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Guillermo Coria On Alcaraz’s Drop Shot: 'I’m In Awe Of The Way He Does It'

  • Posted: Mar 24, 2023

Guillermo Coria On Alcaraz’s Drop Shot: ‘I’m In Awe Of The Way He Does It’

Argentine analyses Alcaraz’s drop shot

Editor’s note: This story was translated from

Although Guillermo Coria left behind an incredible legacy that includes nine tour-level titles and a spell at No. 3 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings in 2004, many remember him for one of his signature moves: the drop shot. Who better to ask, then, about one of its biggest proponents in today’s game, Carlos Alcaraz?

During his visit to the Miami Open presented by Itau, a tournament where he reached the final in 2004, ‘The Magician’ analysed one of the key shots in the armoury of the current World No. 1.

“Alcaraz’s drop shot is amazing,” Coria told “He’s a very intelligent player, who reads the game very well. He plays drop shots right when they should be played. He always sets up well and, best of all, he disguises it so well.

“That makes it even more complete. I’m in awe of how he plays drop shots. I love and celebrate the fact that there’s a player with so much potential who has such a good drop shot,” he adds with a hint of nostalgia in his voice. His favourite shot is now a rarity on the ATP Tour, but seeing the World No. 1 use it so frequently brings a smile to his face.

Most amazing of all is that Alcaraz can pull it off on every surface. Even on fast courts, where the ball bounces the most, increasing an opponent’s chances of reaching it. Also, Alcaraz is brave enough to utilize this weapon under the utmost pressure, when the nerves are jangling.

For Guillermo, the elder brother of Federico —who is playing this week in Miami— Alcaraz is one of the three players with the best drop shots in today’s game.

“I would put him right up there. Andy Murray also has a very good one, as does Djokovic,” Coria said. “They both use it as a tool to surprise the opponent. Those two and Alcaraz are the players I enjoy most when they play drop shots.”

Coria’s opinion was relayed to the man himself during Alcaraz’s first press conference in Miami. He replied: “It really is a great compliment for him to say that I’m one of the best at that. It’s incredible to hear that from Guillermo. It’s true that it’s a weapon I try to use quite a lot. I have very powerful shots, and combining them with the drop shot makes for a very good combination. I’ve had it since I was little, it’s something that comes from within.”

The statistics back him up. The drop shot played a fundamental part in Alcaraz’s title campaign at the 2022 ATP Masters 1000 in Miami. In the tournament, the Spaniard played 50 drop shots in six matches, and he won the point with 70 per cent of them. In fact, he won 16 of those points consecutively in his second-round clash (d. Cilic) and in the quarters (d. Kecmanovic).

Coria, who retired in 2009 and currently captains the Argentine Davis Cup team, explains why Alcaraz has such a high success rate when he decides to play a drop shot.

“When his opponent is on the defence, you can’t tell if Alcaraz is going to hit the ball on one side or the other, or if he’s going to play a drop shot,” the 41-year-old Argentine said. “In general, they are expecting the ball to come back hard. That’s why it’s a surprise.

“Also, he hits it very well on both sides, with his backhand and forehand. And he has a very good drop shot with both. My drop shots, for example, were on my forehand. I very rarely played it on my backhand.”

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Again, his observations are backed up by the statistics; last year in Miami, the Spaniard played 30 drop shots with his forehand (winning 22) and 20 with his backhand (winning 13).

There is another important factor in Alcaraz’s success with this shot. He plays so deep and with such power that he gradually pushes his opponent back in the middle of the point. This creates the perfect space required to play drop shots. Argentinian Sebastian Baez can attest to that after two losses against the world No. 1.

“With all the power he has, he pushes you back, and when he hits the drop shot, whether it’s good or not, you’re really far back,” Baez said. “He uses that to gain time and sometimes it’s not even worth running. It’s a great resource among the other thousands he has.”

He made a statement with it last year, and this fortnight in Miami he will be bidding to demonstrate that he has become even more adept with this weapon over the last 12 months.

