By Mike McIntyre
The first round of women's action at the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami was completed on Wednesday without any upsets to speak of. With the top thirty-two players receiving byes through to the second round, there really weren't many opportunities for upsets though I suppose.
Of the notable names in action, veterans Patty Schyder and Kimiko Date Krumm advanced in three sets respectively. In a match between two players on the comeback trail, Australia's Alicia Molik thrashed returning mother Ashley Harkleroad of the United States 6-1, 6-1. Justine Henin got by Jill Craybas 6-2, 6-2 to move on to an exciting second round match against fifth seeded Elena Dementieva. Up and coming American Melanie Oudin defeated Michaella Krajicek 6-2, 6-4.
Qualifiers fared decently as they managed a 5-6 record against higher ranked players who already had a guaranteed spot in the draw. There really are some advantages to having already played two pre-tournament matches as is evidenced by that statistic.
Some interesting second round matches on deck include Oudin against eleventh seeded Vera Zvonareva. Oudin has typically played well against high-ranked Russian's and could really use the confidence boost of defeating a top level player after a so-so start to 2010. Meanwhile, the Daniela Hantuchova versus Patty Schyder match has three sets written all over it.
Noticeably missing from action here in Miami are Serena Williams (knee), Dinara Safina (back) and Maria Sharapova (elbow) which has contributed to a somewhat sparse opening round.
On the men's side, only the bottom half of the draw saw action on Wednesday and as with the women there were no shocking upsets to discuss.
Richard Gasquet losing to diminutive Oliver Rochus was surprising, while Mario Ancic losing to Jeremy Chardy reveals that the tall Croat still has a ways to go after returning from mono. One player who must have been happy to get the win was Argentine David Nalbandian who also recently returned to the tour.
Another nice sight was Taylor Dent defeating veteran qualifier Rainer Schuettler in straight sets. While I know that members of the media are supposed to stay unbiased, I really have a soft spot for the serve and volley style that Dent brings to the game. And how can you not root for a guy who thought his career was over due to a serious back injury?
A close first-round match saw another American, James Blake, narrowly defeat eighteen year old wildcard Filip Krajinovic from Serbia 6-7(6), 6-4, 6-4. Something tells me we should be keeping an eye on this kid in the future.
Keep checking back at Pro Tennis Fan for further updates and analysis as the Sony Ericsson Open continues in Miami.