The third round of the Miami Open saw an all-unseeded match between Ajla Tomljanovic and Lucie Safarova, with the outcome being in favor of the former top 10 player as she closed out the victory in just a little over an hour.
Safarova strolls to win the first set
Safarova came into the match firing as she played a very straightforward service game to start the match with, looking really solid on her serves. The Czech then continued her good start as she broke serve in her opening return game, relying on her strong and solid groundstrokes to dictate play as Tomljanovic was forced to be trailing by an early deficit.
Unable to handle the pace of Safarova’s shots, Tomljanovic’s struggles continued as the former top 10 player easily held her service game for the second consecutive time. The low first serve percentage coming from the Croatian cost her greatly as her second serves were constantly being a form of target for Safarova, who took advantage of those vulnerable serves to break serve for the second straight time and take a formidable double break advantage to lead 4-0 within a blink of an eye.
Tomljanovic finally got herself onto the scoreboard as she retrieved one of the breaks back after a very sloppy service game from Safarova, who started to make an abundance of unforced errors to gift Tomljanovic a lifeline in the set. However, Safarova made an immediate reply as she broke straight back to love and regained her double break advantage as she edged closer to winning the first set having placed herself in an advantageous position to close out the set. Despite suffering a slight hiccup while serving for the set, Safarova saved two break point in the process to successfully serve out the set and seal the first set 6-1 after just a mere 28 minutes.
Safarova overcomes early deficit
Tomljanovic had an encouraging start to the second set, having her first hold of service in the match as she secured the best possible start. That comfortable hold of serve proved to be a source of confidence for the Croatian as she easily broke serve in the second serve as she stepped up her game and saw the Czech making more unforced errors than she did normally, jumping out to an early 2-0 lead in the set. Nevertheless, Safarova did not seem to be affected by the loss of her serve as she broke straight back immediately in the next game, returning on serve and increasing her chances of closing this out in straight sets.
The Czech faced a huge danger of going down a break once again but saved a break point after Tomljanovic hit a backhand just long, paving the way for her to secure the tough hold of serve. Her failure to convert her chances well proved to be costly as she lost her serve in the next game to gift Safarova the lead of a set and a break, which she affirmed with a comfortable service hold to love in the following game. Safarova had a chance to have a double break lead in this set, but Tomljanovic saved it with an excellent serve which was unreturnable. Soon after, Safarova found herself just one game away from the victory at 5-3 and forced Tomljanovic to serve to stay in the match. Unable to deal with the pressure, she eventually gifted the match to Safarova after just 62 minutes and therefore the Czech sealed a place in the fourth round for the first time.