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Coaches Corner: Stine's 'Backwards Progression' To Propel Paul Forward

  • Posted: Mar 24, 2023

Coaches Corner: Stine’s ‘Backwards Progression’ To Propel Paul Forward

Former coach of Courier, Anderson and more discusses Paul’s progress

Tommy Paul has been one of the breakthrough stars of 2023. The American has clawed to the Australian Open semi-finals and the championship match in Acapulco, putting himself in sixth place in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin ahead of the Miami Open presented by Itau.

Brad Stine, who has coached Paul since 2020, spoke to about his charge’s progress, how they reshaped his game, what it will take to continue his ascent and more.

Last year you said one of the big things you were working on with Tommy was trying to get him to move forward a little bit more. How happy are you with his progress?
I think after Tommy’s first match here, he was interviewed on court and he was asked what he and I might be working on right now and he said, ‘Well, I’ll just tell you that I never come to the net enough for Brad. No matter how much I come in, he would always prefer if I would come in more.’ I jokingly say every single match Tommy plays he could have come in more than what he probably came in. So I think it continues to be a work in progress.

That being said, I think Tommy’s identity as a player has developed into what I would describe, I think a lot of guys on Tour would describe, as an aggressive all-court player. I don’t know that I would describe him as or that he would be described as an attacking player. But he’s an all-court player that can mix in serving and volleying, that can attack off the ground and come forward and finish at the net. He does that enough to keep his opponents off balance and not comfortable.

If they’re giving up any kind of short balls or anything that he can attack, then he’s going to put pressure on them coming forward. He can keep them off balance on his serve. Even against some of the best returners, he can keep them off balance with some serving and volleying. All that stuff I think has definitely improved and become kind of a staple of his game. He’s not Maxime Cressy. I wouldn’t expect him to be Maxime Cressy. But he’s coming forward a fair amount for sure.

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How much time did it take when you started with him for him to start buying into that idea?
Since I started with Tommy, there have been different phases and progressions that we’ve gone through and we didn’t really get to a major focus on that until probably midway through our second year together and then we started focusing a little bit more on the volley. I always think that trying to get someone to become more of an attacking-style player is a backwards progression.

You have to help them with the volley and get them to be a good volleyer. Hopefully, potentially, a great volleyer before you can ask them to start transitioning, attacking and coming forward. If you do it the other way around and they come in and they don’t have very much success because they’re not as comfortable with the volley itself and they’re losing a lot of points, then they’re probably not going to want to continue to come forward.

We spent quite a bit of time just focused on him working on volleys. That alone, him getting more comfortable with the volley, the feel of the volley, where he’s supposed to be in the court. Those kind of things translated to him coming in more. Then we started talking more about transitioning, options and plays that he can make to come forward and try to get in. It took a while I would say to get to the point. I wouldn’t say that either of us is necessarily completely satisfied with where he’s at. He can still do a better job with some of his transition plays. He can still do a better job sometimes with the volleys and or his positioning and stuff like that. There’s always room for improvement.

When Tommy’s been having the results he’s been having lately, how much does that help you with his buy-in?
It’s obviously in his mind! We at least know that he’s aware of it or maybe he’s at least listening to something I’m saying. At the level that these guys are competing at and playing against the best players in the world, you go through periods where it can be very difficult to create opportunities to come forward, especially from the backcourt.

Off of groundstrokes guys hit the ball so big nowadays and with so much depth and penetration and weight on the ball with the racquet materials and the strings and everything, that sometimes it’s hard to get a ball to attack, so that becomes very difficult. That being said, you can always serve and volley and you can always attack second serves. So that’s become a staple of Tommy’s game and I think everyone is aware of that. The crush and rush.

In the olden days we used to talk about chip and charge, but guys with very good two-handed returns off both sides, you can take the ball very early and take the ball up the line on the deuce side or go cross or up the line off the ad side and come in behind those balls. Tommy’s been very, very, very good and very successful on that with a lot of guys, especially on faster hard courts, grass or indoors. Those plays are really effective plays.

