Serena Slammed By Osaka In Miami, Fritz Falls; Azarenka v Keys Thursday
by Staff | March 22nd, 2018, 10:09 am

In the marquee showdown of the opening round of the Miami Masters, Serena Williams was blasted by 20-year-old Naomi Osaka 6-3, 6-2.

Osaka recently stormed to the Indian Wells title on Sunday, cruising past No. 1s Maria Sharapova, Karolina Pliskova and Simona Halep before routing Daria Kasatkina in the final. Serena has lost to sister Venus.

But on Wednesday, after a slow start it was all Osaka who made the 36-year-old Serena look like a 36-year-old. Serena was plagued by errors and had trouble moving from side-to-side. While Serena did smack her usual big serves and winners from the ground, the consistency was never there and Osaka enjoyed another huge win, this one over her childhood idol.

“I was extremely nervous coming on the court. I don’t know if anyone knows this but Serena is my favorite player,” Osaka said. “Just playing against her is kind of like a dream for me, so I’m very grateful, and it’s even better that I was able to win.

“She’s the main reason why I started playing tennis, and just, I have seen her on TV so many times and I have always been cheering for her, so for me to play against her, and just sort of trying to detach myself a little bit from thinking that I’m playing against her and just try to think I’m playing against just a regular opponent was a little bit hard for me.”

Having suffered her earliest loss ever at the event she had won eight, times, Serena hit the exits and didn’t meet the press afterwards, instead offering a statement.

“Every tournament is an opportunity for me to better understand the areas I need to improve to be my best,” Serena said. “Naomi played a great match and I learn something each time I play. I look forward to continuing my return by progressing every day. I’m so grateful for my fans who continue to support me every step of this incredible journey.”

Also on Wednesday, Serena’s BFF Victoria Azarenka rolled to a 6-3, 6-0 victory over CiCi Bellis.

“I’m happy that I’m playing,” the 3-time Miami winner Azarenka said. “I don’t want to be over-the-moon happy, because I’m still in the tournament, and I want to continue to reach any heights and new goals, so I’m trying to be happy, grateful, but also humble and focused for the next match, because I’m still in the tournament and I want to do better.”

Azarenka now has a big showdown against Madison Keys in a big showdown today.

Former Grand Slam semifinal Andrea Petkovic was also a winner along with Ekatarina Makarova, Monica Puig and Alize Cornet who beat the returning Bethanie Mattek-Sands.

On the first day of men’s play, American hope Taylor Fritz was bounced by Pierre Hugues-Herbert. Jared Donaldson beat Marcos Baghdatis, Benoit Paire ousted Mischa Zverev and Vasek Pospisil chopped down Ivo Karlovic.

Among the other Thursday highlights, world No. 1 Simona Halep meets Oceane Dodin, Frances Tiafoe is in action and so two are US Open winners Angelique Kerber and Sloane Stephens.

Denis Shapovalov, Alex De Minaur and Thanasi Kokkinakis are also on court.

STADIUM start 11:00 am
WTA – [10] A. Kerber (GER) vs J. Larsson (SWE)
ATP – L. Mayer (ARG) vs D. Young (USA)

Not Before 3:00 pm
WTA – [1] S. Halep (ROU) vs [LL] O. Dodin (FRA)
WTA – [WC] A. Tomljanovic (AUS) vs [13] S. Stephens (USA)

7:30 pm
WTA – [WC] V. Azarenka (BLR) vs [14] M. Keys (USA)

Not Before 9:00 pm
ATP – N. Kicker (ARG) vs F. Tiafoe (USA)

You Might Like:
Serena Williams v Osaka, Who Idolizes Her, in US Open Final
Keys Wins, Up Thursday with Serena in US Open Semifinals
Osaka Wins Thriller Over Azarenka, Serena In Charge At French; Muguruza v Svitolina in 3R
Miami Open Women’s Semis to Feature Former No. 1 Azarenka and 2 No. 2s
Venus, Kvitova, Andreescu Among Thursday Miami Winners; Osaka, Serena Friday

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17 Comments for Serena Slammed By Osaka In Miami, Fritz Falls; Azarenka v Keys Thursday

RZ Says:

Good that Osaka didn’t have a let down after her big win a few days ago. We see all too often players (on both the ATP and the WTA) win a tournament, only to lose the first round of the next one. Glad that Osaka dodged that.

