Former top-10s get moment in Miami spotlight

Wed Mar 19, 2014 8:56pm EDT
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By Steve Keating

MIAMI (Reuters) - With the top seeds on the sidelines waiting to join the action at the Sony Open, past champions and former-top ranked players took center stage in Miami on Wednesday looking to conjure up some old magic.

For a brief moment it must have felt like old times for 2008 champion Nikolay Davydenko as he strolled out onto center court under a bright morning sun to kick off the day's action.

But there was no reliving the glory days for the former world number three, now ranked 71, who has seen his form dip as Frenchman Adrian Mannarino dispatched the Russian 6-4 7-5 in front of handful of spectators.

Davydenko was followed onto center court by another former top-10 player in Argentine Juan Monaco and a few hours later the world number 41 was shown to the exit by another Frenchman, falling 7-5 3-6 7-6 (7-5) to Jeremy Chardy.

But for former world number three Nadia Petrova, now languishing at number 205 in the rankings, there were flashes of the form that carried her to 13 career titles as the Russian saw off Poland's Urszula Radwanska 7-5 1-6 6-4.

"For some people they might think it's hard especially being where I am right now," the 31-year-old Petrova told Reuters.

"At this stage of my career it is kind of difficult but on the other hand with all the experience I have and the knowledge knowing when are the important moments, when to step in and take the initiative it can be easier."

Sprinkled across the sprawling Crandon Park tennis complex on Wednesday were players who were once fixtures in the top 10, commanding big audiences and all the perks that go with being a top-ranked player.   Continued...

Mar 19, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Nikolay Davydenko hits a forehand against Adrian Mannarino (not pictured) on day three of the Sony Open at Crandon Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports