By Daniel Perissé
The last 16 candidates for a place in the Men’s Singles quarterfinals at the 2021 Miami Open presented by Itaú are part of tomorrow’s “Super Tuesday”, when all the fourth-round matches will take place at Hard Rock Stadium.
In the opening match on Grandstand, John Isner faces Roberto Bautista Agut. The Greensboro, NC, native won the Miami title in 2018 and beat the Spaniard on his way to the final in 2019, when he lost to Roger Federer. The American also leads the head-to-head series 3-1 – all encounters were played on hard courts.
The winner challenges Daniil Medvedev, the No. 1 seed, or Hyattsville, MD, native Frances Tiafoe, who play in the third match on Grandstand. The Russian fought cramps and an inspired Alexei Popyrin to move into the fourth round, while the American had his third straight comeback victory in the tournament, this time against Serbian Dusan Lajovic.
“Frances is a great player, especially playing good here in Miami from what I saw, amazing comebacks. So, I feel like it’s going to be a huge matchup”, said Medvedev, who has a 3-0 lead in the head-to-head series – last victory was at the 2020 US Open, 6-4, 6-1, 6-0.
The schedule on Court 1 opens with a match featuring two young players: Finland’s Emil Ruusuvuori takes on Italy’s Jannik Sinner. While the Finnish defeated World No. 7 Alexander Zverev in the second round here in Miami, the Italian sensation already won two ATP-level titles at age 19 and reached a career-high No. 31.
Whoever advances will play Taylor Fritz or Alexander Bublik, who feature in the second match on Court 1. The Rancho Santa Fe, CA, native lost the two previous encounters against the player from Kazakhstan, who is playing his best career ATP Masters 1000 result.
In the bottom part of the draw, second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas plays against Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego not before 7 p.m. on Court 1. The World No. 5 has reached his career-high ranking and comes from a convincing victory against former No. 4 Kei Nishikori in three sets. Sonego plays his first fourth round match in Miami in two appearances.
In the third match of the day on Court 1, Canada’s Milos Raonic squares off with Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz trying to advance into the quarterfinals in Miami for the second time – he did it in 2018. The Polish won the Delray Beach Open title this season. This will be their first meeting, and the winner books a quarterfinal clash against Tsitsipas or Sonego.
Bradenton’s Sebastian Korda takes on Diego Schwartzman, from Argentina, in the fourth match of the day on Court 1. The 20-year-old took out two seeded players – No. 10 Fabio Fognini and No. 17 Aslan Karatsev in his first Masters 1000. He hopes to keep his momentum going against the 2021 Buenos Aires title winner.
“He’s an incredible player. He’s having a really good year so far. It’s going to be another cool and fun experience for me,” said Korda, who reached his first ATP-level final this year in Delray Beach.
Their quarterfinal opponent comes from the match between Andrey Rublev and Marin Cilic. The Russian beat Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics 6-2, 6-1 and reached 18 wins this season, while the former World No.3 will be playing in the Miami Open’s fourth round for the fourth time.
Rublev leads the all-time head-to-head series, 2-1. They played at the 2019 Miami Open, in the second round, and the Russian won 6-4, 6-4. “I have to show my game. I have to be the one who is going to be dictating. We’ll see what’s going to happen,” he exclaimed.
Two Women’s Singles quarterfinal matches are also scheduled for this Tuesday. Not before 1 p.m. on Grandstand, World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty takes on Belarus’ Aryna Sabalenka. The Australian comes from a three-setter against Victoria Azarenka and feels more and more adapted to the conditions in Miami