Miami Open Daily Preview: Carlos Alcaraz Plays Gael Monfils on Monday - UBITENNIS
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Miami Open Daily Preview: Carlos Alcaraz Plays Gael Monfils on Monday

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Carlos Alcaraz on Saturday in Miami (twitter.com/atptour)

Monday will see the top half of the men’s singles draw play their third round matches, while all 16 women remaining in singles will play their fourth round matches.

The round of 16 in the WTA singles draw features four of the top five seeds, all of whom face seeded competition on Monday.  Plus, two of the fastest men to ever play this sport, Carlos Alcaraz and Gael Monfils, will square off in the third round.

Each day, this preview will analyze the two most intriguing matchups, while highlighting other notable matches on the schedule.  Monday’s play gets underway at 11:00am local time.


Madison Keys (17) vs. Elena Rybakina (4) – Not Before 1:00pm on Stadium Court

Rybakina has already endured two three-setters this past week, each decided by a tight 6-4 third set.  And both were against qualifiers: Clara Tauson and Taylor Townsend.  Elena missed Indian Wells due to illness, yet is now 19-3 on the year.  She was the runner-up in Miami a year ago.

Madison Keys is a Florida resident, yet surprisingly owns a losing record of 11-12 at her home state’s biggest tournament.  Only once has she advanced beyond the third round in Miami.  This is just her second tournament of the year, though she didn’t drop a set in her first two matches.

Service breaks in this one will likely be a precious commodity, in a match between two of the WTA’s biggest servers and ball strikers.  While Rybakina is the more in-form player at this point of this season, Keys leads their head-to-head 2-1, with all three meetings occurring during 2022.  Their most relevant previous matchup is from the Cincinnati quarterfinals in this same country, where Madison comfortably prevailed 6-2, 6-4.

But on Monday, I expect Elena to even their record at two-a-piece.  Her 19 wins on the season, as compared to just three for Keys, will give Rybakina a considerable edge in confidence.  And for the past two years, Elena has been one of the WTA’s toughest outs.


Carlos Alcaraz (1) vs. Gael Monfils – Not Before 7:00pm on Stadium Court

Alcaraz is now 13-3 this year, and the Indian Wells champ has built a seven-match win streak.  He won this tournament two years ago, and reached the semifinals in 2023.  Carlitos was not tested in his opening round, defeating fellow Spaniard Roberto Carballes Baena 6-2, 6-1.

Monfils is just 10-7 this season, but has now won five of his last six matches.  In Indian Wells, he was victorious in a pair of dramatic three-setters against Hubert Hurkacz and Cameron Norrie.  And over the weekend in Miami, he came back from a set down to overcome Jordan Thompson.  Gael is only 14-11 lifetime at this event, with his quarterfinal appearance in 2016 being his best result.

They’ve only played once before, with Alcaraz taking a straight-setter two years ago in Indian Wells.  This matchup should provide some scintillating rallies, and plenty of highlight reel material, but Carlitos is the clear favorite to advance.


Other Notable Matches on Monday:

Sascha Zverev (4) vs. Christopher Eubanks (31) – Eubanks completed one of the best match points saves you will ever see against Dan Evans on Saturday evening, coming from behind in a third-set tiebreak.  Zverev spent less than half the time on court as compared to Eubanks, easily dispatching of Felix Auger-Aliassime in straights.  Sascha claimed their only previous meeting, a year ago on clay in Geneva.

Coco Gauff (3) vs. Caroline Garcia (23) – Garcia won two tight sets against Naomi Osaka on Sunday, while Gauff has dropped just seven games through four sets to this stage.  These players have split four prior encounters, all on hard courts.

Emma Navarro (20) vs. Jessica Pegula (5) – Pegula eliminated Leylah Fernandez in the last round, and Navarro won a three-setter against recent Dubai champion Jasmine Paolini.  This is the first matchup between these two Americans.

Iga Swiatek (1) vs. Ekaterina Alexandrova (14) – Swiatek survived a stern test from Linda Noskova on Sunday night.  Earlier in the day, Alexandrova took out Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in three.  Iga is 3-1 against Ekaterina, and has claimed their last three matches, including one just a month ago in Doha.


Monday’s full Order of Play is here.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas downs Sinner; now aims for Third Title in Monte Carlo

Stylish Greek completes comeback win and re-enters the top ten.

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After winning two in a row in 2021-2022, Stefanos Tsitsipas is now in reach of a third title at the prestigious Monte Carlo Rolex Masters, after beating World number two Jannik Sinner in three gruelling sets.

The 25-year-old had to battle hard and come from a break down in the third to win 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 and now plays Casper Ruud in tomorrow’s final. The Greek has had an indifferent start to the year with a 11-6 win-loss record, but today was his first top three victory since the 2022 Cincinatti Masters – where he beat Daniil Medvedev – and ensures a return back into the top ten of the men’s rankings.

