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Tsitsipas Rues ‘Self Explosion’ As Win ‘Leapt Out Of My Hands’

  • Posted: Apr 01, 2021

After his three-set loss to Hubert Hurkacz on Thursday, Stefanos Tsitsipas discussed the disappointment of having to leave the Miami Open presented by Itau after letting an opportunity slip through his hands.

The Greek entered his quarter-final against Hurkacz with a 6-1 ATP Head2Head record and was the highest-ranked player left in the draw. Tsitsipas had beaten former World No. 4 Kei Nishikori and 24th seed Lorenzo Sonego to reach the last eight, but he was unable to make the next step in his quest for a maiden ATP Masters 1000 trophy.

“I was very stressed these two weeks. Especially this week, I was feeling very stressed. I felt like it was my opportunity. I did quite well, but I feel like there was more space for me to show something greater,” said Tsitsipas.

“It’s a disappointing loss. It’s a very disappointing loss. It [leapt] out of my hands. I grabbed it. It was there. Everything was under control. And suddenly, I don’t know, [there was a] self-explosion… But I’ll take these two weeks as great two weeks, great memories, and I had plenty of fun playing out on the court.”


The 2019 Nitto ATP Finals champion raced into a 6-2, 2-0 lead on Grandstand and, after just 52 minutes, he held two break points for a double-break advantage in the second set. Hurkacz managed to escape danger in that crucial third game, and Tsitsipas’ disappointment was compounded in the following game when he dropped serve for the first time in the match.

“I [didn’t] even have to break anymore, [I] just [had to keep] managing my serve. [It] didn’t happen,” said Tsitsipas. “[At 3-3, 15/40] he hit that forehand on the line which was quite extreme in the very corner of the court.

“That was probably [a] little bit lucky from his side. I didn’t see that shot during the entire week, and it happened on that break point.”

Had Tsitsipas managed to break serve in the seventh game and hold his serve in the next game, he would have led 6-2, 5-3. The World No. 5 felt he was within touching distance of landing a knockout blow but instead, Hurkacz claimed those two games to turn the match in his favour.

“Serving, knowing that you’re [5-3] down, I feel like the opponent would be completely crushed,” said Tsitsipas. “There would be zero hope for him… I could have just completely punched him, knocked him out. But it was a bit unlucky for me, as well.”

While Tsitsipas was disappointed with the manner of his defeat, he was impressed with the level that took him to a commanding position in the match. The World No. 5 has shown great form in recent weeks, having arrived at the tournament fresh from a run to the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC final in Acapulco (l. to Zverev).

“I think I played unbelievable tennis until that point, 6-2, [2-0] up, going for a double break like nothing could stop me,” said Tsitsipas. “Suddenly, that one shot [at 3-3, 15/40] changed the whole psychology of the match… [It is] great for Hurkacz who did what he had to do in order to beat me, but I feel like there was a lost opportunity that shouldn’t have happened today. Definitely not. It should have been my way. It should have been my win.”

Tsitsipas leaves Miami with a 17-5 record this season. Only Andrey Rublev, who enters his quarter-final clash against Sebastian Korda on Thursday with 19 wins from 22 matches this year, owns more wins in 2021.

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Mektic/Pavic To Meet Evans/Skupski In Miami Final

  • Posted: Apr 01, 2021

Second seeds Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic booked a spot in their fifth ATP Tour final of the year at the Miami Open presented by Itau with a victory over Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury on Thursday.

The Croatian pair took one step closer to a Tour-leading fourth title of the year. They hope to add an ATP Masters 1000 trophy to their 2021 haul, having already claimed victory at the Antalya Open, Murray River Open and the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam in 2021.

Mektic and Pavic were on song in their 6-3, 7-6(5) win against Ram and Salisbury, saving both of the break points they faced across one hour and 29 minutes on Court 1.

They will take on unseeded Daniel Evans and Neal Skupski in the championship match. The all-British team claimed a hard-fought victory over Australian Open champions Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek, the fourth seeds, winning 7-6(4), 1-6, 10-8 after an hour and 42 minutes.


