Men’s Final 4 Seek First Masters Title in Miami


image: Mens Semifinalists 2021 Miami Open

By Daniel Perissé

The Miami Open presented by Itaú Men’s Singles draw semifinals will take place this Friday, April 2nd, at Hard Rock Stadium, with all four players aiming for their first Masters-level title in the Magic City.

Roberto Bautista Agut and Jannik Sinner feature in the first match on Grandstand, at 1 p.m. At 32 years old, the Spaniard is the oldest among the semifinalists and faces the youngest – the Italian is only 19 years old.

This will be Bautista Agut’s fourth Masters 1000 semifinal, while Sinner reaches this stage for the first time in his career.

The Spaniard comes from a recent loss to the Italian two weeks ago in Dubai, 6-4, 3-6, 7-5.

“Sinner is a great player, among the best in the world. He beat me two weeks ago in a hard match in Dubai. I’m feeling good, in good form, and now it’s getting some rest and ready for this next match.”

Not before 7 p.m., youngsters Andrey Rublev and Hubert Hurkacz square off in the second semifinal. The Russian is the only top ten player left, while the Polish comes from a great comeback victory against World No. 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas.

The 24-year-old Polish leads the head-to-head series 1-0, beating the 23-year-old Russian 7-6(3), 3-6, 6-2 in the 2020 Rome Masters.

The second player from Russia to reach a Miami Open semifinal, Rublev believes all four semifinalists have the same chance of winning the Miami Open.

“I’m the one left at top 10 and it looks like I have a higher ranking and feel more pressure. But I lost to Hurkacz. Last time I lost to Roberto 6-3, 6-3 just two weeks ago. Jannik is already beating many players… in the end, anyone can win now. All of them are playing such good tennis,” he affirmed.

Friday’s schedule will also feature the Women’s Doubles semifinals. After the first Men’s Singles match, Rochester, Mn., native Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Polish Iga Swiatek take on the Japanese duo of Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara.

The 36-year-old wants to claim her second crown in Miami, after winning in 2016 with Czech Lucie Safarova. So far this year, her best result was the semifinal in Dubai, with Buffalo, Ny. Native Jessica Pegula as a partner.

This is Swiatek’s first WTA-level doubles tournament in 2021. The 2020 French Open champion won a title this year, in singles, in Adelaide.

The strong doubles team of Aoyama and Shibahara won back-to-back titles in Abu Dhabi and at the Yarra Valley Classic this season and reached the Australian Open quarterfinals. This is the first tournament in which they advance from their first match since the Grand Slam run.

The other finalist comes from the match between Chattanooga, Tn., native Hayley Carter and Brazilian Luisa Stefani against Canada’s Gabriela Dabrowski and Mexican Giuliana Olmos. Their clash will close the slate on Grandstand.

Carter and Stefani started playing together last year and are already ranked among the top 40 in the WTA doubles rankings. They won two titles in 2020 and reached the Abu Dhabi and Adelaide finals this season.

World No. 10 in doubles, Dabrowski has as her best result this season the quarterfinals in Doha, playing alongside Russia’s Anna Blinkova. Olmos had no victories in WTA doubles play before arriving in Miami.