Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams didn't have it easy in the third round of the WTA Miami Open but both made it through their marathon matches and are now all set to start afresh in the next round on Monday.
Sharapova had to sweat it out to beat Lucie Safarova 6-4, 6-7(7), 6-2 on Saturday. The match went on for almost three hours and the crowd was in for a spectacle.
"She kept hitting unbelievable shots," Sharapova said after her win over the 26th seed. "One more. One more. I said, 'How many chances are you going to get?' I'm just so happy to go through."
They played 228 points to see a result. The Russian will now face world no.23 Kirsten Flipkens for a spot in the quarterfinals.
Where to Watch Live
Maria Sharapova vs Kirsten Flipkens starts at 11:00 am local time and 8.30 pm IST, followed by Serena Williams vs Coco Vandeweghe. Live coverage will be on Ten Sports in India, and for online viewers, the day's play will be live streamed in India and UK HERE and HERE. ESPN will have live coverage for the US and Australia but to watch the action live online, click HERE or HERE.
Serena Williams also had to run a similar marathon like Sharapova to make it to the next round. But the much-talked-about Caroline Garcia had already made her point, despite losing to the top-ranked Williams 4-6, 6-4, 4-6.
If 21-year-old Garcia was on top of her game as she breezed through her serves, Williams was upset with herself with 41 unforced errors, including seven double-faults.
"I can play a hundred times better," Williams said. "I really gave myself a tremendous amount of trouble out there. Granted she played great, but I made so many errors -- 40-something errors. It's not the way to play professional tennis. Maybe amateur."
Williams will now face fellow American Coo Vandeweghe in the fourth round as she bids for a record seventh title at Miami.
Meanwhile, in the men's singles, Andy Murrary did just fine without coach Ivan Lendl on the road, to defend his title with a comfortable 6-4, 6-1 win over Spain's Feliciano Lopez.
"It's not always that easy to feel comfortable against him because there is not loads of rhythm with the way he plays," Murray, who will face Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the next round, said. "But I moved well, returned well."
Two-time champion Roger Federer too had no problems brushing aside Thiemo de Bakker 6-3, 6-3.
"I'm feeling really good with my game," the Swiss said after defeating the Dutchman. "My confidence is high and I'm moving well. I'm excited about how I've been playing."
The world no. 5 will line up against ninth seed Frenchman Richard Gasquet in round four.