MIAMI, March 24, 2016
The 32nd edition of the Miami Open presented by Itau got underway at the Tennis Center at Crandon Park on Wednesday. 16 matches of the top half of the draw were scheduled on Day 1 when Juan Martin Del Potro headlined the evening session against fellow Argentine Guido Pella. The 27-year-old from Tandil fired six aces, saved all two break points he faced and converted three of his own to prevail in one hour and 28 minutes. In the second round, Del Potro will face Roger Federer for the 21st time.
Fernando Verdasco, who is making his 14th straight appearance in Florida, won the all-leftie-encounter with Gilles Muller 7-6, 6-3. The world number 65 from Spain saved all five break points he faced, converting two of his own to gain his third victory of the Luxembourg native in the pair’s fourth tour meeting after one hour and 29 minutes. Verdasco will play 28th seed Jeremy Chardy next.
Kyle Edmund defeated Jiri Vesely 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 on his fourth match point. The 21-year-old Brit withstood eight aces, hitting seven of his own to celebrate his first win at the Miami Open after two hours and 30 minutes. Edmund sets a second round clash with world number Novak Djokovic, who will open his bid for a sixth Miami crown.
Alexander Zverev emerged victorious from the all-teen-affair, the only seventh in the tournament’s history since 1985, with US-American wild card Michael Mmoh, winning 7-6, 7-6. The 18-year-old German clearly didn’t show his best performance but was very solid in the tie-breaks to prevail in one hour and 54 minutes. After earning his 10th match win of the season, Zverev will face the tournament’s number 31 Steve Johnson next.
“Today, with the changes in conditions compared to Indian Wells, it wasn’t easy to play the best tennis of my life,” Zverev said. “But I got through it and I’m happy to be in the second round. I always knew Michael is a great player. He has a huge serve and he knows the conditions perfectly since he practices here.
“I think everybody is paying more attention to the young guys now. The top guys are looking out. It’s nice to get the attention,” added Zverev, who was a point away from upsetting Rafael Nadal at the BNP Paribas Open. “This showed me that I can play at the same level as the top guys. Unfortunately I didn’t win it, but that can happen against someone like Rafa.”
Qualifier Taylor Fritz also found his way into the second round. The 18-year-old US-American downed Simone Bolelli 6-4, 6-2 without facing a break point in one hour and 10 minutes. Fritz, who is the youngest player inside the top 100, will take on David Ferrer next.
Inigo Cervantes defeated Russian youngster Andrey Rublev, who recently won his first ATP Challenger in Quimper and was granted a wild card into the tournament. The 26-year-old Spaniard sent down eight aces and won 96% of his first service points to set a second round meeting with Viktor Troicki after 61 minutes.
Marcel Granollers, who captured his first tour title in three years by lifting the trophy at the ATP Challenger Irving Tennis Classic last Sunday, won the battle of the qualifier against Bjorn Fratangelo 6-3, 7-5. The in-form-Spaniard sent down six aces and converted three of his six break point opportunities to advance after one hour and 33 minutes. Granollers will take on number 15 David Goffin in the second round.