with 24 aces Hurkacz gets rid of Karatsev. Harris, heart of a lion, surpasses Nishioka

On this Monday, March 28, in Day 8 of tenders all‘Hard Rock Stadium of the Miami Gardensbegan the second week of Miami Open presented by Itaù. The men’s draw, on this day, saw the alignment in the round of 16 with the completion of the missing third rounds, or those of the upper part of the seeding. We offer you the report of two of the matches staged in the day session (start at 11.00 local time, 18.00 Italian time).

As a second meeting on the Grandstand, (the second most important field of the facility after the Stadium), after the match between Collins and Jabeur, the tds n. 9 Hubert Hurkacz and the n. 29 Aslan Karatsev. The Pole, after the initial bye, overcame a tough match in the second round against Arthur Rinderknech. The Frenchman certainly played better than Hubi for large sections of the first set, so as to hoist himself on 5-3 in the tie-break; but then he surrendered loudly with the score of 7-6 6-2. Speaking of decisive games, there is a fairly interesting statistic in this sense concerning the holder of the title of the 2021 edition: in his last three matches the n. 10 ATP always saw the first set end at deciding game; of those three tie-breaks, he won two in the aforementioned second round in Miami and against Steve Johnson in Indian Wells, losing one instead in eighths again in California with Andrey Rublev. If we broaden the range of action of the numerical data in question, we can see how Hubert played 10 tie-breaks in 16 seasonal games; this shows how the Pole has a certain tendency to take refuge in the decisive games to determine their matches, even if the result of this constant is negative overall (with 6 lost and only 4 won). Furthermore, the semi-finalist of Wimbledon 2021 after last year’s triumphal ride, holds a very curious record in Florida; or the balance between wins and losses that reads an incredible 9-1, with the only knockout dating back to the sixteenths of the 2019 edition (at his first participation in the tournament) at the hands of Felix Auger-Aliassime. On the other side of the network, the Russian, who is experiencing a start of 2022 well below the standards expressed during the previous season. Yet the year had started in the best way, with six consecutive successes, to open the new season, which had led him up to the victory of the ATP 250 in Sydney; only to run into 8 defeats in the next 10 games. Two previous ones (1-1), both held on concrete and in 2021; statement for no. 32 of the ranking in the second round of the ATP 250 in San Diego in comeback in the third set and revenge consumed by the 25-year-old from Wroclaw in the eighth at BNP Paribas Open in two partial. To access the round of 16 is Hurkacz, who manages to impose himself on no. 3 of Russia in three partial with the score of 7-5 4-6 6-3 in 2 hours and 24 minutes of game.

First set decided by the only break point of the fraction in the twelfth game, when the Pole snatched the serve from his opponent (at 30) while Karatsev was trying to prolong the contest. Aslan, however, reacts immediately at the beginning of the second set, breaking in the opening and flying off to 3-1; in this last game he cancels two very dangerous counter-break opportunities. Then he manages without overdoing the advantage until the end, taking the challenge to the decisive set. Here though Hubi takes over the reins of the match and basically ends the game after the first game. This is because the first game, in fact, proves to be crucial, since it is brought home by the tds n. 9 after 13 hard-fought points with even two break points canceled. Having escaped the danger, Hurkacz no longer looks back and in the following game exploiting the fragility of the Russian, who was mentally blocked on the missed chances, he went 2-0 and then ended the match 6-3. The super performance of n. 10 of the world at the service; where he even threw 24 aces, supported by 71% of first players in the field, by the exceptional 83% conversion and by a very concrete 67% in saving breakpoints. On the other hand, Aslan’s numbers with the key at the start of the game weren’t bad; but he paid for the smallness of his 56% of firsts thrown into the square of the service.

