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Lloyd Harris. Picture: GEOFF BURKE/US TODAY SPORT
Lloyd Harris. Picture: GEOFF BURKE/US TODAY SPORT

SA’s Lloyd Harris reached the round of 16 at a Masters 1000 for the first time when he beat Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan in the Miami Open third round on Monday.

Harris was made to work hard for the 7-6 (7/5) 4-6 7-5 victory that took just more than two-and-a-half hours.

The South African was on the ropes serving at 4-4 in the final set having to save break points three times. At 5-5, Harris again saved two break points, and then took his opportunity on his first match point in the next game.

Harris dished up 19 aces to Nishioka’s two — a statistic that proved vital in the final outcome.

Next up for Harris is defending champion and eighth seed Hubert Hurkacz from Poland, who beat 29th seeded Aslan Karatsev 7-5 4-6 6-3.

At the same time top seed Daniil Medvedev moved a step closer to reclaiming the world No 1 ranking as he beat Spaniard Pedro Martinez 6-3 6-4  to reach the last 16 while Naomi Osaka cruised into the quarterfinals of the women’s draw.

Medvedev, who can replace Novak Djokovic on top of the world rankings if he reaches the Miami semifinals, fired down 14 aces, won 79% of his first-serve points and broke Martinez three times to secure victory in 84 minutes.

“I just felt like I had to be more consistent, and the more consistent one today would win,” Medvedev said.

“I managed to just make a few less errors at important moments, serve even better, and it was a small margin but I managed to win and I’m really happy.”

Up next for the Russian, who lost his world No 1 ranking after a surprise third-round loss at Indian Wells two weeks ago, will be American Jenson Brooksby, a 6-3 5-7 6-4 winner over Spanish 15th seed Roberto Bautista Agut.

Spanish 14th seed Carlos Alcaraz will meet Greek third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in a mouth-watering fourth-round clash after both enjoyed straight-set wins over Marin Cilic and Alex de Minaur.

Japan’s Osaka reached the quarterfinals for a second consecutive year with a 6-3 6-4 win over American Alison Riske during which she won 70% of her first-serve points and recovered after falling behind 2-0 in the second set.

After the match the unseeded Osaka said she is in a different state of mind than in 2021 when arriving at the Miami Open ranked second after winning the Australian Open.

“It’s really funny for me because last year I made it to the [Miami] quarters too but it was after I won Australia and I wasn’t that grateful, I kind of expected to win,” said Osaka.

“But I’m in the same position this year and I am so like, this is really like one of the funnest times of my life.”

Reuters

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