Multiple rain delays couldn’t prevent the Miami Open from delivering its own exciting take on March Madness late Tuesday and into the early hours of Wednesday.

Where to start? It’s hard not to begin with Jessica Pegula. The world No. 3 staved off two match points to topple Anastasia Potapova, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (2), at 1:26 a.m. local time.

“I really don’t know how I won,” Pegula said on-court afterwards. “She’s playing fearless, she’s going to be a top player. In my mind, she already is.”

For the second straight tournament, Pegula rallied from a set down to deny the Russian. At Indian Wells, she trailed by a break in the deciding set of their second-rounder before prevailing, 7-5.

“The courts here are much quicker. I'm not sure who that's going to help most. I guess we'll see,” Pegula said ahead of their clash.

It looked like it would be Potapova, when the 21-year-old served for her first WTA 1000 semifinal at 5-4, 40-15 in the third. Pegula saved the first match point by teeing off a second-serve return, redirecting a forehand up the line. The No. 27 seed had a much better look at closing seconds later, but couldn’t execute a finishing backhand up the line, as it landed well long.

The photo says it all.

The photo says it all.


Potapova recovered to put the contest on her racquet a second time, though was unable to create a third match point. After Pegula secured the third consecutive break by working her forehand side, she pulled away in the breaker as the player willing to go for more. Pegula changed directions, used her doubles court sense to come forward and benefited from a kind kiss from the net at 5-2 when her drop shot ended a grueling exchange. A well-placed serve out wide wrapped up the hard-fought victory after two hours and 36 minutes.

“That was just absolutely a gutsy battle from both of us. A lot of respect,” said Pegula, who will look to cool off Indian Wells champion Elena Rybakina in her second consecutive Miami semifinal.

Earlier, the Cinderella shoe continued to fit for Christopher Eubanks. The American qualifier edged Adrian Mannarino, 7-6 (2), 7-6 (5), to move into the final eight.

“I was able to come up with the goods when I needed and redirecting some balls. Some of the balls I changed direction on, I have no idea,” Eubanks told press afterwards. “My eyes were closed. I'm going to be honest with you. They went in, went in at the right time. Now here I am in the quarterfinals.”

The 26-year-old shared that he had a couple espressos during the first rain delay and then allowed himself to crash when the second one hit before the opening tie-break was played out. Eubanks is now projected to break the Top 90 and will get a crack at facing 2021 US Open champion Daniil Medvedev for a place in the semifinals.

The No. 4 seed officially wrapped up play for Day 10 around 1:37 a.m., dismissing Quentin Halys, 6-4, 6-2. Last year's surprise semifinalist Francisco Cerundolo was also victorious, as he defeated Lorenzo Sonego, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.