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Andreescu Edges Sakkari in Miami Open Rematch

Photo credit: Rob Stone/@robstonetennis

Some players wear their heart on their sleeve.

Bianca Andreescu wears her heart on her shoulder.

Today, Andreescu showed fierce competitive character overcoming Maria Sakkari 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 in a pulsating three hour, four-minute battle at Hard Rock Stadium.

The 2021 Miami Open finalist Andreescu broke three times in the final set and fended off a break point serving out the match to reach the Miami Open round of 32. 

“I think the match was really good from both of our parts. Maria played amazing,” Andreescu said. “She was playing very aggressive.

“I felt like I was on my heels a lot of the time during the match, but I made every ball. I fought to the end, and I think I played the important points just a little bit better today. But, yeah, it could have gone either way today. ”

The woman wearing the heart tattoo on her left shoulder backed up her 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 win over 2021 US Open champion Emma Raducanu in round one showing her strength in the heat against Sakkari, one of the fittest players on tour, who has played 12 three-setters in 22 matches this season.

Sharp ball movement and her commitment to the fight helped Andreescu get over the line and snap a five-match losing streak against Top 10 opponents today.

It is Andreescu’s 11th career Top 10 win with 10 of those 11 victories coming on her preferred hard court.

The win sends Andreescu into a round of 32 meeting against 2021 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin, who beat 28th-seeded Anhelina Kalinina 6-3, 6-4. 

Both Kenin and Andreescu are aiming to find their form and progressing to a round of 16 in Miami would be a significant step for both women.

“I think she’s playing great tennis,” Andreescu said. “I’ve watched a few of her matches this year. I know that she might not be doing as well as she’s hoping, but same with me.

“So I think it’s going to be an interesting matchup. She’s had amazing results, and I’ve played her a few times. So, yeah, hopefully I can do well.”

Andreescu has won three of four meetings with Kenin, including a 6-3, 6-3 sweep at the 2019 Miami Open though they have not played since the 2019 Toronto semifinals.

Today’s first match on Hard Rock Stadium court was a rematch of the physical 2021 Miami Open semifinal.

In that frenetic battle, Sakkari served for the final only to see Andreescu navigate her fourth consecutive three-setter with a 7-6(7), 3-6, 7-6(4) victory.

When Indian Wells semifinalist Sakkari snatched a one-set lead today, Andreescu kept calm and broke at 30 for a 3-1 second-set lead. Andreescu confirmed the break for 4-1 and did not look back collecting the second set to force a decider.

In the final set, Andreescu broke serve in Sakkari’s first three service games again rolling out to a 4-1 lead. Sakkari gained a break point in the final game but sent a forehand long. Andreescu improved to 10-2 in Miami and summed up her success simply: she relishes the football stadium stage.

“I like big stages. I guess that’s what it is, honestly,” Andreescu said. “Just being on the big stage. I like it. I thrive on it. Well, I try to.”

Andreescu closed in three hours, four minutes and could do damage in a section of the draw that includes two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova, Olympic gold-medal champion Belinda Bencic and Canadian Leylah Fernandez, who faces Bencic tonight on Butch Buchholz Family Court.

It was a tough day for high seeds.

Wimbledon finalist and No. 4-seeded Ons Jabeur lost to qualifier Varvara Gracheva 6-2, 6-2 on Grandstand.

The 54th-ranked Gracheva converted five of six break points.

Jabeur, who lacked the spring in her legs and sharpness she showed reaching world No. 2 last season, dropped to 4-4 in 2023. The two-time major finalist has not won back-to-back matches since Adelaide in January.

Meanwhile, over on Court 7, former French Open finalist Marketa Vondrousova took down 11th-seeded Veronika Kudermetova 6-4, 6-2 on the strength of five service breaks.

The left-handed Vondrousova advanced to an all-Czech clash vs. Karolina Pliskova.

Earlier, the 17th-seeded Pliskova fended off seven of nine break points in a 6-2, 6-4 win over Xinyu Wang.