Kvitova, Pegula and Badosa full speed ahead. End of the line for Fruhvirtova

Two weeks of tennis in Florida between wasted chances to reach number 1 and new champions who want to consolidate their role as favorites, Friday is the time for semifinals for the Miami Open presented by Itau.

Among the best four, one year later, the reigning champion Hubert Hurkacz is confirmed. The United States is the Polish tennis player’s favorite hunting ground, having won three of his four titles in the States, but Florida has almost become a talisman. Last year, first the title in Delray Beach, then the success in Miami against Jannik Sinner. This year the final in doubles, paired with John Isner and semifinal after eliminating the number 1 of the Medvedev draw.

The 25-year-old Pole will go on the hunt for his 11th consecutive win in Miami; furthermore Hubert is in the sun two wins away from becoming the fifth man to win the title in Miami back-to-back, joining a roster of highly respected colleagues Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras. The last defeat in Florida for Hurkacz dates back to the second round match in the doubles tournament paired with Auger-Aliassime. From that moment on, thirteen victories and the possibility of becoming the first tennis player to reach the final in singles and doubles in the same year in the ATP circuit.

However, for Hurkacz it will not be a walk in the park. On his way there will be the one who is conquering more and more the limelight, namely the Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz. Spanish, at 18 years and 11 months, is the third youngest semi-finalist in the tournament’s thirty-seven-year historythree months older than Auger-Aliassime and one more months than his compatriot Nadal, who pushes himself to the final (lost to Federer).

Alcaraz could write additional records of earliness. The Spanish could become the third youngest winner of an ATP Masters 1000 since 1990, date of establishment of this tournament category. Only Michael Chang, winner in Toronto in 1990 and still Nadal, winner in 2005 of the Monte Carlo tournament, would remain ahead of the Spaniard. Alcaraz’s American adventure with the semifinal in Indian Wells and in Miami make him the youngest player to achieve this result. The other 4 to have succeeded (Nadal, Djokovic, Murray and Agassi) then became number 1 in the world ranking.

The semifinal in Florida will represent the first challenge between Alcaraz and Hurkacz with the bookies that see the young Spaniard as the favorite over the reigning champion (1.44 against 2.75).

If the attention of most people is focused on the semi-final of the upper part, at the bottom of the board, world number 8 Casper Ruud and number 103 Francisco Cerundolo will compete for a place in the final. For the Argentine it was a dream debut in the main draw of a Masters 1000. The Argentine, thanks also to the help of good luck, became the player with the lowest ranking to reach the semifinal in Miami. , doing better than Sebastien Grosjean who even went to the final in 1999.

Cerundolo is the first player to reach the semifinal of a Masters 1000 on his debut since 2012, when Jerzy Janowicz grabbed the 2012 final in Bercy. The result is even more surprising if we consider that in Indian Wells Cerundolo surrendered, in what was his debut in a qualifying draw of a 1000, to the 17-year-old Chinese promise Shang and before Miami he had never won a match on hard. (0-2). From his side, Ruud could use the opportunity to cancel the zero in the semifinal victories of a Masters 1000. Three defeats so far (Rome 2020, Monte Carlo and Madrid 2021), but the success against Zverev offered him the first chance as a favorite (in previous tournaments he was stopped by Djokovic, Rublev and Berrettini respectively).

The one between Ruud and Cerundolo is also an unprecedented match. Cerundolo, in addition to the final, will try to bring home the most important victory of his career, after that of him with Sinner and Opelka, both closed early due to the withdrawal of their opponents. Ruud, on the other hand, will look for his tenth final at the ATP level (7 wins so far all at 250 level) and the second in a surface other than clay (in 2021 he won on the hard of San Diego). For bookmakers, this meeting seems much more in favor of the Norwegian: 1.16 the highest share for Casper, while Francisco’s is between 5 and 5.60.

The complete Miami men’s draw

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