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With the coaching trial, do you like having the ability now to have mini conversations with him during matches?
I like it. I personally like it. I think there are interesting dynamics to it. I think that there’s been a lot less coaching than I think people would have expected. Overall, I think that for us personally, just for us individually, Tommy and I, it took us a little bit of time, at least two or three matches when we first started doing it, to get it into a comfortable rhythm.

Tommy the first couple times when he had it available to him, because I was openly able to communicate with him, he was using the box a little bit more in a way to kind of vent his frustrations, which he didn’t normally do. But it was like, ‘Oh, that’s open now? I can go there?’ We actually had to have a conversation like, ‘That’s not the purpose of it.’ You still need to maintain your calm and concentration on the court.

One of the things we talked about is Tommy needs to maintain more of his eye focus within the lines of the court like he normally would when you weren’t allowed to coach. He can maintain that and still hear me. As long as he’s hearing my voice and hearing what I’m saying to him, that’s fine.

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Tommy’s made deep runs lately and his Pepperstone ATP Ranking is getting up there. What will it take to make the next step to a Grand Slam final, the Top 10, or whatever that might be? Is it incremental improvements on what you’ve been working on or something different?
It’s always small steps. I think since we’ve started, Tommy’s made very consistent progress. Obviously people see Australia where he made a semi. They think that’s kind of like oh Tommy Paul had a major breakthrough and all this stuff, but for me it wasn’t really a major breakthrough.

Last year I think he made eight or nine quarter-finals, fourth round at Wimbledon, he made quarters for the first time at a Masters 1000. The year before that he won his first title. He hasn’t won a title again — to me that’s a little bit disappointing. I think that’s another big incremental step for him, whether it’s a 250 or 500, I’d like to see him go deep in one of these [Masters 1000 events]. To realistically have a chance to keep going deep consistently at the Slams, maybe have a chance to make a final or something like that, you need to be in the position that he was in Australia, playing someone like Novak in the semis.

Getting through the matches like beating Taylor in the semis in Acapulco is a perfect training ground for him to prepare for those kinds of matches at the Grand Slam level. You need to put yourself in that position more and more and more and more often so that you’re playing those guys. That’s one of the goals. In order to do that, you’ve got to go deep consistently.

Last year he was doing that, he played a lot of top guys because he was making at least quarter-finals. Hopefully he can take another step or two farther this year, which we have already. Last year it was like a running joke with us at a point after you’ve gotten to like three quarters, four quarters, five quarters, you’re like okay quarters is our deal, we’re not making it farther than quarters.

I actually said to him after he made the quarters, I think he beat Rafa in Paris to make the quarters. I don’t even remember who he played in the quarters, I remember he beat Rafa in the Round of 16. I came into the warmup area afterwards and I was like, ‘Dude, should I just book our flights for tomorrow? Because you know we’re not going past the quarter-finals.’ He was laughing, but then he loses in the quarter-finals and we’re like ‘Geez’. We were joking, ‘This is going to be the year of the semi-finals’ and then he made the semis in Australia and then in Acapulco I actually said to him, ‘You know what, let’s make it semis or better, not just semis.’

But it’s been a good start to the year, that’s for sure. We’ll see where it goes.

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Cerundolo & Etcheverry Score Slam Dunk Meeting With Manu Ginobli

  • Posted: Mar 24, 2023

Cerundolo & Etcheverry Score Slam Dunk Meeting With Manu Ginobli

NBA legend visited season’s second ATP Masters 1000 event Thursday

It was a slam dunk of a day for Argentine tennis Thursday at the Miami Open presented by Itau. National icon Manu Ginobli, a Basketball Hall of Fame NBA player for the San Antonio Spurs, spent time with some of his country’s stars.

Ginobli met 2022 semi-finalist Francisco Cerundolo and Tomas Martin Etcheverry, who earned a first-round win against Pavel Kotov.

