MIAMI (AP) — Aryna Sabalenka clearly laboured in the final set of her match. Frances Tiafoe seemed to barely have the energy needed to reach the post-match handshake.
Conditions were tough at the Miami Open. The top seeds, however, were up to the challenge.
World Number One Ash Barty of Australia won the final nine points to finish off the seventh-seeded Sabalenka in a three-set women’s quarterfinal on Tuesday, while men’s top-seeded Daniil Medvedev of Russia reached the quarters with a straight-set win over Tiafoe — part of a day where the American men’s contingent was pared from four to one, with Sebastian Korda the lone round-of-16 survivor for the US.
The 20-year-old Korda stunned fifth-seeded Diego Schwartzman of Argentina 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 for the biggest win of his career to date. Korda put on a show to delight the evening crowd. He was broken at 5-4 in the third to give Schwartzman hope, then responded by breaking the Argentine right back and finally serving out the match. By then, it was maybe a bit cooler than the brutal conditions that players endured in the day session — but still tough, which Korda appreciated.
After some early clouds cleared out and bright sunshine starting pounding down, the mid-afternoon temperature reached the mid-80s Fahrenheit (upper 20s Celsius) at Hard Rock Stadium and the humidity made it feel even hotter.
Barty didn’t wilt, ousting Sabalenka 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-3 for her third three-set win in four matches at the tournament. Medvedev beat Tiafoe 6-4, 6-3, and has gone 10-1 in sets against the American in their past four head-to-head matchups.
“Everywhere in the world there are different conditions and at times it suits you more than other places,” Barty said.
“I feel like these are very familiar conditions for me. With the heat and humidity, it’s very similar to Brisbane where I grew up and what I was born and bred and trained in my whole life.”