Miami Open Daily Preview: Elena Rybakina Plays Victoria Azarenka in the Semifinals - UBITENNIS
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Miami Open Daily Preview: Elena Rybakina Plays Victoria Azarenka in the Semifinals

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Elena Rybakina on Tuesday in Miami (twitter.com/miamiopen)

The men’s singles quarterfinals conclude on Thursday, while the women’s singles semifinals will both be played.

2022 Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina faces three-time Miami Open champ Victoria Azarenka on Thursday.  The other WTA semifinal sees Ekaterina Alexandrova, who has now taken out top five seeds in consecutive rounds (Swiatek, Pegula), play an in-form American in Danielle Collins,

Plus, the second two ATP singles quarterfinals will be contested.  2022 champ Carlos Alcaraz squares off against Grigor Dimitrov, who has been playing some of the best tennis of his career.  And 2018 runner-up Sascha Zverev takes on Fabian Marozsan, a red-hot Hungarian who is now 14-3 at Masters 1000 level.

Each day, this preview will analyze the two most intriguing matchups, while highlighting other notable matches on the schedule.  Thursday’s play gets underway at 1:00pm local time.


Elena Rybakina (4) vs. Victoria Azarenka (27) – Not Before 3:00pm on Stadium Court

Rybakina is 21-3 on the year, after surviving a stern test from an in-form Maria Sakkari on Tuesday night.  Elena has already claimed two titles this season (Brisbane, Abu Dhabi), and reached another final (Doha).  This is her seventh WTA 1000 semifinal since last March, and she’s 4-2 in this round.

Azarenka is 14-5 this season, and has now accumulated 44 match wins at this event, the most of any WTA 1000 tournament.  She defeated two seeded players to this stage (Zheng, Boulter), both in straight sets.  This is a fifth Miami Open semifinal for the three-time champ.

Rybakina is 3-0 against Azarenka, with all three meetings occurring within the last few years on hard courts.  She took the first two in straight sets, and then split sets with Vika last month in Dubai, before Azarenka retired.  Despite Vika’s great history at this tournament, recent form dictates Elena must be considered the favorite to achieve a second consecutive final in Miami. 


Carlos Alcaraz (1) vs. Grigor Dimitrov (11) – Not Before 7:00pm on Stadium Court

Coming off his title run in Indian Wells, Alcaraz has been in stellar form.  He has not dropped a set through three matches, playing confident and composed tennis.  Carlitos is vying for a third straight semifinal appearance in Miami.

Until this week, this was the only Masters 1000 event where Dimitrov had failed to reach the quarterfinals or better, and he held a losing record of 11-12 in Miami.  But across the past six months, Grigor has been playing at a very high level.  Since the Shanghai Masters in October, he’s gone 28-7, and advanced to three tournament finals.  In the last round, he looked completely gassed at the end of a near three-hour match against Hubert Hurkacz, yet escaped in a third-set tiebreak.

Alcaraz leads their head-to-head 3-1, though Dimitrov’s only victory was their most recent encounter, six months ago in Shanghai when Grigor began this nice run.  But beating Carlitos again when the Spaniard is seemingly at the peak of his abilities will be an entirely different story.  Alcaraz should be favored on Thursday.


Other Notable Matches on Thursday:

Sascha Zverev (4) vs. Fabian Marozsan – Zverev is yet to drop a set, and ousted Karen Khachanov in the last round.  Marozsan has now reached the fourth round or better in all four of his Masters 1000 appearances, and already took out two top 10 seeds during this fortnight (Rune, de Minaur).  This will be their first career meeting.

Ekaterina Alexandrova (14) vs. Danielle Collins – As per Diego Barbiani on Twitter, Alexandrova’s comeback win over Pegula was the first time she’s beaten a top 10 player after losing the first set, coming after 25 losses.  Collins has played ferociously to achieve her second WTA 1000 semifinal, taking 10 consecutive sets where her opponent has failed to win more than three games.  This is another first-time encounter.