“[It was] fantastic to get to know Manu. He’s an amazing player. He’s one of the best athletes in Argentine sports, so he’s an idol for me,” Cerundolo told “He’s a great basketball player. I know he is a tennis fan. He likes tennis, so it’s a pleasure to meet him and get to know him. I remember watching him in the Olympic games, playing for the Spurs, so there are a lot of memories that come to my mind.”

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Ginobli was more than a basketball star for his country. He transcended sport as an icon, not just a four-time NBA champion. Cerundolo was thrilled to meet him in person for the first time.

“It’s fantastic because for [someone from] Argentina to get to the NBA and be one of the best players in many years of the NBA and win championships, it’s super tough, so he’s an inspiration for me and for all other athletes in any other sport,” Cerundolo said. “Most of the people look up to him because he’s also a really nice guy. He’s always happy. We can always talk to him. He’s an example for everyone.”

It created for a special atmosphere in Miami when Ginobli became a fan in the stands for Etcheverry during his straight-sets victory. Having a legendary athlete made the World No. 73’s first ATP Masters 1000 match win even more memorable.

“Here in Miami it’s incredible because there are lots of Argentines, and to have someone like Manu there and Pico Monaco, a lot of people that had a great career in their lives from Argentina, it was incredible,” Etcheverry said. “It was incredible to have him in my team there supporting me. I was really motivated. It’s a dream come true to have this legend in my team in the [stands].”

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No More Nightmares In Miami For Struff: 'I Don't Want To Stop Here'

  • Posted: Mar 24, 2023

No More Nightmares In Miami For Struff: ‘I Don’t Want To Stop Here’

German off to a quick start in 2023

Some players would have had a nightmare in Jan-Lennard Struff’s shoes Wednesday. The German walked onto Court Butch Buchholz for his first-round match against Fabio Fognini. One year ago at the same venue, he was dealt one of the most difficult blows of his career.

The German fractured his foot during his first-round match against Pedro Martinez. In the middle of the second set, realising he was unable to properly move, Struff retired. Did returning to the site of the injury bother him?

“No, it’s nice to play here for sure. It’s a beautiful city, beautiful tournament,” Struff told “Not really weird, no. I didn’t think about it the whole match. Before I thought, ‘Okay it’s the same court’, but during the match I didn’t focus on that.”

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Struff missed two-and-a-half months after his injury last year, and he fell as low as No. 168 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. He was No. 167 as recently as January.

“It’s not easy. You’re used to playing big events, Masters [1000 events] and stuff. Starting in the qualies in Grand Slams again is something you need to adjust to, definitely,” Struff said. “The quality of the tennis and the level of the players I think increased the past couple of years so much and if you think you’ll be up there pretty fast again, it’s the wrong thought.

“It takes a while and there are a lot of good players. They try to beat you, they know your ranking was pretty high, it was in the Top 50, so they wanted to beat you. I remember when I played [top] guys, I wanted to beat them. It’s not easy and I’m very happy with the past couple of weeks, for sure.”

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After struggling to an 8-13 tour-level record in 2022, Struff is off to a quick start to 2023. He is 22-7 at all levels and with his three-set victory against Fognini returned to the Top 100 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings.

“It’s nice to win. It was a tough match. Fabio was 3-1 up in the head to head, so it was very important for me to win this one today,” Struff said. “The season is going well so far, I’m playing good tennis and I want to continue.”

A former World No. 29 who has earned 10 wins against Top 10 opponents, Struff was once one of the most dangerous players on the ATP Tour. At his best, the 6’4” 32-year-old is capable of putting pressure on almost any player thanks to his powerful game.

Although his good start to the year has been satisfying, Struff is hungry for more. He will play 2017 Nitto ATP Finals champion Grigor Dimitrov in the second round.

“I want to go higher again for sure, I don’t want to stop here,” Struff said. “That would be strange to stop now. But I just want to play good tennis, enjoy and I want to climb again, that’s for sure. I don’t know how high I can go, but I’ll try to give my best, work hard and we’ll see.”

