It was a banner day for young (and not so “Young”) unseeded Americans on Wednesday at the Miami Open as four moved into the second round in Key Biscayne, Fla.
Taylor Fritz beat Czech Adam Pavlasek 6-2, 6-3; Jared Donaldson served down Brit Kyle Edmund 2-6, 7-6(4), 6-2; Ernesto Escobedo defeated Brit Daniel Evans 7-5, 0-6, 6-3; and veteran Donald Young outlasted Germany’s Dustin “Smoke ‘Em If You Got ‘Em” Brown 6-3, 1-6, 6-2.
“This day is very special for me,” said the 20-year-old No. 108-ranked qualifier Escobedo, of Mexican-American descent and getting plenty of support in Miami. “I qualified for my first Masters 1000 here in Miami and I played a tricky opponent who serves pretty well. It is pretty big to get my first win here…In the second set I just didn’t focus at all and my energy was very low but I am just happy to have stepped it up in the third set.”
Escobedo will next face No. 25 seed Fernando “Hot Sauce” Verdasco.
Americans overall on the day went 4-4 as Ryan Harrison, Christian Harrison, Tim Smyczek and Michael Mmoh were shown the exit.
New Indian Wells Tournament Director Tommy Haas, on his unofficial farewell tour in 2017, narrowly fell to Czech Jiri Vesely after winning the first set 6-7(5), 6-3, 7-5.
The match was halted after a giant iguana climbed atop one of the scoreboards, possibly searching out a meal, freaking out Vesely who refused to continue play until the animal was removed.
“Maybe the iguana got the note that this is most likely the last time I’m playing here, and he wanted to say ‘hi’ and take a peek or something,” said the 38-year-old Haas, who took a selfie with the iguana as officials debated how to remove it. “I don’t know, but it was pretty cool. Of that size, I don’t think I’ve ever experienced that. I don’t know where he came from and why he wanted to come out on Court 1 and kind of say hello to everyone.”
Other winners of note Wednesday were Japanese lefty fast-riser Yoshihito Nishioka outlasting Aussie Jordan Thompson 1-6, 6-4, 6-3, and South African comeback player Kevin Anderson working past Serb Dusan Lajovic 6-2, 7-5.
Highlights Thursday in Miami are scant as the seeds are yet to take the court, and include Bernard “The Tank Engine” Tomic vs. (Q) Mikhail Kukushkin, Alexandr “The Dog” Dolgopolov vs. Malek Jaziri, some Next-Gen action with (WC) Casper Ruud vs. Yen-Hsun Lu, and Robin Haase vs. (WC) Mikael Ymer.
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