Thursday’s full Order of Play is here.

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Novak Djokovic Withdraws From Masters 1000 Event In Madrid

Novak Djokovic will miss the Masters 1000 event in Madrid and will look to build up his Roland Garros preparations in Rome.

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Novak Djokovic has withdrawn from the Masters 1000 event in Madrid as he aims for quality over quantity in his bid for Roland Garros glory.

The world number one has had a rough start to the season by his standards as he is yet to win a title this season after a semi-final defeat to Jannik Sinner at the Australian Open.

Djokovic was hoping a change of surface would bring a change of fortunes but the Serb was defeated in three sets in the semi-finals of Monte-Carlo.

Now it seems that result has made Djokovic rethink his schedule as the current Roland Garros champion has withdrawn from Madrid.

No official reason has been given although the news seems to be not that surprising given Djokovic’s history in the Spanish capital.

The Serb hasn’t played since 2022, where he was beaten by Carlos Alcaraz in the semi-finals, and has now won the title there for five years.

It looks like Djokovic will be putting his faith into more favourable conditions in Rome, which is the most similar to Roland Garros in terms of conditions.

Djokovic is a six-time champion in the Italian capital and will aim for a seventh title when he plays there on the 8th of May.

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Thanasi Kokkinakis Questions ‘Insane’ Drug Testing

Thanasi Kokkinakis has been tested three times within the last six days.

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Thanasi Kokkinakis has questioned persistent drug testing after he revealed he was tested three times in six days.

The Australian is in good form at the moment having won the Sarasota Challenger in Florida.

Kokkinakis claimed glory with a three set win over Zizou Bergs in the final as he continues to climb the rankings.

However that glory has been overshadowed by the fact that Kokkinakis has revealed he was drug tested three times within a six day period.

The world number 94 described it as ‘insane’ and it comes after Alexandre Muller complained of persistent drug testing after his recent defeats.

Doping has been a huge topic of conversations with Simona Halep losing two years of her career after testing positive after the US Open before the Court Of Arbitration For Sport shortened her case.

Kokkinakis will be hoping that this is the last time he has to deal with persistent drug testing as he continues his clay court season.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas Saves Two Match Points To Extend Winning Streak In Barcelona

Stefanos Tsitsipas survived a scare to reach the Barcelona semi-finals.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas saved two match points to defeat Facundo Diaz Acosta 4-6 6-3 7-6(8) in Barcelona.

The former finalist saved two match points against the inspired Argentinian as Tsitsipas reached the semi-finals.

It means Tsitsipas is 9-0 in the clay court season and has the chance to set up a potential rematch with Casper Ruud in the final.

The duo met in last week’s Monte-Carlo final where Tsitsipas claimed his third title in Monaco.

Speaking after the match Tsitsipas admitted it was difficult to sustain his level, “I was coming close [to losing] at certain moments in the match. It seemed like a mountain,” Tsitsipas stated to the ATP website.

“I reminded myself that I have a headband that I wear here that has a mountain and that I need to climb it, so it kept me going. It was difficult. It was extremely difficult to sustain the same level throughout the entire match and I think he played incredible.

“I think he left everything out there. He is a good clay-court player. He has a title on the ATP Tour for a reason and today it was a level he was able to bring out on the court that made it quite obvious.

“I got a little bit tense on my serve, I won’t lie. I think I started decelerating a lot, but once I got a hold of that I was conscious of that, it went back to where it belonged and helped me a lot in the tie-breaker because if I didn’t figure it out, I don’t know. It was very mental in general. I really had to go to uncomfortable places mentally and go over the limit at some point.”

Tsitsipas is currently seven in the world in the live rankings as the Greek is looking to claim his first title in Barcelona.

Next up for the Greek will be either Dusan Lajovic or Arthur Fils while Tomas Martin Etcheverry takes on Casper Ruud in the other semi-final.

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