Watson crushed by Azarenka in Miami, Murray receives walkover on day two
Britain’s Heather Watson was dismantled by world number one Victoria Azarenka in straight sets, as her impressive run in Miami came to an end.
The Belarusian’s 6-0 6-2 triumph was her 25th consecutive victory and put paid to Guernsey-born Watson, who started the Masters 1000 tournament ranked 129 in the world.
That number will be sure to change after two notable scalps over Lucie Safarova and Sorana Cirstea in the two previous rounds. There was a perception before the match that Watson may well push her esteemed opponent all the way to three sets, but the Brit couldn’t live with Azarenka’s consistency from the back of court.
Watson made over 40 unforced errors during the encounter and that enabled the Australian Open Champion to continue her winning run with consummate ease.
Elsewhere, the other Brit in action on the hard courts, Andy Murray, received a walkover into the last 16 as his Canadian opponent Milos Raonic was forced to pull out with an ankle injury.
The world number 26’s huge serve may have proved troublesome for the Scot, who certainly won’t be complaining as he prepares to take on Frenchman Gilles Simon tomorrow.
Simon warmed up for the clash with a 7-6 6-4 victory over Jurgen Melzer.
The biggest upset of the day came when Czech world number seven Tomas Berdych, a Wimbledon finalist back in 2010, crashed out 6-3 2-6 6-4 to Bulgarian youngster Grigor Dimitrov.
Rafael Nadal though, had no such troubles, comfortably swatting away the Czech veteran Radek Stepanek 6-2 6-2.
Other names to watch out for in the draw and joining Murray in the last 16 are ninth seed Janko Tipsarevic, a 6-4 5-7 6-2 victory over Alexandr Dolgopolov, and the man for all occasions, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. The sixth seed beat German Philipp Kohlschreiber 7-6 6-4.
Advancing with Azarenka in the women’s draw are Venus Williams, who surprisingly lost the opening set to Aleksandra Wozniak before prevailing 4-6 6-4 7-6, Marion Bartoli and Ana Ivanovic.
The Frenchwoman Bartoli, famed for her eccentricity as well as her tennis, had a relatively calm 6-4 7-6 triumph over Simona Halep, whilst Serb Ivanovic defeated Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia 6-2 7-6.
Star names in action on day three in Miami include Novak Djokovic, Juan Martin del Potro and Maria Sharapova. The biggest game of the day though, sees Swiss maestro Roger Federer take on old friend Andy Roddick.
A-Rod has slipped to number 34 in the world rankings after recent struggles with an injury, but will relish another shot at taking on arguably the greatest player of all time. With a packed and vibrant Miami crowd supporting him, he will no doubt still feel he has a chance of pushing Federer all the way. That match begins at around 00.30 am on Tuesday morning.