Japan’s Taro Daniel continued his hot early-season form and snuffed out Alexander Zverev’s recent revival when he stunned the former World No. 2 6-0, 6-4 in the second round of the Miami Open presented by Itau on Friday night.
World No. 97 Daniel, who also upset former Top 10 player Matteo Berrettini en route to the Indian Wells third round two weeks ago, improved to 8-4 on the season after going 13-19 last year.
On the comeback trail after a devastating ankle injury suffered in the Roland Garros semi-finals last year, Zverev sprayed 32 unforced errors to Daniel’s 13.
“In the first set he was struggling and I just didn’t want to let him get his rhythm back,” Daniel said. “Sometimes it’s a matter of letting them keep playing badly. It’s a little bit of a dirty fight.”
Zvervev, who has won five ATP Masters 1000 titles along with his two Nitto ATP Finals crowns, had been working his way back into form at his past two tournaments. In Indian Wells he pushed Daniil Medvedev to 7-5 in the third set in the fourth round, which followed his run to the Dubai semi-finals.
After claiming just one tournament main draw win through the first two months of the season, Daniel has won six of his past eight tour-level matches and all four qualifying matches played.
“Sometimes you don’t know why things turn around and you have success. You keep rolling and it just happens. My plan is to keep accumulating more and more of these wins more consistently.”