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Miami Open ATP preview: Can Medvedev, Zverev boost Masters collection?
With the Big 3 missing, here’s a chance for someone new to hoist one of the prestigious trophies.
Published Mar 22, 2021
What will the ATP look like in three or four years? The Miami Open may offer a preview. Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and Dominic Thiem all took a pass on the event, which leaves a big opening for those wannabe champions who will take their places at the top of the seedings. Over the years, the Big 3 have dominated the Masters 1000s almost as thoroughly as they have the Grand Slams. Here’s a chance for someone new to hoist one of those prestigious trophies.
Daniil Medvedev is the top seed in Miami, and there are plenty of reasons to make him the favorite. He’s coming off a title in Marseille; he has cracked the Top 2 in the rankings for the first time; and he has three Masters 1000 titles to his name. All in all, he has certainly done a lot since he last appeared in Miami, in 2019; that year he was seeded 13th and lost in the fourth round to Federer.
There’s no one remotely of Federer’s quality in Medvedev’s quarter this time around. Roberto Bautista Agut, Dusan Lajovic, and Felix Auger-Aliassime are the next three highest seeds, respectively. Medvedev will start against either Sam Querrey or Yen-Hsun Lu, and his first test could come against Reilly Opelka in the third round.
Also here: 2018 Miami champion and 2019 runner-up John Isner
First-round matches to watch: Andy Murray vs. Lloyd Harris; Frances Tiafoe vs. Stefano Travaglia
Like Medvedev, Alexander Zverev is coming off a title run, in Acapulco; and like Medvedev, he has won three Masters 1000s. But it has been a while: Zverev’s last title at this level came in Madrid in 2018. If he’s going to get back on the Masters board, this would seem to be the time and the place—and the draw—to do it. He lost a close one in the final to John Isner here three years ago.
Zverev will be the veteran in his opening-round match, in which he’ll play one of two promising newcomers, Carlos Alcaraz or Emil Ruusuvuori. After that, the other seeds in his section are David Goffin, Karen Khachanov, Jannik Sinner, Grigor Dimitrov, Taylor Fritz, Nikoloz Basilashvili, and Alexander Bublik.
First-round match to watch: Alcaraz vs. Ruusuvuori
Andrey Rublev finally lost a match at a 500-level event last week in Dubai. Was it a sign that it’s time for him to graduate to 1000s? The Russian has never been to the final of a tournament at this level, but as the No. 4 seed, he would seem poised for a breakout two weeks in Miami.
Moving up means facing tougher competition, and Rublev might get it from a couple of in-form players in his quarter. He could face Marton Fucsovics in the third round, and potentially Aslan Karatsev in the quarters. The Hungarian and the Russian are having career seasons, and can match Rublev’s baseline artillery.
Teens to watch: Sebastian Korda (who plays Radu Albot), and Lorenzo Musetti (who plays Michael Mmoh)
Stefanos Tsitsipas and Denis Shapovalov are the top two seeds here, and also two young players who are looking for their first Masters 1000 title. Semi-surprisingly, Shapo has a 3-1 record against Tsitsipas, and he beat him in a third-set tiebreaker in Miami two years ago.
Who will be faced with the tougher road this time? I’d say it’s a toss-up. Shapo has Milos Raonic, Hubert Hurkacz, and Ugo Humbert in his half; Tsitsipas has Alex De Minaur, Lorenzo Sonego, and Kei Nishikori in his.
Semifinals: Medvedev d. Zverev; Rublev d. Shapovalov