16-year-old Linda Fruhvirtova stuns three-time Miami champion Azarenka, who retires without explanation

16-year-old Linda Fruhvirtova of the Czech Republic stunned Victoria Azarenka to reach the round of 16 at the Miami Open on her main draw debut.

Linda Fruhvirtova, Miami 2022 Linda Fruhvirtova, Miami 2022 © Panoramic

Miami Open 2022: Women’s Singles Draw | Results | Order of Play

First time’s a charm for talented teenager Linda Fruhvirtova, the world No 279 who is making the most of her maiden main draw appearance at the Miami Open. The 16-year-old powered past three-time Miami Open champion Victoria Azarenka on Sunday, notching a 6-2, 3-0 RET victory to become the youngest player to reach the round of 16 at Miami since Tatiana Golovin in 2004.

She will face Spain’s Paula Badosa, the No 5 seed for a spot in the quarterfinals. Even if she doesn’t win, the powerful teenager is assured of a top-200 debut in the post-Miami rankings – she is currently 98 in the WTA’s Race.

“It’s what I’ve always dreamed of, playing on these big stadiums in front of so many people,” Fruhvirtova said. “It’s definitely a dream come true and I’m enjoying it.”

Azarenka – a sudden unexplained retirement

The 45-minute contest on Grandstand was dominated by Fruhvirtova, who broke the Belarusian’s serve four times on seven opportunities and won nearly 60 percent (22 of 37) return points.

Unexpectedly, at 3-0 down in set two, Azarenka pulled the plug and quickly left the court. She did not choose to consult with medical staff or take a medical timeout, surprising both Fruhvirtova and the umpire as she left the court.

Azarenka entered the match with a 38-9 lifetime record at Miami, having won the title in 2009, 2011 and 2016. She drops to 8-5 on the season with her defeat.

“Playing against Vika was definitely cool,” Fruhvirtova said. “She was one of the players I grew up watching and she was definitely one of the players to look up to for me, so it was an honor to be on the court with her.

“I saw it wasn’t her best tennis. Of course I didn’t want it to end this way, because Vika is one of the players I grew up watching and she is definitely one to look up to – I wish that she feels better as soon as possible.”

  • WTA seeds who won on Sunday: No 5 Paula Badosa, No 14 Coco Gauff, No 16 Jessica Pegula, No 21 Veronika Kudermetova, No 28 Petra Kvitova
  • WTA seeds who lost on Sunday: No 12 Victoria Azarenka, No 17 Elena Rybakina

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