A former world No. 1 junior was a winner and an Olympic gold medalist a loser on Wednesday, the final day before the seeds take to the court on Thursday at the Miami Open.
American and former world No. 1 junior Taylor Townsend, the focus of weight issues between coaches and the USTA in past years, appeared not exactly svelte, but her fittest in past years in fending off 15-year-old fellow American Amanda Anisimova 2-6, 6-2, 6-3.
Puerto Rico’s Monica Puig, the gold medal winner at the last Olympics, was bundled out in the first round by Romania’s Sorana Cirstea 6-2, 6-4.
“Everyone knows I was out of the game with shoulder injuries,” Cirstea said after her match. “Now it’s a privilege and I’m very lucky to back here playing night sessions in Miami on the center court.”
Other high-profile losers early in Miami were former Top 10er Genie Bouchard falling to Aussie comeback player Ashleigh Barty 6-4, 5-7, 6-3, and former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic shown the door by Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(3).
“It was a little bit scratchy today, but I’m happy to come through in the end and get a chance to play a second round here,” said Barty after beating Bouchard. She will next meet her countrywoman Sam Stosur. “I love Miami and it’s the first time I’ve ever played singles here. So it’s certainly nice to play on a beautiful center court like this.”
The American-heavy line-up went 6-4 on a day with many three-setters as Varvara Lepchenko beat Lauren Davis 6-3, 6-3; Bethanie Mattek-Sands outlasted Katerina Siniakova 6-3, 4-6, 6-4; Madison Brengle put on the hard hat in defeating Jelena Ostapenko 6-3, 3-6, 6-2; Christina McHale wore down Annika Beck 6-7(2), 7-5, 6-0; and Shelby Rogers outlasted Marina Erakovic 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(4).
Highlights Thursday at the Miami Open are (2) Karolina Pliskova vs. (Q) Madison Brengle, (12) Carolina Wozniacki vs. Varvara Lepchenko, (6) Garbine Muguruza vs. Christina McHale, (18) CoCo Vandeweghe vs. (Q) Jana Cepelova, (23) Daria Gavrilova vs. Lucie Safarova, and (9) Elina Svitolina vs. (WC) Bethanie Mattek-Sands.
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