Tournament favorite Daniil Medvedev had to dig deep to oust Alexei Popyrin Sunday at the Miami Masters in a 7-6(3), 6-7(7), 6-4 victory. In the afternoon heat, the top-seeded Medvedev failed to convert match points in the second(he led 4-1 in the set) but managed to survive in three over the 21-year-old from Australia.
“It’s probably one of the sweetest victories in my career, because I was cramping like hell in the third set,” Medvedev told the crowd. “It’s one thing when you’re cramping when you’re [ahead in the score], but I started cramping before. It was tough to think about the win in these conditions.
“At the same time, I should have won in two sets and we would not be talking about cramping. But anyway, we have the result on the board and I’m happy that I managed to go through all the difficulties of this definitely crazy match.”
Medvedev will now test Frances Tiafoe on Tuesday in the fourth round. Tiafoe and two of his American countrymen went 3-0 on the day. Tiafoe ousted Dusan Lajovic in three sets in the final match on Sunday.
Earlier, former champion John Isner squared off against former semifinalist Felix Auger-Aliassime, and it was Isner on top in two breakers 7-6(5), 7-6(5).
Isner has won his last 11 breakers at the event and smacked 16 aces during his win over the young Canadian star.
“I knew it was going to be tough,” said Isner. “Felix is such an incredible player. These conditions are good for me. I think I knew at the very worst I was going to be able to make it a close match and make it come down to a few points here and there. That was the case today.
“Certainly there are some things I wish I would have done better, but all in all I’m happy to win the match and happy to move on.”
Said Auger-Aliassime, “We were both serving well. Six and 6 I guess is a pretty common score against John. I think I was able to protect my serve well. Didn’t face a breakpoint, so that was good on my part.
“Then I think I could have adjusted a few things, looking back on the return, to try to find a way to, I don’t know, even bunt a few returns in the court to make him play.”
Isner will now meet Roberto Bautista Agut in the fourth round. The Spaniard came from a set down to beat Jan-Lennard Struff.
Taylor Fritz also won beating Cameron Norrie 6-4, 3-6, 6-1. Fritz now gets Alexander Bublik.
Jannik Sinner scored a big win taking over Karen Khachanov in three sets 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-4. He’ll take on another youngster in Emil Ruusuvuori.
On Monday, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev return. Tsitsipas clashes with Kei Nishikori while Rublev meets Marton Fucsovics.
And promising stars Sebastian Korda collides with Aslan Karatsev and Lorenzo Musetti tests Marin Cilic.
MONDAY MIAMI SCHEDULE
Grandstand – 11am
Barty (AUS) vs. Azarenka (BLR)
Rublev (RUS) vs. Fucsovics (HUN)
Osaka (JPN) vs. Mertens (BEL)
Tsitsipas (GRE) vs. Nishikori (JPN)
Muguruza (ESP) vs. Andreescu (CAN)
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