The second meeting, which we take into consideration, is the one staged as the second match of the day on the Butch Buchholz (the show court of the structure, dedicated to the creator of the event and his family), after the defeat full of regrets blue Lucia Bronzetti; among the South African Lloyd Harris and Japanese Yoshihito Nishioka. The N. 44 of the ATP classification, in the previous round, had obtained a very prestigious victory against the n. 14 Denis Shapovalov. To underline, in this meeting, the excellent performance in the service of Harris, in which he lost only one game (the exact same situation that occurred today) at bat in the final 6-3 6-4. This success was, really, the first real jolt in this first part of 2022 for Lloyd; having been only the third victory against 8 defeats. Moreover, the other two statements, as well as being very fresh (both arrived in Sunshine Double), they came up against a landlord as pure as the Argentine Bagnis, little inclined to fast surfaces and consequently have a very low reliability rate to evaluate the state of form. In addition, access to the third round with permission to the former n. 31 of the rankings, to already obtain (then further improved in the match in question) the best placement in this tournament, since both in 2019 and in 2021 the South African had stopped his race in the second round. Facing the class of ’97, the Japanese, who qualified for the round of 32, recovering a set of disadvantage to Dan Evans and by registering with this last triumph a strip of 4 consecutive affirmations; having started their journey from the qualifiers. Furthermore, Nishioka, unlike his opponent today, had already reached the third round in this tournament, before being eliminated from the disappeared Thiem. For the n. 96 ATP, having won a hard-fought match in the decisive fraction was absolutely a positive sign in terms of confidence and awareness of his own means, given that he had been the victim of continuous physical problems during 2021 to the point of obliging him to give up on several appointments in the Tour. Although he confirmed these progress, today, however, this was not enough. Only one face to face between the two protagonists, last year in the opening round of the Masters 1000 in Cincinnati: an easy 6-3 6-4 victory in favor of Harris. Finally, despite the negative start of the season, in these three months Lloyd has collected a favorable balance against left-handed opponents with 3 positive results and a single defeat, following this trend in the match with the Japanese. In fact, the 25-year-old from Cape Town hoped that the match against the southpaw in the previous round could represent a turning point in his season, so far not at all exciting, and so it seems to have been; having given continuity with the victory over the Japanese.

So in the end to qualify for the next round, as already anticipated, it is Harris who reaches this result for the first time in his career the round of 16 in a 1000 category tournament. Match that unfolded over three sets; placed in the safe by no. 1 of South Africa after more than two and a half hours of playing for 7-6 (5) 4-6 7-5. The first partial was very balanced with services performing at the highest levels. Only one break point in the whole set; materialized in the eighth game with Harris serving. Shattered the possibility and won the game by Llyod’s advantages, he continued again following the lines slavishly until reaching the inevitable tie-break. Here, inexplicably, seeing the yield they had had for the whole hamlet, the services got jammed. There were three mini-breaks each, with the decisive seventh in favor of Harris in the twelfth pointwhich then closed at the first set point.

Second set along the lines of the first, although with more chances for the rivals (actually all for Nishioka). The first to save himself and to cancel the break point is again the South African. Serving on 2-2, the n. 44 in fact cancels the second and third chances in response to Nishioka. On the fourth opportunity, however, the good Lloyd can do nothingso the Japanese qualified breakka in the ninth game and collects the partial in the game that follows. Third and decisive set that ends us with the same score as the first but avoiding the final showdown at the tie-break, with the script once again remaining unchanged. Harris, in fact, is forced to face three more break points in the ninth game (11 points played), which could have sent Nishioka to serve for the match. But Lloyd very coldly cancels all three and goes 5-4. Yoshihito does not tremble and settles the score. We therefore arrive at the twelfth game, and history repeats itself for the umpteenth time; another infinite game (13 points) and the umpteenth two break points not exploited by Yoshihito. Desperate for all the missed opportunities, he delivers the qualification to the round of 16 at Harris ice heart, in the next game. As for the statistics; it is impossible not to start from Harris’ scary figure on canceled breakpoints: 89% (8/9). In addition, the South African lion heart, in order not to miss anything, also adds 67% of prime and 72% of points won with it; but above all an extraordinary loot of ace (19). Nishioka also served very well and with excellent percentages; but while playing a lady match he collapsed in crucial moments due to the shortage of killer insinctwith that given on the opportunities in response that if analyzed from his point of view turns into a disastrous 11% (1/9, with the only concretized which earned him the decisive extension in the second).

Hurkacz and Harris will compete in the round of 16 for a place in the first quarter-final at the top of the scoreboard. Only one head to head between the defendig champion and the South African, but rather dated: first round of the ATP 250 in Estoril 2017, 6-4 7-6 (5) for Llyod.

The complete men’s draw of Miami

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