Margot Says:

Osaka is such an exciting young player to watch and such a beautiful young woman too. Not that that’s got anything to do with anything, of course!
I too am glad she dodged a bullet, but she has no fear!

Humble Rafa Says:

such a beautiful young woman too.

You too?

Okiegal Says:

Me too…….

Humble Rafa Says:

Ladies..I know all of you think all of you are above average. Mathematically not possible.

I meant to say Margot is going after women just like Skeeze goes after men. I don’t even know what’s going on here anymore.

jalep Says:

Hello there….Margot. Hope you all is well.

My ATP bracket is so bad that it really is laughable. Just when I think I couldn’t do worse (Indian Wells), now Miami. Your ATP bracket is very bold, I hope it comes true :D

But yes, Osaka is awesome. Didn’t we know a couple years ago that she was potentially a top player and GS winner, but she sort of stalled out a bit. Now she’s got that Sascha Bajin on her team and she’s off and running. Nice to see.

Poor Simona is playing with a sore neck. Looks like she might not make it past Dodin.

Your winner pick Pliskova made it — I was worried about her first match-up with Makarova.

fred stone Says:

@jalep, or anyone else:

Do you have the link to the tennis-bracket-picking website of which you spoke?

jalep Says:

Yes fred, I do.

After you log in, go to ‘groups’ and, well, you just choose any group you want. The one Andi Mira, Margot and me are in is called jalep_wildguess. You are very welcome to check out our group and join!

This draw challenge cover all WTA and ATP tournaments every week of the season. It’s great, if you like this sort of thing :D

fred stone Says:

That was fast…
Thank you.
I like the challenge as well.

jalep Says:

Just now happened to be on my computer streaming the Goerges vs Witthoeft and Garcia vs Riske matches, fred. So the timing was perfect.

I also post on Tenngrand as ratcliff. There’s a WTA page there where many of the bracket players in our group post our picks when brackets open. Happy to have you!

Okiegal Says:

@Jalep… are such a nice person…..always so accommodating…..youโ€™re a good egg…..pun intended here….since itโ€™s close to Easter time!! ๐Ÿ‡๐Ÿ‡๐Ÿฃ๐Ÿฃ

Willow Says:

Okie i couldnt agree more, its wonderful to have Jalep back here posting ;-)

Margot Says:

Hi jalep. Great to see you :) Both my brackets are crazy!

jalep Says:

Well, I wouldn’t say overly crazy. I can see Chung win a Miami, if not this year, in the future lol….

And I have Borna Coric beating Federer, so… that’s what my brain bucket came up with…hahaha

Okie and Willow, thanks. Good to see you both here and read you! xxoo

I’m very sure either of you could kick my ass in the ATP brackets and WTA … love to have you in the group …any time you have time or are interested :D RZ too!

AndyMira Says:

HR 3:09pm ….Hahahahahahahhohohohohohohohoho!…..U R CRAZY!!Hehehehehehehehe..can’t wait to read smart ass answer from Margot!..Hahahaha…

Kimberly Says:

Hi all just returned

So today I watched Shapovlov troiclki, Donald young have an epic meltdown and lose v mayer, Halep v Dodin and Troicli take his second loss of the day on the grandstand this time in doubles where he sank his partner as well.

Halep Dodin was very good but you have to question where Halep game is where Dodin must have double faulted betweeen 15-20 tines and still almost won. Halep has great balance, runs down a lot of balls but her lack of power makes her vulnerable to get hit off the court by anyone.

rognadfan Says:

Thanks for updating. I couldn’t manage the schedule to be there this year (which might very well be the last opportunity to watch Federer). On top of that this freaking weather turned out to be so nice (It’s not how I remember being there when it was sony ericsson open, it was f..king hot).

Thanks again.

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