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Sonego Sinks Thiem; Kokkinakis Back From The Brink

  • Posted: Mar 24, 2023

Sonego Sinks Thiem; Kokkinakis Back From The Brink

Austrian slides to 1-8 on the season

Italian Lorenzo Sonego snapped a six-match losing streak at ATP Masters 1000 level Thursday night in Miami when he defeated former World No. 3 Dominic Thiem 7-6(7), 6-2.

After a tight first set, the World No. 59 blew open the match by winning the first four games of the second set as his clean hitting from the baseline and a slew of errors from the former US Open champion proved telling.

“I wanted to be aggressive on the return and I was very aggressive overall today. I’ve wanted to play closer to the baseline this year,” Sonego said. “I like to play in Miami because the conditions are really fast.”

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Sonego, who reached the Miami fourth round in 2021, will next meet Briton Daniel Evans.

Thiem, who has not won a match at Masters 1000 level since Rome 2021, littered the stats sheet with 13 winners to 30 unforced errors spread evenly across both wings.

The Austrian has dropped to 1-8 on the season, failing to build on an encouraging return to the tour in 2022 from a serious wrist injury. He went 18-14 last year, but his sole victory this year came against Alex Molcan in the first round of Buenos Aires.

Australian lucky loser Thanasi Kokkinakis saved three match points in a third-set tie-break to hold out Belgian World No. 135 Zizou Bergs after earlier rallying from a set down and 2-4 in the decider.

World No. 94 Kokkinakis, who lost 7-5 in the third to Benoit Paire in the final round of qualifying before getting into the main draw as a lucky loser, advances to play eighth seed and 2021 champion Hubert Hurkacz.

“I’ve been feeling happy on court the past couple of weeks and made a pact with myself to at least compete, no matter how I’m feeling,” said Kokkinakis, who last week defeated Czech Top 50 player Jiri Lehecka in the Phoenix Challenger. “My tennis is fine, it’s just my head. I’m just trying to give myself every chance.

“The crowd got behind me and without them I wouldn’t have pulled through. I’m happy I live to fight another day.”

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Alcaraz Starts Title & World No. 1 Defence; Ruud, Fritz Face Opening Tests In Miami

  • Posted: Mar 24, 2023

Alcaraz Starts Title & World No. 1 Defence; Ruud, Fritz Face Opening Tests In Miami

Seeds in action for first time on Friday at ATP Masters 1000 event

The second round of the 2023 Miami Open presented by Itau begins at Hard Rock Stadium on Friday, where the seeded players in the top half of the draw seek to kick-start their campaigns at the ATP Masters 1000 event.

Top seed Carlos Alcaraz is the defending champion in Miami as he aims to back up his Indian Wells title and complete the coveted ‘Sunshine Double’. The Spaniard plays Facundo Bagnis on Friday, while Casper Ruud, Taylor Fritz, Andrey Rublev and Holger Rune are also in second-round action. previews a jam-packed Day 3 in southern Florida.

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[1] Carlos Alcaraz (ESP) vs. Facundo Bagnis (ARG)

The 19-year-old Alcaraz is playing for a lot more than just the trophy this year in Miami. The Spaniard must defend his crown in Florida to stay ahead of Novak Djokovic and retain the No.1 spot in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, while a title run would also make him the youngest man to complete the ‘Sunshine Double’ of winning Indian Wells and Miami in the same year.

Not that those factors are causing Alcaraz to feel any extra nerves. Knowing he needed to win in Indian Wells to return to World No.1, the Spaniard did not drop a set en route to his third Masters 1000 crown. He will aim to go about his business in a similarly cool fashion at Hard Rock Stadium, where he first takes on Bagnis in Friday’s day session.

“I don’t feel the pressure too much. I know the things I have to do,” said Alcaraz at his pre-tournament press conference. “I need to play relaxed and not mind if I lose or if I play well or not… That is why I am playing at a good level. I am enjoying every single second and playing relaxed. That is what I am thinking about on court.”

