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LINDA FRUHVIRTOVA, 16, IS INTO THE LAST-16 OF THE MIAMI OPEN AFTER VIKTORIA AZARENKA ABRUPTLY RETIRES
World No, 279 Linda Fruhvirtova, aged 16, is through to the last 16 of the Miami Open. Fruhvirtova, who had just two WTA tour wins to her name at Charleston last year before the WTA 1000 tournament, was given a wildcard for Miami and has now into the last-16. Fruhvirtova becomes the youngest female singles player to win a third round match at Miami since Tatiana Golvin in 2004.
Linda Fruhvirtova, aged just 16, is into the last-16 of the Miami Open after Viktoria Azarenka retires at 6-2 3-0.
Fruhvirtova, who lost in the first round of Miami Open qualifying a year ago, has progressed to the fourth round after a shock win against the two-time Grand Slam winner.
The Czech player will face Paula Badosa in the next round of the WTA 1000 event after the Spaniard beat Yulia Putintseva 6-3 6-2 earlier in the day.
Fruhvirtova, who beat No. 20 seed Elise Mertens 7-5 2-6 6-1 in the second round, says she will remember her win over Azarenka forever.
"I saw it wasn't her best tennis but of course I didn't want it to end this way," Fruhvirtova said after the match. "Vika is one of the players I grew up watching and she is definitely the one to look up to. I hope that she feels better as soon as possible.
"I don't think I've ever played in such a big stadium and these are the memories I'm going to remember forever."
Fruhvirtova, who already has three ITF titles to her name, was unstoppable against her Belarusian opponent.
The Czech teenager quickly won the opening three games of the first set. Azarenka was able to recover at 3-2, but Fruhvirtova responded by breaking the former world No. 1's serve again and reeled off a further two games to take the first set in 34 minutes.
Azarenka, who shouted towards her coach 'why am I here?' had no answer to Fruhvirtova's dominance as the Czech marched into a 3-0 lead in the second set, before Azarenka abruptly decided to retire from the match and barely shook the hand of the teenager before leaving the court.
It is Azarenka's seventh mid-tournament retirement or withdrawal in the past 14 months.
VICTORIA AZARENKA DELETES HER SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS AFTER BREAKING DOWN INTO TEARS AT INDIAN WELLS
Victoria Azarenka has deleted her social media accounts after breaking down in tears during her match against Elina Rybakina on Monday. The 32-year-old Belarusian had expressed her devastation at Russia's invasion of Ukraine on social media and had been playing at Indian Wells under a neutral flag.
PUBLISHED 16/03/2022 AT 08:28 GMT-4
Victoria Azarenka has deleted her social media accounts after she broke down in tears during her third round match against Elina Rybakina at Indian Wells.
The Belarusian, who was playing under a neutral flag due to sanctions against Russia and Belarus, lost the first set 6-3 before she squatted down and burst into tears while she was serving at 2-2 in the second set. She said to the chair umpire: "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry."
Rybakina walked to the net to check if her opponent was OK at the same time the chair umpire approached her.
The two-time Australian Open champion eventually recovered and held her serve, but lost the match 6-3 6-4.
Ahead of the tournament, Azarenka said she was “devastated” by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
“I am devastated by the actions that have taken place over the last several days - against - and in Ukraine,” the former world No. 1 wrote on Twitter.
“It’s heartbreaking to see how many innocent people have been affected and continue to be affected by such violence. Since my early childhood, I have always seen and experienced Ukrainian and Belarusian people, as well as both nations, friendly and supportive of one another.
“It is hard to witness the violent separation that is currently taking place instead of supporting and finding compassion for each other.
“My heart is with everyone directly and indirectly impacted by this war that is causing such pain and suffering for so many. I hope and wish for peace and an end to the war.”
Tennis’ governing bodies the ATP, WTA and ITF have taken sanctions against Russia and Belarus, including banning them from the Davis Cup and Billie Jean King Cup. Russian and Belarusian players have been able to play on tour as ‘neutral athletes’.
Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) chief Steve Simon said players should not be banned from tournaments because of politics.