On a full day of play Thursday in Miami, several of the tournament favorites opened with wins in the women’s draw.
Three-time champion and local South Florida native Venus Williams advanced in her opener over Slovenia’s Dalila Jakupovic 7-5, 6-3.
The 38-year-old Venus was down a break three times in the first set.
“Growing up in my home we weren’t allowed to be weak, so it just wasn’t an option,” Williams said. “The only option was to be strong. You had a choice of being strong or being strong, so we were strong.”
Petra Kvitova also opened up on a positive note blasting past Maria Sakkari 6-1, 6-4. 2017 winner Johanna Konta was a winner as well but 3-time champion Victoria Azarenka fell to Caroline Garcia.
Indian Wells champion Bianca Andreescu won her eighth straight match, but the 18-year-old had to save a match point in a tough win over Irina Camelia Begu 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-2.
“If I keep making history, then I just keep accomplishing my goals, because that’s one thing that I have always wanted to do,” said Andreescu who was down a set and 5-1. “So if I have my name alongside those amazing players, it would definitely mean a lot.”
Andreescu wasn’t the only teen making noise on Thursday. American phenoms Whitney Osuigwe, 16, and Coco Gauff, 15, were both winners with each collecting their first career WTA main draw wins.
“This is a dream,” Guaff said. “I have been dreaming of this moment for years, just playing in the Miami Open. I have been coming to this tournament since I was eight or nine years old. Watching the players here and actually being in the same tournament, being in the same area as players that I’ve watched since practically I was born, it’s so surreal to me.”
Daria Kasatkina will meet Gauff while on Center Court today Osuigwe takes on Danielle Collins.
Seeds Ash Barty and Kiki Bertens also won but former US Open champion Sam Stosur knocked out Madison Keys 6-4, 4-6, 6-4. Keys is just 4-4 on the year having lost four of her last five matches.
On Friday, 8-time champion Serena Williams begins play against Sweden’s Rebecca Peterson. World No. 1 Naomi Osaka opens the day against former US Open semifinalist Yanina Wickmayer and Sloane Stephens takes on Ons Jabeur.
Simona Halep, Karolina Pliskova and Caroline Wozniacki are also in second round action.
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