“My secret? The three” Cs “in times of difficulty”

[14] C. Alcaraz b. [8] H. Hurkacz 7-6 (5) 7-6 (2) (our correspondent from Miami)

Carlos Alcaraz beats Hubert Hurkacz in two hard-fought sets and enters the final of the Miami Open where on Sunday, Ruud permitting, he will try to win the first Masters 1000 of his career. Lo Spaniard played less spectacularly than in the match against Kecmanovic but in the decisive moments, once again, he showed great coldness.

With this result Alcaraz becomes the second-youngest Miami Open finalist after Rafael Nadal (in 2005 against Federer) and, overall, the fifth earliest player to reach a final in a Masters 1000 (283 tournaments have been played in this category from 1990 to today). Sunday afternoon at 1pm local time (7pm in Italy) he will also try to break a little curse since no Spanish tennis player has ever been able to triumph in the last act of the Miami Open (0-8 the budget for the Iberians).

THE MATCH – Hurkacz tries to be aggressive from the start with the serve and forehand combination. The Spaniard, for his part, tries to move to the forehand as soon as he has the opportunity to take control of the game since Hurkacz prefers the left diagonal. Although Alcaraz is considered the favorite it is Hurkacz who gets the first chance to break the match at 4 to 3 in his favor. Alcaraz saves the break ball with a bump off the serve that lands on the line, Hurkacz can not help but smile. It’s amazing how every time he’s playing an important point Alcaraz tries to take the lead in the game. On 5 all it is Hurkacz who has to cancel two break points. The service rises to the chair and thanks to an unusual dose of courage the Pole manages to save himself. In the next game the young Spaniard earns yet another ovation from the public when he allows Hurkacz to repeat the point after the referee had mistakenly considered the recovery of the Pole on the umpteenth dampening of Alcaraz to be late. The two players then arrive at the tie-break which is the right epilogue as seen in the first set. Exactly as it happened to Kecmanovic last night in the third set tie-break, too Hurkacz is in the lead for 5 to 3 but two forehand errors allow Alcaraz to recover the mini-break from behind. Once again, at a decisive moment in the match, Alcaraz plays a bump that Hurkacz cannot reach. To cancel the set point the defending champion tries to “imitate” Alcaraz in always playing the important points aggressively but the choice to follow the second serve turns out to be unfortunate. 7-6 Alcaraz.

In the second game of the second set Hurkacz thanks to a winning service manages to cancel a break point that would have definitively directed the match on Alcaraz’s side. The two players no longer risk anything on serve until 5-all when Hurkacz grabs the first break point of the set after not only being able to recover a dampened volley from Alcaraz but to defend the net in a spectacular way. For the first time in the match Hurkacz lets himself go to an unbridled exultation and tries to call the audience on his side. Alcaraz does not break down and with a deep forehand out of the service cancels the break point. Hurkacz, however, has no intention of giving up and with an excellent recovery on the umpteenth short ball of the Spaniard, he earns a second chance to go and serve for the set. The Polish on the second of Alcaraz decides to push with the backhand along the line which, however, does not find the field. The game actually ends here. Alcaraz immediately took the lead after a mini break and never looked back. A straight passer along the line that Hurkacz cannot control puts an end to an intense match, without a break, in which the young Spaniard gave the idea of ​​having something more.

Hurkacz fails to defend the title he won last year but can still be satisfied with his tournament. He greets Miami with a good boost of confidence but also with the knowledge that he still needs to improve many aspects of his game. For example, the backhand is his best shot but he still can’t be continuous with the change on the line. Considering his considerable height (1.96 cm) he still has room for improvement with the serve with which he reaches remarkable speed but on which the opponents are too often able to respond. He remembers Marin Cilic that before he started working with Ivanisevic in 2013 he couldn’t be punchy enough with his joke. Could it be a question of throwing the ball as in the case of the Croatian? Hurkacz should return to the field in Monte Carlo in an area where at the ATP level he has only won 9 wins compared to 16 defeats. The goal this season will be not only to improve on clay but also in the slams where, with the exception of the semi-final at Wimbledon last year, he never made it through the second round.

Regarding Alcaraz impresses with its flexibility on any surface. If he were to win the title in Miami even on clay, he would probably start as an underdog only against Nadal and Djokovic. His forehand in top spin on the chopped brick would be even more difficult to manage not to mention the damped at the edge of the net.

This final allows for Alcaraz (who won the only direct confrontation with his opponent Ruud last year on the land of Marbella) to climb at least to no. 12 of the ATP rankingwith the possibility of climbing a further position in case of victory of the tournament. In any case, the Spaniard will be the n.3 of the ATP Race 2022 in case of defeat, while it will rise to n. 2 should he win the title of the Miami Open, remaining behind only his compatriot Nadal.

The complete men’s draw of Miami

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