Mon, 29 May 2023

Miami [US], March 26 (ANI): Frances Tiafoe withstood a ferocious returning assault from Japan's Yosuke Watanuki to sneak into the third round of the Miami Open on Sunday.

Frances Tiafoe edged out Yosuke Watanuki 6-7 (5), 7-6 (3), 6-4 on Sunday.

The daring 24-year-old World No. 123 fired 55 winners (including 28 off the forehand side) and kept the American on his toes by taking significant cuts on returns. Tiafoe needed six match points to defeat him.

"It was brutal tonight, just one of those nights you try to get over the line. I was a little frustrated as I had never seen him play and he played very well and was hitting incredibly from the baseline," quoted Tiafoe as saying.

"He was playing lights out and I was on the back foot a lot. He played a helluva match tonight, so give respect where respect is due. He was so red hot but I was hoping his level might drop in glimpses and I did a good job of taking advantage when it did," he added.

Tiafoe, a semi-finalist at the Indian Wells Open last week, is ranked at a career-high No. 14 in the ATP Rankings and is aiming to break that record in Miami. He will next compete against Italian Lorenzo Sonego, who defeated Daniel Evans in three sets after defeating Dominic Thiem in the first round of the US Open.

Countryman Ben Shelton, who lost to cunning French veteran Adrian Mannarino 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, did not have the same success as Tiafoe.

In a shocking loss to another Frenchman, Gregorie Barrere, who entered Miami having fallen in the first round of the BNP Paribas Open and the Phoenix Challenger, the 11th-seeded British player Cameron Norrie was defeated 6-3, 6-2. (ANI)

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