Tennis

Tim Smyczek advances to play old friend John Isner at Miami Open

Tim Smyczek speaks at Miami Open

In a first-round match between two American qualifiers, 28-year-old Tim Smyczek defeated 18-year-old Tommy Paul, 6-4, 5-7, 7-5, Thursday afternoon at Crandon Park. Video by Mario Mateo.
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In a first-round match between two American qualifiers, 28-year-old Tim Smyczek defeated 18-year-old Tommy Paul, 6-4, 5-7, 7-5, Thursday afternoon at Crandon Park. Video by Mario Mateo.

In a first-round match between two American qualifiers, 28-year-old Tim Smyczek defeated 18-year-old Tommy Paul, 6-4, 5-7, 7-5, Thursday afternoon at Crandon Park. In the second round, Smyczek will face an old friend for the first time. He’ll play his former roommate and practice partner John Isner, and Smyczek is surprised it has taken them this long to the meet on the court.

“I know his game well, he knows my game well,” Smyczek said of Isner. “Hopefully it will be a good battle.”

Smyczek survived a battle Thursday against the younger Paul, and admitted he was feeling run down by the end of the two hour, 20 minute match.

“He kind of had me on the ropes,” Smyczek said of Paul. “[I was] really lucky to get away with that one.”

Paul came close to joining fellow 18-year-old American Taylor Fritz in the second round, and Smyczek is confident that the two teenagers will be part of the next wave of American tennis players.

“They’ve got a lot of potential,” Smyczek said. “They’re way ahead of schedule with their development. ... They’re gonna be really good players.”

Third-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland, speaking at the Miami Open on Key Biscayne on Thursday, March 24, 2016, talks about her outlook at the tournament and also addresses equal pay for men and women in tennis. Video by Mario Mateo

Brengle surprises

Unseeded American Madison Brengle advanced to the third round in the women’s tournament, defeating 28th-seeded Slovakian Anna Karolína Schmiedlová 7-5, 6-4. Brengle, who is 60th in the latest WTA rankings, is feeling confident after defeating 30th-ranked Schmiedlová and 43rd-ranked Camila Giorgia to reach the third round.

“I’ve been around awhile,” Brengle said. “This is my second time playing in Miami. ... I’ve played on the bigger courts here. ... I’m comfortable doing my job.”

Brengle’s job doesn’t get any easier in the third round, where third-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland awaits. Radwanska earned a first-round bye, then cruised past France’s Alizé Cornet 6-0, 6-1 in the second round. This will be Radwanska’s first match against Brengle, but Brengle’s strong early showing has impressed the third seed.

“She’s had a couple of very good results,” Radwanska said of Brengle. “It’s always a good challenge to play someone you have never played before. ... I’m looking forward to it.”

Brengle trains at IMG Academy in Bradenton, which is about a four-hour drive from Crandon Park.

“I just pack up my car and road trip down,” Brengle said. “It doesn’t feel that far from home.”

While Crandon Park is nowhere near Radwanska’s back yard, she won the Miami Open in 2012 and thinks her first-round bye gives her an advantage moving forward.

“Rest is even more important than practice right now,” Radwanska said. “To stay healthy and to play good, constant tennis the whole year ... you really have to take care of yourself.”

Halep advances

In the first night match, fifth-seeded Simona Halep advanced to the second round of the women’s tournament, defeating 18-year-old Russian Daria Kasatkina, 6-3, 7-5. Halep announced Tuesday that she planned to put off her nose surgery indefinitely. Between her potential surgery and her first-round exit at January’s Australian Open, the 24-year-old Romanian has spent plenty of time in the spotlight early this season. Halep played well at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California, before losing to Serena Williams in the quarterfinals. She would not face the top-seeded Williams at Crandon Park until the semifinals.

Halep advances to face unseeded German Julia Goerges in the third round after Goerges upset 26th-seeded Australian Samantha Stosur 3-6, 6-1, 6-4.

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