The victory sends Evans into his first ATP Tour doubles final, while Skupski is looking to lift his second trophy of the year in back-to-back weeks.

Skupski partnered with brother Ken Skupski to victory at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel, their first title together since 2019. But the pair had to part ways temporarily after Ken was diagnosed with a blood clot in his right leg ahead of their trip to Miami.

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Hurkacz Completes Memorable Tsitsipas Comeback In Miami

  • Posted: Apr 01, 2021

Hubert Hurkacz has been having fun in the Florida sun this year but, after just 52 minutes against Stefanos Tsitsipas at the Miami Open presented by Itau on Thursday, the 26th seed found himself serving at 2-6, 0-2, 15/40 and feeling the heat.

The Pole, who had struggled to keep his error count down on Grandstand, raised his aggression to extend his unbeaten run in Florida this year to eight matches with a 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory. Hurkacz entered the match with one win from seven ATP Head2Head clashes against Tsitsipas, but he fired 15 aces and broke serve on three occasions to reach his first ATP Masters 1000 semi-final.

“It is so big [to be in my first Masters 1000 semi-final], especially in front of the crowd here in Miami,” said Hurkacz. “It is a super big win for me and I can’t wait for the next match.”


For the sixth straight match, Hurkacz and Tsitsipas needed a deciding set to separate them. Hurkacz has recovered from a set down in back-to-back matches in Miami, following his 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(4) win against Milos Raonic in the Round of 16.

“I was trying to keep fighting and that’s what I did,” said Hurkacz. “[I am] super pumped and happy that I was able to turn this match around.”

Tsitsipas took advantage of a below-par Hurkacz performance to race into a 6-2, 2-0 lead. The Greek held two break points to establish a 3-0 advantage in the second set, but Hurkacz served with power and moved to the net to halt Tsitsipas’ momentum.

“He was returning very well and I had to play a lot of rallies,” said Hurkacz. “At the beginning of the match, I tried to go for too much, so then I was trying to adapt my game a little bit.”

That third game proved to be the turning point for Hurkacz, who returned with aggression to push Tsitsipas into defensive positions and extract errors. The Delray Beach champion won six of seven games from 0-2 to level the match.

Hurkacz earned the crucial break of the match at 2-2 in the third set. Tsitsipas had led 40/0 in the game, but the World No. 37 ripped a backhand passing shot up the line and placed his opponent in uncomfortable positions at the net to break serve. Hurkacz landed a powerful serve down the T to convert his first match point.

Hurkacz will face fourth seed Andrey Rublev in the final, after the Russian took down #NextGenATP American Sebastian Korda 7-5, 7-6(7) later in the day. The 24-year-old Pole owns a 1-0 ATP Head2Head record against Rublev after claiming a victory in their 2020 Internazionali BNL d’Italia meeting.

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Preview: Rublev Intent On Ending Korda’s Charge

  • Posted: Apr 01, 2021

If Andrey Rublev has it his way, a defeat of Sebastian Korda in the Miami Open presented by Itau quarter-finals will ensure the #NextGenATP American’s parents no longer have to put an urgent trip to Palm Springs on hold. 

Korda’s sisters, Nelly and Jessica, are contesting their first LPGA major of 2021 on the opposite side of the country. But due to the 20-year-old’s run to his maiden ATP Masters 1000 quarter-final, parents Petr Korda and Regina Rajchrtova have had to wait to join their daughters’ support squad.

Korda has been on a tear this week in Miami, notching his first Top 20 win over Fabio Fognini and first Top 10 victory over fifth seed Diego Schwartzman. No man has won more matches in 2021 than Rublev, though. 


Like Korda, the fourth seed is vying for his first Masters 1000 semi-final and carries a 19-3 record for the season so far into the pair’s first ATP Head2Head meeting. The Russian was clinical in his straight-sets dismissal of former World No. 3 Marin Cilic.

“I think it will be a lot of fun,” Korda said of the showdown. “We are both big hitters, and he’s having a great season and a great whole year pretty much. He’s probably the hottest player on tour right now, and it’s going to be another cool opportunity for me and another cool experience to play such a player like him.”