The World No. 100 Bagnis could not have been presented with a tougher second-round challenge after defeating Felipe Meligeni Alves to clinch his first main-draw win in Miami at the third attempt. The Argentine will be all too aware of the difficulties of breaking down Alcaraz — he claimed just four games against the Spaniard in the pair’s only previous ATP Head2Head meeting in Umag in 2022.

The variety in Alcaraz’s game could be a key for disrupting Bagnis’ resilient baseline game enough to help him secure a similar result this time around. His trademark drop shot in particular is likely to be frequently deployed as he aims to avoid an early upset in Miami.

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[3] Casper Ruud (NOR) vs. Ilya Ivashka

Ruud reached his maiden ATP Masters 1000 championship match in Miami a year ago, and the Norwegian will seek another deep run at Hard Rock Stadium to kick-start his 2023 season.

The third seed, who holds a 4-5 record for the year, faces a maiden ATP Head2Head meeting with Ilya Ivashka in his first-round match. The World No. 80 Ivashka pushed eventual finalist Daniil Medvedev to three sets in Indian Wells and will believe he can apply similar pressure to Ruud.

The key for Ivashka to gain a foothold in the match will likely be his ability to nullify his opponent’s powerful forehand, which was a crucial weapon in the Norwegian’s 2022 run to the championship match. Any short balls on offer are likely to be punished by Ruud, who is a nine-time ATP Tour titlist.

Although he has so far struggled to back up his stellar 2022, that ability to hit through opponents with his huge groundstrokes makes Ruud particularly suited to the fast courts in Miami. The World No. 4 will hope that his return to Hard Rock Stadium can be the catalyst for another dream Masters 1000 run.


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[9] Taylor Fritz (USA) vs. [WC] Emilio Nava (USA)

A clash of home favourites on Hard Rock Stadium presents the local fans with an intriguing matchup between No. 1 American Fritz and 21-year-old wild card Emilio Nava.

Although Fritz’s Indian Wells title defence was ended in the quarter-finals by Jannik Sinner, the 25-year-old continues to impress in 2023. He is 17-5 for the year, a record which includes helping Team USA to United Cup glory and lifting his fifth ATP Tour title in Delray Beach. Fritz will feel his big serve and aggressive gamestyle will stand him in good stead in Miami as he bids for his second Masters 1000 crown.

Nava has already shown he can go toe-to-toe with a big-serving opponent in Miami, however. The World No. 182 did not face a break point in downing John Isner in his first-round match and he will hope finding that rhythm behind his delivery again can make life difficult for Fritz.

Nava also has recent experience competing on the big stage. He defeated John Millman in five sets at the 2022 US Open for his maiden tour-level win before pushing former World No. 1 Andy Murray to four sets in the second round. Can he raise his game again to spring an upset Friday on Hard Rock Stadium?

Also In Action…

Alcaraz, Ruud and Fritz are joined by Rublev and Rune as Top 10 stars in action on Friday. The 2021 semi-finalist and sixth seed Rublev opens against the World No. 50 J.J. Wolf, while Rune will make his Miami main-draw debut against Marton Fucsovics.

Jannik Sinner’s semi-final run in Indian Wells moved the Italian to 16-4 for the year, and the 10th-seeded 21-year-old looks to improve that record further against Laslo Djere. Sinner has pedigree in south Florida — he reached his only previous Masters 1000 final in Miami in 2021.

Another former finalist, the 13th-seeded Aexander Zverev, plays wild card Taro Daniel in the final match of the night session on Hard Rock Stadium, while the 31st seed Diego Schwartzman takes on the in-form Chinese star Wu Yibing.

Tommy Paul, Maxime Cressy and Brandon Nakashima are the other home favourites looking to channel the energy of the local fans in Miami as they take on Marc-Andrea Huesler, Dusan Lajovic and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, respectively.

