From old time tennis rivalry, to astonishing young faces, impressive comebacks and even a self-help word of advice… we pick 5 of our favourite moments of the Miami Open 2017.
While one half of the men’s Big Four (Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray) had to miss out due to injuries, the other half, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal‘s 13-year long rivalry takes centre stage at the finals of the Miami Open. Considered to be the greatest rivalry in tennis history, Rafa currently leads with an overall head-to-head record of 23-13. Their rivalry took a backseat when both players were injured while focus was shift to Djokovic and Murray’s fight to be world’s no.1. Statically, it may seem like Roger does not have the upper hand but his unusually strong backhand might just anchor him to another victory, just like at the Australian Open, against Rafa. No matter who wins, being able to watch two greatest of all time playing against each other, tennis fans and their sponsor Nike are the biggest winners.
Remember how we were saying that Johanna Konta is the one to look out for in 2017? Jo proved us right by defeating Caroline Wozniacki at the Miami Open to claim the biggest title by any British women in 40 years. She now joins Andy Murray as a British Champion at the Crandon Park and moves to No.7 in the world rankings. How did she dismantle the former world no.1 under an hour and 35 minutes? It might sound like one of those cheesy self-improvement suggestion but “Be happy,” was her coach’s on-court advice after a tense first set. She nodded, she smiled and returned to finish the job 6-4, 6-3.
Just when we thought that the future of men’s tennis is looking bleak, Nick Kyrgios and Alexander Zverev Jr. showed us that a new force has awakened. Both #nextgen players aged 21 and 19 respectively, slayed their way to the quarterfinals, dismantling higher ranked players such as world no.3 Stan Wawrinka and David Goffin en route. Their quarterfinals match against each other was one of the most exciting matches at the Miami Open this year and we sense popcorn worthy tennis rivalry brewing. The two boys did not make it the finals of the tourney but either one of them will climb to the throne of tennis king in the future.
Her younger sister may have outshined her on several occasions but Venus Williams‘ stellar performance this year sure is remarkable. A surprise finalist at the Australian Open, Venus swatted aside world no.1, Angelique Kerber for a semi-final spot at Miami. This victory marks her 15th career win against a No.1 player and her first in three years. At 36 years of age, she sure is playing some of the most amazing tennis on the women’s tour. And don’t forget, she was once diagnosed with Sjögren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disease that saps up your energy. She may have lost at the semi-finals but it’s about time we give Venus the credit she deserves.
Remember how we were grumbling about Simona Halep‘s shocking second round finish at the Shenzhen Open? And not forgetting her first round defeat at the Australian Open. She was then plagued with knee issues and had to pull out from the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy and the Middle East Swing to heal the injury. Fortunately, things are looking a little more positive for Simona as she found her groove back at Miami. The look in her eyes when she came back a set down to win her fourth round match against Australia’s Sam Stosur oozes confidence and that’s exactly how a Top 5 should look like. She may have only made it to the last eight of the tournament (lost to Jo Konta in the QF) but we’re definitely excited to see her on clay.
Header image source: Miami Open