Now here we are, everything is ready, from the Hard Rock Stadium of Miami Gardens for the grand finale of Miami Open presented by Itaù. At 13.00 local time, 19.00 in Italy, the start of the men’s final in what is the 37th edition of the Florida Masters 1000. Facing each other, two rookies in the last act of a tournament of this magnitude, the tds n. 14 Carlos Alcaraz and the n. 6 Casper Ruud.
THE IBERIAN PHENOMENON HUNTING FOR RECORDS– On the one hand, the eighteen year old Spaniard, with the viewfinder aimed at the camera to unseat Miami’s earliest champion from the throne. 1 of the world Novak Djokovic. The Serbian, in fact, triumphed for the first time among the alligators of Florida at the age of 19 in 2007, winning what was the first of his 37 titles at the 1000 level, when Carlitos was only 3 years old. In that edition the tournament, officially called Sony Ericsson Open at the time, was still held in its historic location in Key Biscayne – which was the scene of the event from 1984 to 2019 – before its transfer to the facility that normally hosts the home games for the Miami Dolphins American Football team.
Moreover, the Murcia native will also attempt to become the third youngest winner of a Masters 1000, in 283 events of this category, which was established in 1990. Only the American Michael Chang and title record holder Major Rafa Nadal, they triumphed in their first 1000 tournament at an even earlier age than the young Iberian would triumph at the Miami Open. On the shoulders of Juan Carlos Ferrero’s pupil, he will also bear the weight of the curse that has always struck his compatriots in the last act of this tournament; or the balance of 8 defeats in 8 finals played by tennis players of the red furies.
THE FIRST TIMES OF THE OSLO NATIVE AND THE OBJECTIVES COMPARED – On the other hand, the 23-year-old from Oslo, number 8 in the rankings, who instead aims to reach the most important goal of his career, which would allow him to become the 33rd top ten champion in the Miami men’s singles. In fact, if he should eventually win the younger of the two contenders, it would be only the fifth winner in the history of the tournament ranked out of the top 10 players in the world. The Norwegian, furthermore with the final success, it would improve its best ranking by climbing the ranking by one position and hoisting itself to n. 7 ATP. While the boy from El Palmar, regardless of the result tonight, from tomorrow will achieve their career high, which will be of n. 12 if he is defeated and of n. 11 if he, on the other hand, he should triumph (in this case it would surpass even Sinner).
The soldier Casper, however, will not take the field only for himself but also for his country. In fact, it had never happened that a Norwegian tennis player reached a Masters 1000 final from 1990, the year in which this category of tournaments was founded, to today. For Ruud it will be the tenth final in the major circuit, with a report that reads 7 statements and only two setbacks; the second on the fast after the one clearly won in 2021, again in the United States, on the hard in San Diego 6-0 6-2 against Norrie. While for AlcarazATP number 16, this will be the fourth final career. In the previous he has always triumphed and consequently is undefeated in the final acts of the tournaments senor. Furthermore, with the title in Miami, Alcaraz would only miss a Grand Slam and a title in the Finals to be able to already boast a tournament of each category at the age of 18; after the ATP 250 in Umag (with this success he became the youngest winner of an ATP title since Nishikori at Delray Beach 2008) and the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan last year; embellished by the success of a few weeks ago in the 500 in Rio de Janeiro (thanks to which he became the youngest winner of a 500 in 151 events since their establishment in 2009 and the earliest to shatter the wall of the top 20 by Andrei Medvedev in 1993 ).
However, the undertaking will be difficult for Carlos, given the numerous progress made in recent months by the Norwegian on fast surfaces; who had approached the 2021 season with a career record of 16-27 on hardcourt. Since then, however, the trend has clearly changed course, with an extraordinary plus of +23, the result of 36 wins and 13 defeats, with the addition of the icing on the cake represented by the exceptional semifinal at the Turin Finals. Obviously his precocity records are not in the least comparable to those of the Spanish baby phenomenon, but from this point of view he too could write a small page of history; for hitting success he would become the youngest winner of the Miami tournament since Sir Andy Murray, who won in 2009 at the age of 21.
THE UNICUMS OF THEIR CAREERS – In summary of these statistical curiosities, it can be seen that the final we are about to attend is between beginners at level 1000, it is not uniqueindeed it had happened in the past edition of 2021; when Hubert Hurkacz – defeated by Alcaraz in the semifinal on Friday – and our Jannik Sinner faced each other. We will see if Alcaraz completes in the best possible way this incredible race that he started with the exploit of the quarters reached at the last Us Open, when he eliminated the then n. 3 of the world Tsitsipas in eighths at the fifth set tiebreaker becoming the youngest player to reach that point in a Grand Slam tournament since Michael Chang at Roland Garros in 1990. With the top 10, the 18-year-old Iberian boasts a budget in draw with 6 successes, including the statements this week with Tsitsipas and Hurkacz, – with the statement against the Polish he reached 17 seasonal victories compared to only 2 defeats in this 2022, among other things coming against Berrettini in the fifth in Australia and with Nadal in three sets in the Indian Wells semifinal – and 6 defeats. He also became the earliest of four other teenagers to reach the semifinals in both rounds of the Sunshine Double. The other four to have achieved this at an early age are: Nadal, Djokovic, Murray and Agassi; these players have a common denominator that bodes well for Carlos for the continuation of his career. They all became number 1 in the world rankings.
Even Ruud is not joking this year, since he too has obtained a title on clay in Buenos Aires and this season has so far recorded 13 wins and only 3 knockouts. The former n. 1 junior after having won 57 games, topped off with 5 titles, (including three consecutive triumphs in July in Bastad, Gstaad and Kitzbhuel, the first to do so since Murray in 2011) managed to establish countless firsts in relation to the nationality of he. The workaholic from Oslo has in fact become the first Norwegian tennis player to enter the top 10, to win an ATP title and to qualify for the Master among the best 8 masters on the circuit. The Scandinavian son of art will therefore arrive very loaded to this appointment, after having hit the most prestigious victory in his career in the quarter-finals against Zverev (No. 4) and after having finally overcome the obstacle of the 1000 semifinals, in the previous three on red (Rome 2020, Montecarlo and Madrid 2021) he had always come out defeated instead he sideways broke this negative trend at the first on hard. Only one direct confrontation, which took place last season in the quarter-finals of the ATP 250 in Marbella, when Alcaraz at home in front of his audience won 6-2 6-4.
PRE-MATCH QUOTES – Obviously the favorite of the meeting, given the incandescent state of form, is by far Alcaraz. Even the odds of bookmekers confirm this. The Spanish fluctuates between Eurobet 1.31 and Bet 365 1.33. While as regards the Norwegian the most benevolent share is that of Sisal (3.20), instead the most damaging negatively for the good Casper is 3.55 by Unibet.