The Miami Open 2022 goes live. In the men, the first semifinal is already outlined, that of the lower part of the board, in which they will face each other Francisco Cerundolo and Casper Ruud. The Argentine, in his first Masters 1000 in his career, took advantage of the retirement after five games of Jannik Sinner for a problem with blisters, making it the lowest ranked semi-finalist in the last 37 years of the tournament’s history. The Norwegian, more solid than ever, has once again postponed the ambitions of a not very concrete Zverev. In the feminine, Iga Swiatek never stops. The one with Petra Kvitova was the 15th consecutive victory: the contenders for the throne are warned.
“Until now the one against Zverev it’s the biggest win of my career – Ruud smiles -, I feel good, it was an exciting evening. For the fourth time I have reached a semifinal in a Masters 1000, the first on the fast and it is all very special for me. Let’s see if I’ll be able to reverse the course after the three previous defeats, perhaps making the mistakes I made in the past pay off “.
Some tactical ideas about the match are inevitable. “I got off to a great start – adds world number 8 – as in previous games. Getting the break early helped me, no doubt. The key was having served well, a key aspect when facing opponents like Sascha. In the second set I had some problems with the patch applied to my toe and I was affected by it. It may sound silly, it’s true, but it was slipping off my big toe and it became uncomfortable to move. With some corrections, fortunately, I was able to fix things. The break at the dawn of the decisive set made me feel freer, it allowed me to show him until the end that I was there to fight ”.
The next opponent is Francisco Cerundolo and the Norwegian starts with the underdogs. “I hope to be able to take the initiative right away, we’ll see. We have never faced each other before and to tell the truth I know little about him. As a junior there was not much talk about him but in recent years he has climbed the ranking with great speed. Now it’s up to me to try and stop him. The only thing I am sure of is that I will give it my all, as always. I’ll be ready ”.
The first question for the 23-year-old from Buenos Aires is about a possible top 10 future. “I believe in myself – the Argentine’s decisive answer – and in the possibility of growing by continuing to work. The top 10 is a dream but not the goal of this moment. After this week many things will change, I will have to be good at managing everything. You love me? Fantastic! Playing here is like playing in Argentina. In the match against Tiafoe I had the impression there were more people cheering for me than for him, it was amazing. The warmth of the Latin audience is something unique, it makes me feel at home “.
Sinner’s sudden withdrawal caught Francisco off guard. “We warmed up at the same time before the match and I felt he was fine. In the fifth game I saw him bend over and touch his foot. He came to tell me a few things after the game but I couldn’t understand, it was all so fast. I would have liked to play and try to win on the pitch. Obviously I wish him a speedy recovery ”.
The first semifinal in a “1000” is never forgotten. “I hope to continue living these emotions for a long time, I like challenges. In challenger tournaments the level is high, with at least five or six top 100 each time and everyone gives their all to be able to carve out their space. Here are the best in the world, that’s true, but in challengers there is more hunger to win. I am happy with how things are going for Argentine tennis. Besides me and my brother there are Schwartzman, Delbonis, Baez and many others. Juan Manuel (brother of Francisco, number 122 ATP, ed), as a good southpaw, has always been a fan of Nadal. My idol, on the other hand, was Nalbandian. I’ve always admired him a lot “.
Sinner chews bitter but is already projected towards the future. “I was forced to retire due to blisters on my right foot – explains the blue – I really couldn’t move. They had already made themselves felt in the match with Kyrgios, probably due to a jump forward on a short ball. Today I tried but there was nothing to do. With my staff we will try to understand the cause and find a solution. Two retirements in the last two tournaments are hard to digest but I have to look forward ”.
“Petra Kvitova is an extraordinary champion – underlined the Pole at the press conference – but recently I had the opportunity to face great players. I really appreciate her fighting spirit, especially after what she’s been through. She has been on the circuit for so many years and she has experience to spare. I too, one match after another, am trying to accumulate some and make it worth it on the pitch. I imagine we will be able to challenge each other again ”.
The analysis of the new number 1 in the world is extremely lucid. “What worked? Without beam the first service. I knew that I would have to adapt to her rhythms, giving her heavier and heavier balls so as to frequently induce her to make mistakes. Fortunately, that’s how it went. It is normal to feel fatigue when you have weeks of this type. The day I faced Coco Gauff, having had little time to recover, wasn’t easy at all. It’s more mental than physical stress, the body is responding well and I still don’t feel like I’ve pushed myself to the limit. My team knows what is best for me and helps me to manage everything with great intelligence, for me it is wonderful to feel this feeling and to be able to trust them “.
Between Swiatek and the third consecutive final in a WTA 1000 there is the American Jessica Pegula, who in the second round and in the quarter-finals has benefited from the retirement of both opponents during the match in progress. “I know it will be a great match. I’ve spent so much time on the pitch in the past few weeks that I don’t consider it an advantage or a disadvantage, honestly I didn’t even know Jessica had two retirements. Last year I looked at the scoreboard many times, finding myself too often thinking about the next rounds without doing it in a constructive way. Today I only think about one game at a timeasking the team if the draw is good or bad but only at the beginning of the tournament ”.