Top-seeded Daniil Medvedev on Sunday hobbled into the fourth round of the Miami Open, defying crippling leg cramps to beat Australian Alexei Popyrin 7-6 (7/3), 6-7 (7/9), 6-4.
World No. 2 Medvedev, increasingly hampered as the third set wore on, nevertheless mustered the only service break of the third set on the way to a dramatic victory over 86th-ranked Popyrin in the hard-court tournament.
“It’s probably one of the sweetest victories in my career, because I was cramping like hell,” Medvedev said. “There were moments where I just wanted to lie down and say: ‘OK, it’s over,’ but I couldn’t accept that.”
Medvedev had appeared to be cruising to the finish line when he seized a 5-2 lead in the second set.
Popyrin held serve for 5-3, but since Medvedev had not faced a break point in the match, another hold seemed a mere formality.
Instead, Medvedev was broken to love in a game that featured a double fault and three superb forehand winners from Popyrin.
Popyrin fell to 0-40 in the next game, but an ace from Medvedev erased three match points.
Medvedev saved two set points in the tiebreak before Popyrin leveled the match with a forehand winner on his third set point.
Medvedev next faces unseeded American Frances Tiafoe, who beat 16th-seeded Dusan Lajovic of Serbia 1-6, 7-5, 6-3.
Second-seeded Naomi Osaka of Japan reached the fourth round for the first time, without lifting a racquet, when scheduled opponent Nina Stojanovic withdrew with a right-thigh injury.
The US and Australian Open champion — who could overtake world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty in the rankings with a title victory if the Australian fails to reach the final — next faces 16th-seeded Belgian Elise Mertens, who defeated Anett Kontaveit of Estonia 6-2, 0-6, 6-2.
Spain’s Garbine Muguruza, a two-time Grand Slam winner who ended a two-year title drought in Dubai this month, dropped the first set on the way to a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory over Anna Kalinskaya.
Muguruza next faces eighth-seeded Bianca Andreescu of Canada, a 7-6 (7/4), 6-7 (2/7), 6-4 winner over Amanda Anisimova of the US.
Fourth-seeded Sofia Kenin of the US was eliminated by 27th seed Ons Jabeur of Tunisia 6-4, 4-6, 6-4.
A decade ago, the plight of former champion gymnast Zhang Shangwu shocked China and made world headlines when he was discovered begging in Beijing, prompting a recycling magnate to give him a job. That should have heralded a turnaround for Zhang, who had been imprisoned for theft after injury ended his gymnastics career. However, after another stint in jail, Zhang is again making a living on the streets, doing handstands and singing for a live online audience in a parking lot in Baoding. Athletes in China are often reared in special schools from a young age and can struggle to adjust to normal
‘HISTORIC’ MOMENT: ‘ Matsuyama Masters’ was trending on Twitter in Japan, as TV stations ran breaking news flashes and golf-related shares rose on the stock market Japan on Sunday sucked in its breath as Hideki Matsuyama almost blew his chance to win the Masters, but the golfer’s one-shot victory at Augusta National sparked a joyous reaction back home as the country celebrated another sporting triumph in testing times. Matsuyama, 29, became the first man from Japan to win one of golf’s major titles, a feat that drew praise from government and Olympics officials with the Tokyo Games just three months away. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato expressed “congratulations and respect from the heart” for Matsuyama’s “historic” win, which came as ray of hope during the COVID-19 pandemic. “It
ANTI-ASIAN SENTIMENT: Speaking of Chang Yu, Indians manager Terry Francona said errors are part of baseball, but ‘ignorance and racism ... shouldn’t be anywhere’ “Stupid and ignorant” is what Indians manager Terry Francona called racist social media messages sent to first baseman Chang Yu. They have no place in baseball or “anywhere,” Francona added. On Tuesday, Chang shared some anti-Asian postings he received on Twitter after he made a costly error in the ninth inning of Monday’s game in Chicago. The throwing error allowed the White Sox to score the winning run. Chang, who is Taiwanese, posted some of the messages on his account, while asking for tolerance. One of the messages referred to the shape of his eyes and another referred to COVID-19. “Exercise your freedom
ON THE TABLE: While another Japanese official dismissed the comments, a minister in charge of vaccinations said that there could be a total bar on spectators at the Games Canceling the Tokyo Olympics over COVID-19 remains a possibility, a senior Japanese politician said yesterday, as a surge in cases renews concerns about the Games with less than 100 days to go. Toshiro Nikai, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s (LDP) No. 2, said the Olympics must be canceled “without hesitation” if the virus situation is too severe. A year after their historic postponement, the 2020 Olympics remain beset by COVID-19 problems, with parts of the torch relay forced behind closed doors and public support consistently low. Organizers and Olympic officials insist the Games will go ahead safely, but Nikai said that all options