Sousa Beats Returning Goffin In Miami
Cilic and Dimitrov feature later on day three
Portugal’s Joao Sousa recorded the fourth Top 10 victory of his career (4-26 lifetime) on Friday for a place in the Miami Open presented by Itau third round. The 29-year-old required 61 minutes to beat Belgium’s David Goffin, currently No. 9 in the ATP Rankings, 6-0, 6-1.
“I think I played a great match today," said Sousa. "I was able to play my best tennis from the beginning. For sure, David was not able to play his best tennis today. I know how tough it is coming from an injury that he had a few weeks ago. I'm really happy that I was able to play great tennis. It's not easy to play against these kinds of players. They are very good. So yeah I'm very happy I can enjoy this victory a lot today.”
Sousa won the last 15 points of the first set against Goffin, who is returning from an eye injury sustained during the ABN Amro World Tennis Tournament in February and had won all four of their previous FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings. Sousa, now one away from 150 victories, will next challenge American Jared Donaldson or No. 25 seed Feliciano Lopez of Spain. Two weeks ago, Sousa beat No. 5-ranked Alexander Zverev en route to the BNP Paribas Open third round.
“It's great. I've been playing very good tennis for the past two weeks. As I say, I played one of my best matches of my career today. Even if David was not very well... I'm enjoying playing tennis a lot. It is great to play against these kinds of guys and try to win, and I was able to do it for the past two weeks. Hopefully, I can keep playing good tennis and keep providing some surprises.”
But Sousa was not the only one to earn a big win Friday. #NextGenATP American Michael Mmoh, a qualifier, had never won a main-draw ATP World Tour Masters 1000-level before arriving in Miami. Yet, despite dropping eight consecutive games after he was up a set and 2-0, Mmoh defeated No. 12 seed Roberto Bautista Agut 7-6(4), 2-6, 6-4 in two hours, 45 minutes.
It was Mmoh's first match against a Top 20 player, and for a moment, it appeared he had lost his opportunity. Bautista Agut ran down two overheads while serving at 4-5 15/30 in the deciding set, and Mmoh missed the third smash long. Instead of holding two match points, it was 30/30. But the 20-year-old, like he did after losing eight games in a row, maintained his focus to earn the best victory of his career.
“I've always watched Bautista Agut play. I've always admired his game," Mmoh told ATP Tennis Radio. "I've always been a fan of his game. And he's one of the guys on Tour that I really love watching. I love the way he constructs points, and just the way he plays tennis in general. I think he's one of the guys that's a little slept on, a little under-appreciated at times. I'm really happy that I could beat him today.”
Prior to the season, Mmoh had never won an ATP World Tour match. But the American qualified and then triumphed twice at the Brisbane International presented by Suncorp, including his first Top 50 victory against Mischa Zverev, to advance to the quarter-finals.
"Honestly wasn't expecting [the win] given the fact that I was really feeling the legs going into the third," Mmoh said. "I was exhausted mentally, exhausted physically. But I just battled my way out of it. It was all heart at the end. The only thing that got me through was just my competitiveness."
Mmoh will look to continue his dream run in Miami against reigning Next Gen ATP Finals champion Hyeon Chung. The South Korean No. 19 seed, coming off his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 quarter-final in Indian Wells (l. to Federer) took down Australian Matthew Ebden 6-3, 7-5.
He broke three times on his way past the World No. 76. Chung defeated Mmoh in straight sets in an ATP Challenger Tour quarter-final in Maui last year.
Another Next Gen ATP Finals qualifier from 2017, Jared Donaldson, advanced to the third round in Miami. The American extended his FedEx ATP Head2Head series with No. 25 seed Feliciano Lopez to 2-0 with a 6-4, 6-2 result. Donaldson had also beaten the Spaniard in the Acapulco quarter-finals earlier this month.
Did You Know?
Mmoh had not won an ATP World Tour match prior to the 2018 season. He now has four triumphs, including his first two ATP World Tour Masters 1000-level victories.