Linda Fruhvirtova, one of the next future stars in Czech tennis, will look to continue her surprise run in Miami. The 16 year-old plays Victoria Azarenka for a spot in the last 16. Azarenka is a three time champion here but has only played at that level sparingly over the last few years of her career.
Azarenka is 8-4 on the year with just one quarter final to her name so far. The Belarussian showed glimpses of the clutch play she was known for to take out a dangerous Ekaterina Alexandrova in three sets, 6-4 2-6 7-6. Alexandrova hit 51 winners in a dramatic match but it was Azarenka who delivered in the key moments, taking the match in a the tiebreak at the third time of asking.
Ranked No. 279, Fruhvirtova received a wildcard for this event as is customary for many future stars at the Miami Open. She began with an easy defeat of Danka Kovinic but it is her 7-5 2-6 6-1 win against Elise Mertens that has made everyone stand up and take notice. In her first match against a top 30 player she held her nerve after it looked the Belgian was mounting a comeback from a set down. “I never played against a Top 25 player, and it’s unbelievable. I still can’t believe it. But I’m so happy I got the win here. I worked really hard for this, and I’m enjoying it.” she said. “I was like, ‘Just stay focused until the match is over’… She had some chances at the beginning of the third set to break me. But it’s unbelievable.”
This should be a fascinating test for one of the rising stars against a player with a large list of titles to her name. You would expect that experience to make the difference for Azarenka who could well be making a charge on the top 10 once more.
Prediction – Victoria Azarenka in straight sets