Federer cruises, Venus loses, Hsieh pulls off another upset at Miami OpenMarch 26, 2019 2:46am

March 25-- MIAMI GARDENS, Fla.-One thing can be said about Roger Federer's latest victim, 103rd-ranked Filip Krajinovic of Serbia: He has a sense of humor.

Down a set and trailing 4-1 in the second Monday afternoon at the Miami Open, Krajinovic hit a half-volley into the net after a long rally and then picked the ball up and gently tossed it over to Federer's side of the court, as if to say "This is the only way I can win a point." Most players on the men's tour could relate after playing the 20-time Grand Slam champion.

The crowd cheered, Federer smirked and continued to cruise to a 7-5, 6-3 victory in 90 minutes.

"I like when players show emotions, like Filip did in that instance," Federer said. "And me, I'm smiling because I thought it was a weird, ridiculous point that I got very lucky to win somehow. We're not robots, so it was good to see."

Their match started later than expected after an hour and a half rain delay, but Federer did not seem bothered by the wait. He had 35 winners, served 14 aces, and advanced to the fourth round, where he will play 13th-seeded Daniil Medvedev of Russia in Tuesday's late-night match, to begin not before 9 p.m. on Hard Rock Stadium's center court.

Medvedev outlasted 6-foot-11 American qualifier Reilly Opelka of West Palm Beach 7-6 (7-5), 6-7 (7-5), 7-6 (7-0) on Monday in a thrilling match that lasted 2 hours, 22 minutes and had no breaks of serve. Opelka had 22 aces and Medvedev served 19 aces.

Federer, the 37-year-old Swiss maestro known for his punctuality, was late to his post-match press conference because he said he was scouting his next opponent, who is known for having variety in his game. Medvedev improved his ranking from No. 331 in 2015 to 65 in 2017 to No. 16 by the end of 2018.

"He can play back and play in as well; he's clever," Federer said of Medvedev. "He plays flat. It's a bit of a different approach and thankfully I played him twice last year in Basel and Shanghai (Federer won both). I'm looking forward to the match. I'm very impressed with his progress. The last year has been unbelievable for him."

The same can be said for Hsieh Su-Wei, the bubbly 33-year-old from Chinese Taipei, who has a unique style and knocked off former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki 6-3, 6-7 (7-0), 6-2 on Monday after beating current No. 1 Naomi Osaka in the previous round.

"Now I feel like when I go on the court, I feel more relaxed than before," said Hsieh, giggling. "I don't know why. Because before, I would go into the big court, I feel like I'm a new girl and I never been to this court, and I feel like, 'Wow, I'm, like, 18 years old, I walk into this big court', and now I little bit get into the situation, so I feel better."

Hsieh turned pro in 2001, but hadn't made a splash until she turned 30. She had won just one set in four previous matches against Wozniacki, but they hadn't played since 2015. Since then, Hsieh made her French boyfriend Frederic Aniere her coach, and has had six wins over Top 10 players. Although she is rail-thin, she makes up for her lack of power with unpredictability that leaves opponents flummoxed. Her two-handed groundstrokes on both sides of the ball make her one of the most unusual players in the game.

Osaka said of Hsieh: "She was hitting down the line on balls I was sure she would go cross-court. I definitely thought she was being unpredictable."

Annett Kontaveit said: "I actually enjoy watching (Hsieh's) matches a lot. She mixes it up so much, and she's fun to watch. She's done really great. It's tough to find your rhythm against her."

Asked to describe Hsieh, Simona Halep said: "I don't know how to describe, honestly. She's very talented. I want to say that, because she hides the ball. I played at Wimbledon with her last year and-two years ago, and was really, really tough, but, you know, she has it in her hands. So, I cannot describe her game. It's really interesting.

Is there anybody else like her? "No. I don't think so," Halep said. "I think she feels it. It's not about learning. I think she just feels the ball, and it comes easy to her. If you put someone else to hit like that, I'm not sure that it's possible."

Halep, the No. 2 seed from Romania, advanced to the quarterfinals with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Venus Williams. Halep is through to the final eight in Miami for the fourth time in the past five years. She needed just one hour, 12 minutes to get past Williams, who struggled throughout the match.

Kontaveit of Estonia reached the quarters after Canadian teen Bianca Andreescu retired with a shoulder injury down 6-1, 2-0. Andreescu said she will skip the next tournament in Charleston, S.C., and get some rest.

"I tried to get as much treatment as I can and I thought it would be okay, but obviously it just got worse as the match progressed," said Andreescu, the surprise winner at Indian Wells, Calif., last week. "I guess this is just a way of my body telling me that it's had enough. It's disappointing, but it's part of the sport."

Tuesday's Miami Open schedule is loaded. Defending champion John Isner plays Kyle Edmund in the first match on Stadium Court, followed by Hsieh vs. Kontaveit, Novak Djokovic vs Roberto Bautista Agut, Petra Kvitova vs Ashleigh Barty, and then Federer-Medvedev.

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(c)2019 Miami Herald

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