Miami Open: Maria dethrones Stephens.

Defending champion Sloane Stephens was sent packing from the Miami Open on Sunday after a 6-3, 6-2 loss to Germany’s Tatjana Maria in the third round.

Stephens, the 2017 U.S. Open champion and World No. 6, had no answer to Florida-based Maria’s slices, chips and lobs and suffered a second consecutive early exit after losing her first match in Indian Wells to Swiss qualifier Stefanie Voegele.

Earlier on Sunday, second seed Simona Halep fought back from a set down to defeat Polona Hercog while Venus Williams reached the next round with a straight-sets win over Daria Kasatkina.

Maria ranked 62nd in the world, celebrated prematurely on her third match point with a lob shot that was called out but won on the next one when Stephens sent a backhand long.

In the men’s section, World No. 1 Novak Djokovic staved off a spirited challenge from Federico Delbonis for a 7-5, 4-6, 6-1 win in the third round. Like Roger Federer the previous day, top seed Djokovic found it tough going against an unseeded opponent before prevailing in two hours in the Florida twilight. Rohan Bopanna and Denis Shapovalov ousted the seventh-seeded pair of Croatia’s Nikola Mektic and Spain’s Marcel Granollers 6-1, 6-2 to make the men’s doubles quarterfinals.

The unseeded Indo-Canadian combine had rallied to best Austin Krajicek and Artem Sitak 7-5, 2-6, [10-6] in the first round.

The results:

  • Men: Third round: Novak Djokovic bt Federico Delbonis 7-5, 4-6, 6-1; Roberto Bautista Agut bt Fabio Fognini 6-4, 6-4; Kyle Edmund bt Milos Raonic 6-4, 6-4; John Isner bt Albert Ramos 7-5, 7-6(6); Felix Auger-Aliassime bt Hubert Hurkacz 7-6(5), 6-4; Nikoloz Basilashvili bt Robin Haase 7-6 (3), 6-3; Borna Coric bt Jeremy Chardy 6-7(2), 6-2, 6-3; Nick Kyrgios bt Dusan Lajovic 6-3, 6-1.
  • Doubles: Second round: Rohan Bopanna & Denis Shapovalov bt Nikola Mektic & Marcel Granollers 6-1, 6-2. First round: Bopanna & Shapovalov bt Austin Krajicek & Artem Sitak 7-5, 2-6, [10-6].
  • Women: Karolina Pliskova bt Alize Cornet 6-7(3), 6-1, 6-4; Yulia Putintseva bt Anastasija Sevastova 1-6, 6-2, 6-3; Marketa Vondrousova bt Elise Mertens 6-4, 7-6(7); Tatjana Maria bt Sloane Stephens 6-3, 6-2; Wang Yafan bt Danielle Collins 7-5, 6-1; Wang Qiang bt Serena Williams, walkover; Venus Williams bt Darya Kasatkina 6-3, 6-1; Simona Halep bt Polona Hercog 5-7, 7-6(1), 6-2.