Top-seeded Serena Williams would not take her foot off the pedal against an opponent that had beaten her twice and reached No. 2 in the world on Monday at the Miami Open, steamrolling past No. 24 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-2, 6-3.
“Playing Svetlana, I know she’s super tough — we always have super tough matches,” Williams said. “The last time we played I was just fighting my hardest and I was barely able to win, so today I knew I had to come out super, super focused, and I really just tried to do the best I could out there.”
Elder Williams sister Venus was also up against a tough customer on Monday, keeping her career undefeated streak alive against former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki, handling the Dane 6-3, 7-6(1). She will next face No. 12 Carla Suarez Navarro, an upset winner over No. 7 Agnieszka Radwanska 5-7, 6-0, 6-4.
No. 3 seed Simona Halep and unseeded American Sloane Stephens set up a quarterfinal meeting on Monday as the Romanian tamed No. 15 Flavia Pennetta 6-3, 7-5, and the American downed Swiss riser Belinda Bencic 6-4, 7-6(5).
Two upset winners advancing on the day were No. 9 Andrea Petkovic over No. 8 Ekaterina Makarova 6-1, 7-5, and No. 27 Sabine Lisicki rolled over No. 11 Sara Errani 6-1, 6-2. Lisicki now meets Serena.
“I played one of the best sets I’ve ever played in the first set today,” Petkovic said. “She’s such a great player, though, and it was clear she was going to come back in the second set. I’m lucky I was able to play well at the end and get away with it, and win the match in straight sets.”
American John Isner was the only upset-maker on the men’s side Monday in round of 32 action as the big server brushed aside No. 9 seed Grigor “Baby Not Fed” Dimitrov 7-6(2), 6-2.
Top 10-seeded winners were No. 1 Novak Djokovic ripping Steve Darcis 6-0, 7-5; No. 4 Kei Nishikori rolling Viktor Troicki 6-2, 6-2; No. 5 Milos Raonic almost falling off the table against No. 31 Jeremy Chardy 6-1, 5-7, 7-6(3); and No. 6 David Ferrer topping No. 26 Lukas Rosol 6-4, 7-5.
Isner will next meet Raonic.
“I don’t believe [Dimitrov] played his best tonight, but I feel like I had a lot to do with that,” said Isner, who is in the midst of his best run in Miami. “I was a little nervous at the beginning. I hadn’t played at night here; hadn’t played on center court yet. Everything is different; the conditions are different. I wasn’t really going for my shots too much.”
Other players through to the round of 16 were No. 12 Gilles Simon, No. 18 David Goffin, and Alexandr Dolgopolov.
Dolgopolov will next have his hands full against the world No. 1.
“I know his game pretty well,” Djokovic said. “I know what to expect. Hopefully I’ll be able to start as well as I did in the first two matches, but then end it in a bit different way, keep the concentration going all the way through.”