Tsitsipas recognised how hard he had to fight and revealed after the match just how satisfied he was of his performance:

“It was tennis at its highest level that I have been able to play. Jannik was an extremely difficult opponent and it can be seen throughout the year so far. He has been very consistent and I could see that throughout today with his game. He is one of the toughest opponents I have faced so far and to find ways when there weren’t that many, I am proud of that. He gave me a very difficult game and the way I overcame it is true excellence.”

Sinner double faulted at 30-40 to gift the break early with the score at one game all. From there, Tsistipas rallied with poise and confidence in a brilliant opening set lasting 44 minutes including a stunning backhand down-the-line winner to open the game when serving at 4-3. He took the first set 6-4 after a tiring 18-shot rally – where both players hit all angles of the court – before Sinner hit a forehand wide.

However, 22-year-old Sinner struck back immediately on his first breakpoint at the start of the second set when he won a close exchange at the net and then took a 3-0 lead.  He later survived a breakback point when 4-2 up and crucially held on for 5-2. He faced more pressure when serving for the set at 5-3 and was taken to deuce but levelled the match at one-set-all on his second set point to give the crowd exactly what they were asking f

Sinner was now in full flow hitting powerfully from the baseline and once again broke early at the start of the final set to take a 3-1 lead. But with the match now entering the third hour he began to tire physically and called for the trainer during the changeover with the score at 4-3.  When the match resumed, he lost the next three games and the Greek had completed a remarkable turnaround, handing his opponent just his second defeat of the season in two hours and forty minutes.

“It helps a lot knowing I have a win like this under my belt. Having a win like this and getting to the levels of tennis again brings a lot of satisfaction to me,” Tsitsipas said. “When there is a lot of work put in each day, these are the type of matches you are aiming for.”

Sinner’s only loss prior to today was against Carlos Alcaraz in Indian Wells semi-finals. He has been the stand out player this year after already winning titles in Rotterdam, the Miami Open, and his maiden Grand Slam in Australia. Despite having won 25 matches overall though, he now trails Tsitsipas 3-6 in their head-to-head rivalry.

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Casper Ruud Reveals Shock After Knocking Out Novak Djokovic In Monte-Carlo

Casper Ruud is into his second career Masters 1000 final after beating Novak Djokovic for the first time.

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Casper Ruud is into his second Masters 1000 final of his career after recording his best ever win by beating Novak Djokovic 6-4 1-6 6-4.

The Norwegian defeated the world number one for the first time in his career as he overcame a mini-comeback from Djokovic to seal his place in the Monte-Carlo final.

Having lost his five previous meetings to Djokovic, Ruud played some fearless tennis under pressure as the eighth seed broke to close out a career-best win.

Speaking after the win Ruud admitted he was in a state of shock and was pleased with the victory, “I am super happy,” Ruud told the ATP website.

“This is a day I will remember for a long time. Beating a World No. 1 is something I have never done and beating Novak is something I have never done. I am very, very happy. I am a little bit in a state of shock right now.”

After achieving the seemingly improbable, Ruud will now look to win his first ever ATP title that’s above a Masters 1000 event when he takes on Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Monte-Carlo final.

That’s a prospect Ruud is looking forward to as he prepares for one final challenge, “There is always one more match in tennis,” the Norwegian explained.

“Tomorrow is going to be a special day, playing a final here in Monte-Carlo. It is a great result but I have been chasing a big title for a few years now and tomorrow I will have another shot at it. I am going to give it my all. Stef is playing well. He is a great player on clay and on other surfaces as well, but I guess clay is maybe where he has had the most success and especially this tournament.

“So it is going to be another tough task, but I am up for it.”

The final will take place at 14:00 BST.

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Rafael Nadal Set For Opening Round Test Against Cobolli In Barcelona

Rafael Nadal will look to make his ATP tour return in Barcelona this week.

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Rafael Nadal is set for his return to tennis in Barcelona as he has been drawn against Flavio Cobolli in the opening round.

Nadal has been struggling with injury after being injured again in Brisbane this year.

The tournament in Brisbane was his first tournament back for a year as he suffered a hip injury at the Australian Open last year.

Now Nadal aims to return to competitive action in Barcelona as he has been drawn against Flavio Cobolli in the opening round.

Speaking earlier in the week Nadal was hopeful of a return to the tour in Barcelona, “Excited to be here for a few days before the start of the tournament,” Nadal told the ATP website.

“I’m here to see how it goes… can’t wait to try and play. I’ll let you know. Important to say that I don’t want to confirm I’ll be playing, but I hope so. We’ll see.”

Should Nadal play and win his opening round match then the Spaniard will play fourth seed Alex De Minaur in the second round.

The former world number one has won the title on 12 different occasions but hasn’t won the title since 2021.

Elsewhere in the draw defending champion Carlos Alcaraz will begin against Luca Van Assche or Zhizhen Zhang with the Spaniard projected to meet Borna Coric in the third round.

Alcaraz suffered an injury in Monte-Carlo and will be beginning his clay court campaign in Barcelona.

Also in action in Barcelona are Andrey Rublev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Casper Ruud.

Main draw action will begin on Monday.

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