Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei exited the Miami Open in the second round of the women’s doubles on Sunday, while top seed Novak Djokovic recovered from a spill to advance to the round-of-16 of the men’s singles.
Former world No. 1s Hsieh and Peng Shuai of China succumbed to a fightback by Ekaterina Makarova and Barbora Strycova to fall to a 5-7, 6-2, 10-6 loss in 1 hour, 25 minutes at the Tennis Center at Crandon Park in Key Biscayne, Florida.
The Russian-Czech duo saved five of eight break points and converted four of seven, winning 66 of the 131 points contested to advance to a quarter-final against eighth-seeded Chinese pairing Xu Yifan and Zheng Saisai.
In the men’s singles, Djokovic was chasing a shot in his forehand corner when his left foot gave way and he tumbled to the court, landing on his left side as his racket went flying.
He lost the point, the game and his serve, making it 4-4 in the first set, but the collision with the concrete gave his game a needed jolt, and he quickly rose to pull away and beat Joao Sousa 6-4, 6-1.
In the first game after he fell, Djokovic cracked several forehands more forceful than those he had previously offered. He broke for a 5-4 lead and lost only 11 points in the final eight games.
Djokovic said he slipped on a wet spot and was not concerned that he had hurt himself, but he was worried about beating Sousa.
“That first set went down to a few points,” Djokovic said. “After that it was quite a good performance. He made me push myself harder in the second set.”
Djokovic is bidding for his sixth Miami Open title, which would tie Andre Agassi’s men’s record. Serena Williams is seeking her ninth title.
Lucky loser Horacio Zeballos of Argentina joined Djokovic in the round-of-16 by saving a match point and beating Fernandez Verdasco 1-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7/4).
Zeballos’ wife, Sofia, is back in Argentina monitoring his matches while awaiting the birth of their child, which is due on April 10.
“During the third set, all of a sudden I started thinking: ‘I hope she’s not nervous,’” Zeballos said. “It was crazy for me to be having those thoughts during the match. I am having a great time here, but I also want the baby to be born already and experience that moment of becoming a father. Hoping she can hang on a few more days.”
Zeballos said he would pull out of the tournament if his child is born while he is still contending. He lost in qualifying, but made the draw when Roger Federer withdrew because of a stomach virus.
In the women’s singles, two-time champion Victoria Azarenka overcame five double faults and held every service game to beat qualifier Magda Linette 6-3, 6-0.
Azarenka, seeded 13th, moved into the fourth round and is bidding to become only the third woman to win Indian Wells and Miami back-to-back.
Floridian Madison Keys, seeded 22nd, reached the round-of-16 for the first time in seven tournament appearances by beating ninth seed Roberta Vinci 6-4, 6-4.
Keys won 19 of 21 points at the net.
In other men’s singles matches, seventh seed Tomas Berdych saved all 10 break points he faced to defeat Steve Johnson of the US 6-3, 6-7 (6/8), 6-3.
Johnson, seeded 31st, fell to 0-13 against top-10 opponents.
Dominic Thiem, seeded 14th, advanced to a clash against Djokovic by beating qualifier Yoshihito Nishioka 6-2, 6-2.
Djokovic ranks the 22-year-old Thiem as one of his favorite players to watch.
“He’s a young player who has a lot of potential and a nice variety in his game,” Djokovic said.
It was hot and humid for a second day in a row and Djokovic was fortunate to play in the evening shadows. He endured plenty of strenuous points in the first set, but Sousa then faded with a flurry of errors.
Seeded 33rd, Sousa has lost 19 matches in a row when playing top-10 opponents.
“Joao really played well in the beginning,” Djokovic said. “He wanted to take his chances; there’s not much to lose. In these cases it can be dangerous if you’re not hitting the ball well, but I rose to the occasion.”
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