. so from his end of things i am not surprised.

but kei has a good record versus raonic doesn’t he? another big server. so in that regard, from his side of the court, i was a little surprised.

i am quite curious about andy versus berd, how that match will go in best of 3. i


Okiegal Says:

Wow, Daveed, great game, but can he back it up??


Okiegal Says:

What a get!


chris ford1 Says:

RZ – Likely but not certain Fed is #2. He’d have to do horrible in the run-ups to RG, and someone besides Nole or Rafa win a couple Masters and a 500.


Daniel Says:

Watch obly the end of second set and after Ferrer brike Djoko serving for the set, Djoko played an aqesome game to break back.

Onto Isner which is a completely different ball, do his service game and wait to see if Isner falters on serve. Otherwise, tiebreaks. Good for Djoko is that when he beata Isner he usually wins the title;-)


Okiegal Says:

I don’t understand why the #1 player in the world has to beg for crowd support?? This tells me he’s just not very popular with crowds……why don’t people like him very much? Is it because nobody can ever live up to Roger??


Muhammed Says:

Why #1 is not more popular?
In certain parts of the world you can have success with crowds only if you wear THE brand. Their marketing machinery is just too strong. Even the great one cannot say a word about his main competitor’s PED use because they are under the same wing.


jane Says:

oh sigh… he gets lots of crowd support. some places more than others, but whatever.


chris ford1 Says:

Oakiegal – Djoker was ill-served by writers that cast him as the black knight interloper that came from Commieland and who was out to take the rightful place of the noble and pure King Arthur of tennis and his sweet, simple-minded but ace dirt fighting squire.

In other parts of the world except US, UK, and Spain – Novak is quite popular.

Going to be a tough match for Djokovic and the fans in general when he plays Isner and to win against the Isner servebot, you have to play a conservative, even stultified way.


jane Says:

“Isner plays doubles tonight against the Bryan brothers, maybe he would like some rest, no?”

well then it makes sense right jimmy. he can’t play singles day, doubles night and turn around and play singles again day. of course they’d wanna give him some rest.

but also, as chrisford1 points out, i think it’s about prime-time to some degree as well. friday night, number 1 versus in-form american: sounds like a marquee match that they’d want to schedule for popcorn viewers? i can see the reasoning.

and isner played well in the evening at IW. i think he got in 88% first serves in the first set, or something crazy like that. the evening didn’t seem to nullify his serve there anyhow. mind you it’s drier so it might be different in miami. but he seems to be playing exceptionally well.

i don’t know what justin is doing coaching-wise, but i remember being shocked with that announcement, and rather skeptical. it looks as though the partnership is clearly working though.


Colin Says:

What is often forgotten is that it took quite a while for American crowds to warm to Federer, simply because he wasn’t American they had become accustomed to their players winning. Andy Roddick was expected to be the new face of tennis, picking up where Sampras and Agassi left off.

English crowds other than the Queens Club/Wimbledon regulars provide plenty of support for Nole, even when he’s playing Andy Murray.

Spanish crowds, it has to be said, can be as partisan as the French,no matter what the sport, to the point of being downright unfair and even offensive. Think of the racist behavior toward Lewis Hamilton, and similar stuff from the Spanish team at the Olympics in China.


Okiegal Says:

Another #1 player begging for support! She’s an American too. Go figure?? The crowd is really behind Simona. Tennis crowds are like chameleons…ever changing.


Okiegal Says:

Oops….Serena just got broken. Halep is a fighter!!


jane Says:

rz, i am with you on jack sock and vasek pospisl; they are fun to watch as well. hope they keep playing.


Okiegal Says:

@Chris

You can’t really tell about the crowd. Here in the states he lost some popularity because of Roddick being tacky towards him at the open one year….which I thought Andy was way out of line. Of course if he’s playing Roger anywhere, Roger is always the fav. Now, I thought the crowd at the FO was clearly for Novak last year against Rafa, but the French crowd does not care much for Rafa anyway.


Markus Says:

I don’t remember Federer ever being not the crowd favorite anywhere.


Okiegal Says:

Spain……maybe?? Lol


Okiegal Says:

This ladies semi is going down to the wire! Serena showing some nerves!!


django Says:

Serena
Doesn’t like support halep getting


Okiegal Says:

^^^ you r right, and she let it affect her play….but she just won anyway!!


Okiegal Says:

Simona Halep is showing she’s a force to be reckoned with!! Look out ladies!!


django Says:

halep really gave williams some serious trouble. won’t be watching Saturday. It’s a done deal.


jane Says:

PopsiandSock CanAm :)


Giles Says:

NK. So you think Fed’s popularity is due to that lob?? Give me a break, I have seen dozens of comparable lobs over the years by other players. Lol


Giles Says:

PS. If not better!


Daniel Says:

Markus,

Madrid against Nadal:-)


Markus Says:

Daniel, Okiegal: I think I had the TV on mute those times Roger played in Spain! LOL!


Okiegal Says:

@Markus……I’ll bet you did too!! :)


sienna Says:

Nishikori over hyped on this site.
He knew his place after the massacre in New York.

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