Miami Open Daily Preview: Elena Rybakina Faces Maria Sakkari in the Quarterfinals - UBITENNIS
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Miami Open Daily Preview: Elena Rybakina Faces Maria Sakkari in the Quarterfinals

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Maria Sakkari this past week in Miami (twitter.com/wta)

All round of 16 matches in the men’s singles draw are scheduled for Tuesday.  Also, the women’s singles quarterfinals will get underway.

In a quarterfinal encounter between two of the top eight seeds, Elena Rybakina plays Maria Sakkari.  The other WTA quarterfinal on Tuesday features three-time Miami champion Victoria Azarenka against Yulia Putintseva, who is vying for her first ever WTA 1000 semifinal.

Plus, the top four seeds all still remaining in the men’s singles draw, and they all play on Tuesday.

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


Carlos Alcaraz (1) vs. Lorenzo Musetti (23) – Not Before 3:30pm on Stadium Court

Alcaraz is now on an eight-match winning streak, with six of his last seven matches being straightforward straight-setters.  He’s dropped only nine games through four sets thus far in Miami, as he’s fully rediscovered his mojo, which he had lost after Wimbledon last summer.  Carlitos was the champion here two years ago, and a semifinalist in 2023.

Musetti pulled off some magical shot-making on Monday night to overcome American Ben Shelton after two tight sets.  The 22-year-old Italian arrived in Miami with a dismal record of 5-8 on the year, but becoming a first-time father since leaving Indian Wells seems to have reinspired his play.  Lorenzo is playing to reach his third quarterfinal at Masters 1000 level.

Alcaraz leads their tour-level head-to-head 2-1, and claimed their only meeting on a hard court, which took place last fall in Beijing.  He also defeated Musetti in straight sets earlier last year at Roland Garros, while Lorenzo’s only victory occurred two years ago in the final of Hamburg on clay.  As impressive as Musetti was against Shelton, and as dangerous as his one-handed backhand can be, Alcaraz should still be favored on Tuesday afternoon.


Maria Sakkari (8) vs. Elena Rybakina (4) – Not Before 7:00pm on Stadium Court

Rybakina is now an excellent 20-13 on the year, after dispatching of Madison Keys in straight sets on Monday afternoon.  Since Indian Wells last March, she has advanced to the semifinals or better at six WTA 1000 tournaments, reaching four finals, and winning two titles (Indian Wells, Rome).  One of those runner-up results came at this event a year ago.

Sakkari has won seven of eight matches since hiring David Witt as her new coach.  She took out three seeded players to make the Indian Wells final two weeks ago (Garcia, Navarro, Gauff), and already defeated two of 2024’s strongest WTA performers this past week (Yuan, Yastremska).  Maria received a walkover in the last round from Anna Kalinskaya.

Rybakina is 2-1 against Sakkari, with all three matches contested on this surface.  Most recently, they met a few months ago at the WTA Finals in Cancun, where Elena prevailed in a third-set tiebreak.  In that match, Elena used her superb serving prowess to save six of seven break points.  And based on how well she’s played this season, I favor Rybakina to defeat Sakkari again in this quarterfinal.


Other Notable Matches on Tuesday:

Dominik Koepfer vs. Daniil Medvedev (3) – Medvedev beat Cam Norrie in straight sets on Sunday.  Koepfer has now upset two consecutive seeds to this stage (Baez, Humbert).  Daniil is 2-0 against Dominik, with both wins coming at US Opens within the last five years.

Victoria Azarenka (27) vs. Yulia Putintseva – Azarenka has earned three nice victories this past week, over Peyton Stearns, Qinwen Zheng, and Katie Boulter.  Putintseva has eliminated two seeded players of her own (Samsonova, Kalinina).  Vika has taken both their prior encounters, though both went deep into a third set.

Christopher O’Connell vs. Jannik Sinner (2) – Sinner came from a set down on Sunday to defeat Tallon Griekspoor, making him 18-1 this season.  O’Connell is yet to drop a set, and the 29-year-old Australian only owned one main draw win at a Masters 1000 event prior to this fortnight.  Their only prior meeting took place three years ago in Atlanta, where O’Connell was victorious.

Grigor Dimitrov (11) vs. Hubert Hurkacz (8) – Dimitrov blitzed Jannick Hanfmann on Monday by a score of 6-1, 6-0.  On the same day, Hurkacz survived a grueling three-setter against Sebastian Korda.  Grigor is an undefeated 4-0 against Hubi, yet all four matches have been tight.

Sascha Zverev (4) vs. Karen Khachanov (15) – Zverev defeated Christopher Eubanks on Monday, while Khachanov required a third-set tiebreak to beat Francisco Cerundolo.  Sascha is 3-2 against Karen, and they haven’t played since the gold medal match of the Tokyo Olympics nearly three years ago, which Zverev won 6-3, 6-1.


Tuesday’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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