Miami Open: Simona Halep ousted by Agnieszka Radwanska; Karolina Pliskova, Victoria Azarenka battle into 4th round

Miami: World number one Simona Halep tumbled out of the Miami Open on Saturday, falling 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 to Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska.

The third-round defeat comes a week after Romania's Halep was toppled in the semi-finals at Indian Wells by Japan's Naomi Osaka, who went on to win the title in the California desert.

With the first set in hand, the mercurial Halep was clearly frustrated when Radwanska dropped just four points in the opening four games of the second to seize a 4-0 lead.

 Miami Open: Simona Halep ousted by Agnieszka Radwanska; Karolina Pliskova, Victoria Azarenka battle into 4th round

Agnieszka Radwanska (R) shakes hands with Simona Halep after beating her in the 3rd round. Reuters

Halep reclaimed one break, but was broken again as Radwanska forced a third set, in which an early break put Halep up 2-0.

The Romanian couldn't maintain the advantage, however, and her 44 unforced errors were too much to overcome as Radwanska won six of the last seven games to seal the victory.

Radwanska, the 2012 Miami champion, hadn't posted back-to-back match victories since January.

She next faces former world number one Victoria Azarenka, who rallied for a 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 victory over 20th-seeded Latvian Anastasija Sevastova.

Azarenka, of Belarus, is unseeded this year as she tries to get her career back on track after taking time off to have a baby.

Azarenka said she was not firing on all cylinders she was happy to grind out a result.

“I don’t feel like I played my best tennis, but those kind of matches are super important for me right now,” Azarenka told reporters.

Despite the defeat, Halep is assured of retaining the number one spot when the rankings are updated at the end of the tournament.

But her exit leaves the women's field in the elite hardcourt tournament without its top two seeds after second-seeded Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki lost to Monica Puig on Friday night.

Wozniacki was smarting Saturday, not from anything Puig offered on court but from what she said was threatening and vulgar behavior by fans at the match.

In a Twitter post, the Danish star called on Miami Open organizers to act after fans threatened her parents and swore at the niece and nephew of her fiance, David Lee.

"During the match last night people in the crowd threatened my family, wished death upon my mom and dad, called me names that I can't repeat here and told my fiance's niece and nephew (who are 10 years old) to sit down and shut the f--- up," she said in a Twitter post.

"Meanwhile security and staff did nothing to prevent this and even accepted this to take place," Wozniacki added.

Tournament director James Blake said player security was the event's "No 1 priority".

"During the match, we had tournament and WTA staff, as well as tournament security courtside," Blake said in a statement. "They never witnessed, nor were they notified of any specific threats made to the players or their families. If they had been notified, the situation would have been handled immediately."

Fifth seed Karolina Pliskova had a tough time before battling past Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-Wei to reach the fourth round.

Czech Pliskova was pushed all the way by Hsieh before wrapping up the match 6-4, 1-6, 7-6(4).

After former world number one Pliskova won a close first set, doubles specialist Hsieh dominated the second as her opponent made 12 errors.

The Czech broke at 5-3 in the third set before Hsieh saved three match points to break back. Pliskova came close again to winning the match but Hsieh held serve to set up a tiebreak where the Czech closed it out on her seventh match point.

Third seed Garbine Muguruza brushed aside American Christina McHale 6-2, 6-1.

In other matches, 10th seed Angelique Kerber took down Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-4 6-4 and Sloane Stephens came back from a set down to beat Monica Niculescu. The Romanian retired with Stephens leading 6-7(1), 6-3, 4-0.

Zarina Diyas defeated Carina Witthoeft 4-6 7-5 6-0 and Wang Yafan beat Alison Riske 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(4).

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Mar 25, 2018 10:11:05 IST