Rublev has been on fire this season, opening with the ATP Cup trophy for Russia and adding an ATP 500 title in Rotterdam last month, before back-to-back hard-court semi-finals in Doha and Dubai. Korda, though, is enjoying a breakout season, having reached his maiden ATP Tour final at the Delray Beach Open in January. Wins over the likes of John Isner, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Marin Cilic in the first three months of 2021 have already given his parents plenty of which to be proud.

“Having them here, it’s a dream come true,” Korda said. “I always dreamed about playing around my family and playing the big matches and winning the tight matches.

“It’s cool to share this experience with them. I wish my sisters were here, but they are doing their thing in California. Hopefully I can keep going.”

Second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas and 26th seed Hubert Hurkacz are also searching for their first Masters 1000 trophy and will square off in Thursday’s first quarter-final. The Greek spoke of using the disappointment of defeat in the Acapulco final leading in as inspiration in South Florida. So far so good after beating Damir Dzumhur, Kei Nishikori and Lorenzo Sonego in succession. 

“I’m thrilled to be playing the way I’m playing. I’m having a great impact with my game so far this week, so it’s important for me to capitalise [on] that,” Tsitsipas said. “Each single opponent has been a separate challenge, and I’ve been managing to find solutions against them.”

Tsitsipas leads the Pole 6-1 in the pair’s ATP Head2Head, however, their past five showdowns have all gone three sets. Hurkacz is coming off impressive victories over Canadian seeds Denis Shapovalov and Milos Raonic and said he felt perfectly at home in Florida, having won the Delray Beach Open in January.

“Last year I spent here like over five months,” Hurkacz said. “So I got used to the weather and the conditions here, so I think that’s kind of [an] advantage for me. But each site is different. Each [tournament’s] conditions, the balls are different, but I enjoy being here and playing here.”


GRANDSTAND starts at 01:00 PM
[ATP] [26] H. Hurkacz (POL) vs [2] S. Tsitsipas (GRE) 
[WTA] NB 3:00 PM [1] A. Barty (AUS) vs [5] E. Svitolina (UKR) 
[ATP] NB 7:00 PM S. Korda (USA) vs [4] A. Rublev (RUS) 
[WTA] NB 8:30 PM [8] B. Andreescu (CAN) vs [23] M. Sakkari (GRE) 

COURT 1 starts at 01:00 PM
[ATP] [7] R. Ram (USA) / J. Salisbury (GBR) vs [2] N. Mektic (CRO) / M. Pavic (CRO) 
[ATP] D. Evans (GBR) / N. Skupski (GBR) vs [4] I. Dodig (CRO) / F. Polasek (SVK)

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Switzerland Ponders Moving National Day To Federer’s 40th

  • Posted: Apr 01, 2021

For decades, Swiss sports fans have celebrated together as Roger Federer’s achievements rewrote the tennis record books throughout his legendary career. Now, the nation of more than eight million is gearing up for the biggest celebration of all in honour of the former World No. 1.

As reported in Blick, the country’s biggest national newspaper, Switzerland is pondering whether to postpone its National Day by one week – to August 8th, 2021, the same date as Federer’s 40th birthday.

The initiative began as members of Swiss Parliament voiced their support for the move on social media, where it has also gained the approval of Federer’s fervent fanbase.

It wouldn’t be the first time that Switzerland has made a grand gesture to show its affection for its champion Federer. The 39-year-old became the first living person to receive a Swiss stamp in their honour in 2007 following his Wimbledon triumph, and just last year he received his own 20-franc silver coin from Swissmint.

Born on August 8, 1981, Federer’s birthday actually predates the Swiss national holiday by 13 years. While the founding of the Swiss Confederacy has been celebrated annually on August 1 since 1899, it has only been an official holiday since 1994. By that time, a teenage Federer was already well on his way to becoming Swiss National Champion in all categories.

The rest is written in the sport’s history books, with Federer racking up accolade after accolade along with his haul of 20 Grand Slams and 83 ATP Tour titles.

Currently No. 6 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, the Swiss is taking the first steps in his return to ATP Tour action after undergoing knee surgery last year.  He contested two three-set matches at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha, his first tournament since January 2020.

