Arina Sabalenka is obviously working in the final set of her match. Frances Tiafoe looked like he could fly, as he rose high to head the ball.
Conditions were harsh at the Miami Open.
However, the best seeds coped with the challenge.
World No. 1 Ash Barty of Australia won the final nine points to finish seventh-placed Sabalenka in the women’s three-set quarterfinal, while Russia’s first-ranked Daniil Medvedev reached fourth with a direct victory over Tiafoe, part of the day the US contingent men was cut from four to one, with Sebastian Korda, the lone survivor in the United States around 16
The 20-year-old Korda stunned fifth-placed Diego Schwartzman of Argentina 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 for the biggest victory of his career to date. And that will make Thursday an interesting Thursday for the Corda family: he will be in the quarterfinals in Miami that day, while his sisters Jessica and Nelly will play in the first round of the first women’s golf of the year, ANA Inspiration.
“Myself is a person who will be special, man,” Tiafoe said.
Korda, whose father Peter Korda reached number 2 in the world during his stellar career, made a show to delight the evening crowd. He was defeated 5-4 in the third to give Schwartzman hope, then responded by smashing the Argentine right back and finally serving the match.
It was a little cooler at the time than the brutal conditions the players endured in the daytime session.
After some early clouds cleared and the bright sun began to set, the average afternoon temperature reached mid-80s Fahrenheit (upper 20s Celsius) at Hard Rock Stadium and the humidity made it feel even hotter.
Barty did not dry up, displacing Sabalenka 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-3 for his third victory in three sets in four matches in the tournament. Medvedev defeated Tiafo 6-4, 6-3 and went 10-1 in sets against the American in their last four games.
“Everywhere in the world there are different conditions and sometimes it suits you better than other places,” said Barty. “I feel that these are very familiar conditions for me. With the heat and humidity it is very similar to Brisbane, where I grew up and what I was born and raised and trained all my life.
Barty faced seven break points in the match and saved them all. She will meet No. 5 Elina Svitolina in the semifinals on Thursday; Svitolina passed Anastasia Sevastova 6-3, 6-2 on Tuesday night to make the final four in Miami for the first time.
Barty is currently 18-3 in his last 21 setters, 10-1 in his last 11 quarter-final matches and 12-3 in his last 15 games against colleagues from the top 10 players. And she won her winning streak in Miami in 10 games.
“I enjoy these courts,” Barty said. “You know, I enjoy the balls and how they react to the spin. Many different elements. But you know, there are a lot of places in the world that I enjoy playing in, and here’s one of them. “
Tiafow was a quarterfinalist in Miami in 2019 and neither John Isner could repeat that feat. He squandered a match point during a tiebreak in the third set and fell to seventh-placed Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (7).
Bautista Agut will face Medvedev in the quarterfinals. Medvedev had 11 aces and showed no signs of wear, two days after heat spasms during a third-round victory.
“I think we were both really tired, but I think we did an amazing show. … I was really pleased with my performance today, “Medvedev said.
This was Isner’s earliest exit from Miami in 2017, when he lost in the third round. He won the tournament in 2018 and lost the 2019 final to Roger Federer in straight sets.
“He always makes difficult matches, playing against him,” said Bautista Agut. “He has very great service and a lot of power from the starting level with forehand. It always makes it hard, doesn’t it? “
Tiafoe needed a medical timeout in the second set of his match, the heat and humidity took their toll. He was on vacation at the time and the match just slipped away.
“I felt like I couldn’t really breathe,” Tiafo said. “I felt my heart beating from my chest. I was belching a lot, I couldn’t calm down much. I was belching a lot, I didn’t discuss it much during those matches, but obviously today it was out of control.”
Number 22 Taylor Fritz of the United States also bowed, falling to No. 32 Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-4. Bublik will face No. 21 Jannik Sinner of Italy in the quarterfinals; Sinner advanced 6-3, 6-2 over Finland’s Emil Ruusuvuori.
“The service was going well today,” Bublik said.
Poland’s No. 26 Hubert Hurkacz achieved a slight frustration, defeating No. 12 Milos Raonic of Canada 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (4).