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ATP Miami Preview: With the Big Three missing, who will play like the next great headliner at Hard Rock Stadium?
The future of the men’s game looks different each week, it seems, and the Miami Open is primed to add another chapter.
Published Mar 22, 2022
INDIAN WELLS HIGHLIGHTS: Fritz defeats Rublev in semis
The long-term future of men’s tennis is in flux at the moment. One day it looks like Daniil Medvedev will take the reins, the next day it’s Carlos Alcaraz who seems destined for dominance, and then, on Sunday, Taylor Fritz became the first American to throw his headband in that ring.
With the Big Three missing in Miami, we’re sure to see another chapter in this evolving story. Here’s a look at the draw.
Daniil Medvedev loves hard courts, and loves playing the North American summer hard-court swing. So why hasn’t he reached a final in Indian Wells or Miami yet? With a chance to reclaim the No. 1 ranking, he should be motivated to do well this week, though the distractions from back home must surely be real.
Medvedev could get off to an interesting start, against Andy Murray, provided Murray beats Federico Delbonis in his opener. After that, this draw should be to Medvedev’s liking, at least until the quarterfinals. The seeds near him are Cristian Garin, Nikoloz Basilashvili, and Roberto Bautista Agut. If he does make the quarters, his toughest competition could come from defending champion Hubert Hurkacz or Denis Shapovalov.
- Also here: Jenson Brooksby. He starts against Federico Coria
You can’t say Stefanos Tsitsipas is having a bad season, exactly. He has been to a Grand Slam semifinal, and the final of an ATP 500. But after his early exit to Brooksby in Indian Wells, it feels as if he’s treading water and could use a big win. Unfortunately for Tsitsipas, he’s not in the easiest quarter. Alcaraz, Felix Auger Aliassime, and Fritz (provided his ankle is OK) are all here, as is a potentially stubborn third-round opponent in Alex De Minaur. Alcaraz in particular appears to be going from strength to strength at the moment.
- First-round match to watch: Sebastian Korda vs. Alejandro Davidovich Fokina
As with Tsitsipas, you can’t really say that Matteo Berrettini has been a disappointment this year, not after his run to the semifinals at the Australian Open. But he’s flatlining at the moment; since Melbourne, the Italian is just 3-3. Berrettini, the No. 4 seed, will try to rectify that in Miami, but few wins come easily at a Masters 1000. In the third round, he could face local favorite Frances Tiafoe; after that, another American in Reilly Opelka, and in the quarterfinals Andrey Rublev or countryman Jannik Sinner.
Speaking of needing some momentum, Sinner hasn’t been past the quarterfinals so far this season. For him, there should be no time like the present; he’s defending runner-up points from Miami last year.
Potential second-round match to watch: Nick Kyrgios vs. Andrey Rublev. Assuming Kyrgios can get past Adrian Mannarino in his opener.
Next Genners who are currently treading water seems to be the theme of this preview, and it continues with the No. 2 seed, Alexander Zverev. He came into 2022 talking about being part of a new Big 3, with Medvedev and Novak Djokovic. But aside from a final-round appearance in Montpellier (where he was upset by Alexander Bublik), Zverev’s results have been subpar, and his behavior rightfully criticized. Zverev has been to the final in Miami, but is his head in the right place to turn his season around? He could play old rival Borna Coric in his first match; Grigor Dimitrov after that; and Casper Ruud or Cam Norrie in the quarterfinals.