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Ram/Salisbury Ease Through In Miami

  • Posted: Mar 24, 2023

Ram/Salisbury Ease Through In Miami

Second seeds chasing fourth ATP Masters 1000 crown in Florida

Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury notched a confidence-boosting first-round win on Thursday at the Miami Open presented by Itau, where the second seeds downed Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini 6-4, 6-3.

The American-British pair clinched a late break of serve at the tailend of both sets to earn a 73-minute triumph as the doubles action began at the ATP Masters 1000 event in southern Florida. Ram and Salisbury also saved all three break points they faced to prevail in what was a tough opening test against six-time tour-level titlists Bolelli and Fognini.

The win was Ram and Salisbury’s first at Tour-level since the Australian Open in January. The 2022 Nitto ATP Finals champions are now 4-0 in first-round matches in Miami, where their best showing is a semi-final run in 2021.

The three-time Masters 1000 titlists will take on Tommy Paul and Ben Shelton or Martin Damm and Shang Juncheng in the second round as they chase their first ATP Tour title of 2023.

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Also on Thursday, Nathaniel Lammons and Jackson Withrow held their nerve in a pair of tie-breaks to down Gonzalo Escobar and Fabien Reboul 7-6(2), 7-6(4). The American duo won 92 per cent (33/36) of points behind their first serve to prevail in a 97-minute first-round clash that was dominated by serve.

It was a fifth consecutive win for Lammons and Withrow after they lifted the trophy at an ATP Challenger Tour event in Phoenix last week. They will now prepare for a second-round clash against fourth seeds Marcelo Arevalo and Jean-Julien Rojer or Jamie Murray and Michael Venus.

There was a successful reunion on the doubles court for Top 50 singles stars Alexander Bublik and Miomir Kecmanovic, who defeated Pedro Cachin and Francisco Cerundolo 6-3, 6-3. Bublik and Kecmanovic last partnered at a Challenger Tour event in Kazakhstan in 2018, and will now meet fifth seeds Lloyd Glasspool and Harri Heliovaara or Maxime Cressy and Andreas Mies in the second round.

Americans Tommy Paul and Ben Shelton rallied from a set down to defeat Martin Damm and Shang Juncheng 6-7(7), 6-3, 10-8.

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Bagnis Calls Alcaraz 'A Combination Between Nadal & Federer'

  • Posted: Mar 23, 2023

Bagnis Calls Alcaraz ‘A Combination Between Nadal & Federer’

Pair will clash in the Miami second round

When Carlos Alcaraz plays Facundo Bagnis in the second round of the Miami Open presented by Itau, it will be a clash of two players who have followed completely different career paths.

Last year, Alcaraz became the youngest World No. 1 in the history of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. On the other hand, Bagnis reached his first ATP Tour final aged 31 two years ago in Santiago.

“Not all the players have the opportunity to be amazingly good like him in the beginning of our career. I don’t have his talent, I don’t have different things that he does. He is the first player of the world,” Bagnis told “I made my career with a lot of work, sacrifice. Every time I managed to give everything of myself for trying to get to a semi-final at 31 years old or any final or results maybe at any Grand Slams. For sure they are so different, our careers.”

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Few have seen the World No. 1’s improvement as closely as Bagnis. The Argentine first played Alcaraz at an ATP Challenger Tour event in Cordenons three years ago. The Spaniard was a 17-year-old not yet in the Top 200.

“I remember that I didn’t play so well… the match was tight, but in the moment that I finished I said I had the opportunity to beat him,” Bagnis said. “One year after, I said okay this time was a little bit farther, that level. In the moment that we arranged practice at different tournaments, every tournament you can feel how he improved step by step.

“I remember in Cordenons that I said his serve was not so good. Right now I cannot say the same thing. He has so much talent. His speed and he plays amazing shots in all the court. Maybe Daniil, when I played against him at Roland Garros, his game is maybe a little bit more defensive or even Andy [Murray is too]. I think Carlos is a combination between Nadal and Federer, maybe.”

