Апреля 24 2018

Serena Williams' return from pregnancy sparks seeding debate at Miami Open

Апреля 24 2018, 06:51 | Van Peters

Miami Open prepares for final year in Key Biscayne before move to Hard Rock Stadium

Williams ironically owns part of the Miami Dolphins.'She'll probably be the first person to win a tennis tournament she owns' Dolphins majority owner Stephen Ross said jokingly in an interview with ESPN

And Osaka maintained her momentum by grabbing the first set with another break, Williams unable to cope with the Japanese's powerful and accurate groundstrokes. "But anyone that's going to count Serena out is doing so at their own peril".

She, however, has a unsafe first-round opponent in Japan's Naomi Osaka, who emerged as the surprise victor at Indian Wells. "These kind of things shouldn't happen", Blake told AFP.

Williams has won eight titles on Key Biscayne and attended as a fan when she was a child.

Three-time Miami Open champion Victoria Azarenka will face the American teenager CiCI Bellis while Bethanie Mattek-Sands, one of eight wildcard recipients, makes her return from a serious knee injury against Alize Cornet in their opening round meeting.

"It's a kind of punishment, which is tough", Blake continued, per The Washington Post. She needed only eight shots to win the match's first five points, but things became much more hard after that. That does not apply to seedings, though. No special exemption can be made for Williams to be given a seeding due to a WTA rule that enforces ranking-based seedings.

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Blake believes the former world No. 1 is effectively being penalised for taking maternity leave by existing WTA tournament regulations.

Wozniacki will hope to go one step better than previous year and her challenge will begin against former US Open victor Sam Stosur or Olympic gold medallist from Rio Monica Puig. "She is looking forward to every day as a new challenge and that's what makes her such a good champion", Blake said. "I think she should have been actually No. 1 seed in [Indian Wells] because she left as No. 1 in the world".

Darren Cahill, Halep's coach, touched off a Twitter conversation on the topic last week, writing: "This match should not be happening in a 3rd round".

In an interview with the New York Times last week, WTA chief Steve Simon said the rules could be "further reviewed". For starters, the victor of that massive first-round match will have to face world No. 4 Elina Svitolina in the second round, providing more early-round women's excitement in Miami. "And now I feel like it's time to start new memories and new moments, and I feel it's going to be just as great". Having revealed that she "nearly died" from complications after giving birth to her daughter last September, Serena was, not surprisingly, not in peak physical condition on her return to tournament play. "Serena is my favourite player so playing against her was a dream and I was very grateful, but it was even better that I was able to win".

Osaka's win over Williams was her latest victory over some of the biggest names in the sport. Afterward, she said her "room for improvement is incredible".

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