Americans Jessica Pegula and Coco Gauff advanced to the third round at the Miami Open with straight sets wins on Thursday.
World number three Pegula got her cam-paign under way with a confident 6-3, 6-1 second round win over Canada’s Katherine Sebov.
With top-ranked Iga Swiatek having withdrawn, American Pegula is among the favourites to challenge Aryna Sabalenka for the title.
“I had to adjust my game plan a little bit in that first set and then was able to close it out pretty easily,” said Pegula, a semi-finalist in Miami in 2022.
Pegula will face fellow American Danielle Collins in the second round after she beat Bulgarian Viktoriya Tomova 7-6 (7/3), 6-2.
“She is someone who is pretty tough to play against and on a fast court as well, she will be going for her shots and playing aggressive. She’s feisty, she competes really well. It’s going to be a tough match,” said Pegula.
Sixth-seed Gauff, beaten finalist in the French Open last year, saw off Canada’s Rebecca Marino 6-4, 6-3, converting five of her nine break points and twice coming back from a break down in the second set.
“It was an up-and-down match honestly. A lot of breaks. I mean, I did well in the returning part, considering she’s a big server,” said the 19-year-old.
“I’m really happy with how I played. She’s not an easy opponent. She makes a lot of big shots, doesn’t really give you a lot of rhythm. You kind of just have to hang in there,” she added.
Belgium’s Elise Mertens upset eighth seed Daria Kasatkina 4-6, 6-2, 6-2.
After letting a 3-0 advantage slip in the first set, Mertens dominated as Kasatkina struggled physically, needing a medical time-out in the second set.
Spain’s Paula Badosa battled to a 7-6 (7/2), 4-6, 6-3 win over Germany’s Laura Siegemund while Russian Anastasia Potapova defeated Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk 6-1, 6-3.
Kostyuk, enjoying plenty of support on the small outer court from Ukrainian fans gathered behind national flags, was never able to put her opponent under pressure.
There was no handshake from the two players at the end of the game as they left the court without acknowledging each other.
Potapova had generated some controversy and was formally warned by the WTA after wearing a Spartak Moscow football shirt before a game at Indian Wells. The Russian will face Gauff next.—APP