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Top-seeded Daniil Medvedev survives heat in Miami Open

Mar 28, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; Daniil Medvedev of Russia hits a forehand against Alexei Popyrin of Australia (not pictured) in the third round in the Miami Open at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Top-seeded Daniil Medvedev of Russia survived a tough match Sunday in the round of 32 at the Miami Open, but a few higher seeds fell by the wayside.

The No. 2-ranked player in the world, Medvedev and Australia’s Alexei Popyrin battled for more than 2 1/2 hours before Medvedev prevailed, 7-6 (3), 6-7 (7), 6-4.

“It’s probably one of the sweetest victories in my career, because I was cramping like hell in the third set. It’s one thing when you’re cramping when you’re [ahead in the score], but I started cramping before. It was tough to think about the win in these conditions,” Medvedev said after the match.

“At the same time, I should have won in two sets and we would not be talking about cramping. But anyway, we have the result on the board and I’m happy that I managed to go through all the difficulties of this definitely crazy match.”

Alexei Popyrin, whose first ATP Tour win came last month at the Singapore Tennis Open, kept pace with Medvedev midway through the third set until Medvedev broke serve to go up 4-3. He then held his own serve to win two of the final three games.

Popyrin survived the second set when he broke Medvedev three times in the tiebreaker, including twice in the final four points.

Medvedev won 92 percent of his first serves overall to 73 percent for Popyrin.

Two seeded players lost to higher seeds.

Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime, the 11th seed, fell to 18th-seeded John Isner of the U.S. in straight sets, although both went to tiebreakers, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (5).

Russia’s Karen Khachanov, the 14th seed, won his first set against Italy’s Jannik Sinner, seeded 21st, but stumbled to a loss, 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-4.

Also on the losing side was 16th seed Dusan Lajovic of Serbia, who struggled badly at the outset and never recovered, falling to American Fances Tiafoe 1-6, 7-5, 6-3.

Among other winners Sunday was the seventh seed, Robert Bautista Agut of Spain, who also fell behind early before pulling out a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 win over the 31st seed, Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany.

American Taylor Fritz, the 22nd seed, needed three sets to dispose of Great Britain’s Cameron Norrie, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1.

Also advancing was the 32nd seed, Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik, who defeated James Duckworth of Australia 6-4, 6-4.

Also, Finland’s Emil Ruusuvuori topped Mikael Ymer of Sweden 4-6, 6-1, 7-5.

–Field Level Media