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Bautista Agut Outfoxes Medvedev, Sets Sinner SF In Miami

  • Posted: Apr 01, 2021

Roberto Bautista Agut was the oldest player left standing at the Miami Open presented by Itau and the only player in the last eight to have reached this stage before. The 32-year-old drew from all of that experience to complete a 6-4, 6-2 stunner over top seed Daniil Medvedev on Wednesday as he sealed his fourth ATP Masters 1000 semi-final.

In a quarter-final line-up full of headline-grabbing breakthroughs and memorable debutants, seventh seed Bautista Agut enjoyed life under the radar in Miami. After receiving a bye and later a walkover into the third round, the Spaniard had to find his best tennis in back-to-back three-setters to book a meeting with Medvedev. 

Bautista Agut brought a 2-0 ATP Head2Head lead into his quarter-final clash against Medvedev, with the Spaniard turning around a set deficit in their most recent meeting at last year’s Western & Southern Open in New York. This time, it was Bautista Agut who would take the lead first – and once he settled into the contest, he never looked shaken even as the Russian kept him under pressure.

“I want to give Daniil all the credit, I know he is one of the best players in the world,” Bautista Agut said in an on-court interview. “He’s been winning a lot of matches, he’s No. 2 in the world, so I’m very happy and proud about how I played today. I think I showed a great level on the court.”

After staying on serve across eight tense opening games, Bautista Agut broke through first at 5-4. The Spaniard outlasted Medvedev from the baseline, drawing an unforced error from the Russian. He saved break point of his own as he served out the opening set. 

Bautista Agut continued to make Medvedev uncomfortable in the second set, taking an early lead and retrieving everything his opponent sent his way. He served out the victory to love to seal his spot in the Miami semi-final after an hour and 32 minutes.

Into the semi-finals in South Florida for the first time, Bautista Agut will face a familiar face in his next match against 21st seed Jannik Sinner. The pair last met two weeks ago in Dubai, and the Spaniard will be eyeing revenge for the 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 defeat.

“It was a very tough match in Dubai, and it was a very tight score,” Bautista Agut said. “He’s playing great, he’s very solid and he has very good strokes. I think I’ll have to play another good match like tonight.

“Jannik is playing great… I have to say he will be one of the best players in the world. I want to enjoy another good match and be happy about playing in the semi-finals.”

Did You Know?
With Daniil Medvedev bowing out in the quarter-finals, there will be a new first-time ATP Masters 1000 champion crowned at the Miami Open presented by Itau. 

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Is Sinner Human? Bublik Doesn’t Think So

  • Posted: Apr 01, 2021

From underarm serves to sneak-attack returns, Alexander Bublik left no stone unturned in his quest for a maiden ATP Masters 1000 semi-final appearance on Wednesday at the Miami Open presented by Itau.

Despite his high level of play, which had already taken him to No. 11 in the FedEx ATP Race To Turin ahead of the tournament, Bublik fell to a straight-sets defeat against Jannik Sinner. It is the second time he has been beaten by the 19-year-old this month, following a three-set loss in Dubai two weeks ago.

After match point, Bublik could not resist asking his opponent one simple question. Are you human? Sinner laughed at his opponent’s inquiry, before telling the unorthodox 23-year-old he was not human himself.

“You are not a human, man,” Bublik repeated. “You are 15 years old and you play like this. Good job.”

Alexander Bublik and Jannik Sinner have met twice on the ATP Tour this month.

Alexander Bublik (left) makes Jannik Sinner laugh with his unexpected question after match point.

Sinner may not be 15 years old but, at 19, he is just the eighth teenager to reach the semi-finals in the tournament’s 36-year history. Five of those men, Andre Agassi (1990), Lleyton Hewitt (2000), Rafael Nadal (2005), Novak Djokovic (2007) and Andy Murray (2007) have gone on to top the FedEx ATP Rankings.

In his post-match press conference, Bublik piled praise on his opponent and gave some insight into the pair’s humerous net exchange.

“He’s not [human]. That’s a fact,” said Bublik. “I asked him if he’s a human or not, because for me, it’s very surprising that the guy at his age has this mental toughness that many, many other players don’t have. I called him a robot a couple of times during the match, but I do it in a very sincere way because he’s a really, really a great player.”