<a href=''>Facundo Bagnis</a>
Photo Credit: Peter Staples/ATP Tour
The pair played in the final of an ATP Challenger Tour event in 2021 before competing in their first tour-level match against one another in Umag last year. Alcaraz has won on all three occasions. But according to Bagnis, the teen is not nearly the same player today.

“I remember that his body was totally different in that time. In Cordenons he was a little bit more skinny or maybe did not have so much power. The speed was a little bit different,” Bagnis said. “Now I see him so strong, so quick. His potential is so high. He surprised me the last time that I saw him, I think it was in the beginning of last year. One of the big changes was in his body.”

It has not all been about physical development, though.

“I think the key for him is the way that he competes on the court. His attitude, it’s amazing. Every time he’s celebrating with his bench. Every time he shows the best possible attitude. For me that is one of the best, toughest things in tennis,” Bagnis said. “That he can do it at only 19 years is amazing. Another part is his tennis is magic, it’s amazing. But his attitude and mentality is so strong, also.

“I think Carlos is most similar to a killer. You cannot breathe. He’s attacking you all the time. He has so many shots and tricks.”

Bagnis knows it will be difficult to secure his first Top 10 win against Alcaraz, who is the defending champion and fresh off a triumph at Indian Wells. But the lefty will give it his best shot.

“We will see the best of him because he’s the No. 1 and he won the last tournament. He came in with amazing confidence and also he won this tournament last year,” Bagnis said.

“I think the most important [thing] is to try to not be the sparring [partner] of the guy who is celebrated because you are playing against Alcaraz. I think I must focus and give my 100 per cent, try to put him in discomfort for sure and try to give the best of me, even playing with the best player in the world.”

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Alcaraz, Tiafoe Heat Up With NBA Crossover Before Miami Open

  • Posted: Mar 23, 2023

Alcaraz, Tiafoe Heat Up With NBA Crossover Before Miami Open

Kecmanovic, Musetti, Rune and Zverev also attend Heat game

The Miami Open presented by Itau and the stars of the ATP Tour are heating up in more ways than one.

The on-court action is firing, and some of the players have enjoyed interacting with the NBA world. Carlos Alcaraz, Alexander Zverev, Holger Rune, Lorenzo Musetti and Miomir Kecmanovic were among the players who attended Wednesday evening’s Miami Heat game against the New York Knicks.

“Great night last night watching @MiamiHEAT in Miami! 🏀🌴” Alcaraz tweeted. “It was a pleasure to meet @DwyaneWade, and great to see you again @JimmyButler!”

Kecmanovic, Musetti and Rune posed for a group photo on court during player warmups before beginning the season’s second ATP Masters 1000 event.

<a href=''>Miomir Kecmanovic</a>, <a href=''>Lorenzo Musetti</a> and <a href=''>Holger Rune</a> attend Wednesday's Miami Heat game against the New York Knicks.
Photo Credit: Isaac Baldezon – NBA Photos
Kecmanovic even met fellow Serbian Nikola Jovic, a player for the Miami Heat.

<a href=''>Miomir Kecmanovic</a> meets fellow Serbian Nikola Jovic of the Miami Heat.
Photo Credit: Isaac Baldezon – NBA Photos
Heat star Duncan Robinson brought the heat to the Miami Open presented by Itau, where he met avid basketball fan Frances Tiafoe, who played in this year’s NBA All-Star Celebrity Game.

“It’s a great experience. This is a really cool venue that they’ve put together here,” Robinson told “I definitely follow tennis, I play a little bit of tennis. I’m not very good at it. But really have become a fan over the past couple years.

“Really enjoyed watching Break Point, the Netflix documentary, and getting a little behind the scenes into what these guys are doing day to day. There’s a funny crossover between tennis and the NBA, there’s something there for sure.”

Miami Heat star Duncan Robinson enjoys a conversation with <a href=''>Frances Tiafoe</a> on Thursday inside Hard Rock Stadium.
Photo Credit: Andrew Eichenholz/ATP Tour

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