Throughout the match, Bublik placed the 2019 Next Gen ATP Finals champion under consistent pressure. Sinner trailed 3-5 in the first set, 0/3 in the tie-break and 0-3 in the second set, but he maintained his belief and trusted his forehand to turn the match in his favour.

“I played him in a very crucial moment in the tie-break… and [he] pulled off [two] incredible shots when it was 5/4,” said Bublik. “Every time when I had a big point, either I needed to go super crazy like I was doing with the forehand and just [go for a] shot that goes in with a five per cent chance, or he’s playing really unbelievable.

“That’s why I asked him if he’s even a human. He asked me if I’m a human. Of course, I am. I make double faults when I’m break point down because I get a little bit tight.”

Bublik has been impressed by the Italian’s consistent improvement. Two years ago, Sinner was ranked No. 322 in the FedEx ATP Rankings. At that time, he was compiling a 16-match winning streak across ATP Challenger Tour and ITF events in Italy.


Now the second-youngest player in the Top 100, Sinner is a two-time ATP Tour titlist with a Grand Slam quarter-final appearance to his name (2020 Roland Garros).

“He’s just strong. He’s mentally strong, he’s physically strong. He’s a great player,” said Bublik. “As you can see, he’s 19 years old, and he’s making this impact on the Tour. He doesn’t really fall.

“You see some youngsters, they come up and they lose some match 6-2, 6-2. Jannik is built different. I said it to his coach. I’m very happy [with] the way I played, and I’m happy for the guy. It’s cool [to see] some young ones rising. It’s nice.”

Bublik has not only been impressed by Sinner’s game. He has also taken great satisfaction in his own performances, which led him to a maiden Masters 1000 quarter-final this week. Bublik has already won more matches this year (15) than he did throughout the 2020 season (14).

“I’m pretty happy and pretty confident about my game,” said Bublik. “I just try and head to the right direction, do the right stuff and enjoy life.”

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Metkic/Pavic March Into Miami Semi-finals

  • Posted: Apr 01, 2021

Second seeds Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic took one step closer to a Tour-leading fourth title of the year at the Miami Open presented by Itau on Wednesday, after cruising past Miomir Kecmanovic and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi 6-2, 6-2 into the semi-finals. 

The Croatian team sits at No. 2 in the FedEx ATP Doubles Race To Turin after reaching the quarter-finals or better at all seven events they’ve contested in 2021. Along the way, Mektic and Pavic have lifted trophies at the Antalya Open, Murray River Open and the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam. They also posted a semi-final run at the Australian Open, and a runner up finish in Dubai.

They used all of that experience against the unseeded Kecmanovic and Qureshi, who had upset eight seeds Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut in the previous round. Mektic and Pavic did not face a break point, and instead converted four of the 12 opportunities they created to seal the victory in 55 minutes.

Mektic and Pavic will face Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury in the semi-finals. The seventh seeds took down young Americans Sebastian Korda and Michael Mmoh 7-5, 6-2 on Court 1.

Ram and Salisbury found themselves having to come back from 0-3 and save a set point after Korda and Mmoh made a fast start to the first set. But they settled into the contest, and reeled off five games in a row in the second to take back control after an hour and 19 minutes.

The defeat ends the American team’s dream run, and hands 20-year-old Korda the first defeat of his memorable Miami debut. He is still alive in singles, where he will contest his first ATP Masters 1000 quarter-final against Andrey Rublev on Thursday.

Daniel Evans and Neal Skupski secured the last spot into the semi-finals with a gutsy 6-7(6), 6-3, 11-9 victory over Marcelo Arevalo and Horia Tecau. With the Miami crowd firmly rallying behind the Salvadoran-Romanian team – who held one match point in the Match Tie-break – the Brits found a way through to win in an hour and 55 minutes.

Evans and Skupski will face fourth seeds Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek for a shot at the championship match. Dodig and Polasek, who started the season lifting the Australian Open trophy, edged past Oliver Marach and Luke Saville 7-6(4), 6-4 on Monday to advance.

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