Men’s Final Four is set, while the World No. 10 waits for Cirstea or Kvitova
by Daniel Perisse
Miami Gardens, FL (March 30, 2023) – World No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz, Daniil Medvedev, and Karen Khachanov prevailed in their matches this Thursday and will join Jannik Sinner in the men’s singles semifinal at the 2023 Miami Open presented by Itaú, while Elena Rybakina halted Jessica Pegula and is the first Women’s singles finalist.
The first player to book his spot in the semifinals was Daniil Medvedev. In 1 hour and 30 minutes, he ended Atlanta native Christopher Eubanks’ dream run at the Miami Open with a 6-3, 7-5 victory. The World No. 5 was behind 3-2 when the rain came and delayed the match by 30 minutes.
After the break, Medvedev played better tennis and broke Eubanks’ serve in the seventh and ninth games, opening a 1-0 lead.
The World No. 5 broke Eubanks again on the sixth game of the second set and had a 4-2 lead, but the American also broke and the score was back at 4-4. However, Medvedev kept himself focused to close the set and the match 7-5, reaching 22 wins in the last 23 matches.
“Yeah, was a tough match. I feel like he followed his plan; I followed mine. He tried to make short points. Didn’t give my rhythm, yeah, make the points short as possible. I tried to make rallies longer and longer. I feel like during the match I was playing better and better, and if not, one bad game on my serve. Could have done it easier in the second set, but yeah, generally tough match,” commented Medvedev during his press conference.
The World No. 5 is now 27-3 this season, and reaches the Miami Open semifinal for the first time in his career – in 2021 and 2022, he was ousted in the quarterfinals.
For Eubanks, who will rise to World No. 85 next Monday, this tournament has made him “encouraged” to go on competing.
“I think now the belief for me is stronger because I have seen it, I know that I can do it, and I think that’s probably the biggest difference is now when I’m going into matches I think from here on out, I’ll have an expectation of a higher level, a higher expectation of myself and what I want to see from myself and maybe just even higher confidence,” explained the American.
While Medvedev faced Eubanks for the first time in the tour, that will not be the case in the semifinals: his opponent will be his countryman Karen Khachanov, someone he knows since playing junior tournaments.
“I remember that just before the under-14 age group, he was actually not one of the best in Russia. I was not the best one also. Maybe a little bit higher ranked than him. Then he went up really fast. He got a few wildcards, beat a few top guys when he was like 15 I think, or something like this, or 16,” affirmed Medvedev.
Khachanov cruised past Argentina’s Francisco Cerundolo 6-3, 6-2 on Grandstand and advanced to a Masters 1000 semifinal for the first time since 2019. The World No. 16 reached back-to-back Grand Slam semifinals in the US Open and the Australian Open, showing solid tennis.
“The key (to win the match), obviously to serve good, you know, to take the lead, to start dictating with my forehand from the middle. Basically, to try to play my A game, you know, and this is what I have been doing on faster hard courts, in Australia, US Open, and in general on the outdoor hard courts.”
Opening the night session, Carlos Alcaraz cruised past Taylor Fritz, the No. 1 American player, 6-4, 6-2, and is now within two wins from completing the Sunshine Double this season, as he is the Indian Wells Winner. The Spaniard needed only 1 hour and 16 minutes to overwhelm the World No. 10.
Alcaraz began breaking Fritz’s serve in the first game, and the Rancho Santa Fe native tried to get back but was not able to. In the second set, the World No. 1 had an early break and was more focused on finishing soon, which led him to also break the Californian’s serve in the seventh game. He then held serve and clinched the victory.
“It probably has been my best match of the tournament so far, but I feel like I’m playing every match in a good level, very comfortable. I took my chances, took every opportunity that I had and I’m really happy with the win,” said the World No. 1, who had never faced Taylor on the tour until today.
The Spaniard’s next opponent is Jannik Sinner, in a rematch of the Indian Wells semifinal – in California, Alcaraz won 7-6 (4), 6-3, which gave him a 3-2 lead in the head-to-head against the Italian.
“Well, I try to improve my level in every match, so for example, the level of today was really high, but Sinner is a great opponent right now, so I have to play at this level or even better, you know, to get through the semifinal,” commented Alcaraz.
Also on Stadium, Petra Kvitova secured the last semifinal spot up for grabs after halting Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-4, 3-6, 6-3. This is the 33-year-old’s 20th WTA 1000 semifinal and the first in Miami – before that, she had reached the quarterfinals four times, including this year.
“Well, I have to say it was a tough one for sure, especially mentally. Ekaterina played amazing. I would say she was really striking the ball very clearly, and it was really difficult to face some serves of her. I’m glad that my serve helped me in important moments, especially in the third set,” explained Kvitova.
The two-time Wimbledon champion now plays against Sorana Cirstea for a place in the final.
The 32-year-old Romanian booked a spot in the women’s singles semifinal after upsetting yesterday Aryna Sabalenka, the No. 2 seed, 6-4, 6-4.
This is the first time in ten years that the 32-year-old Romanian reaches at least the semifinal of a WTA 1000 – the last was in 2013 when she lost the Toronto final to Serena Williams.
“I think to be playing somebody who is in as good form as me, so it will be a great matchup, for sure. I have never been in the semifinal here, so it’s nice, especially when I played in the quarterfinals in Indian Wells. So, I’m happy that the momentum is there,” exclaimed Kvitova.
Closing the Stadium slate, Elena Rybakina kept alive her hopes of clinching the Sunshine Double this season after overwhelming Jessica Pegula, America’s No. 1 player and World No. 3, 7-6 (3), 6-4, in 1 hour and 51 minutes.
The current Wimbledon and Indian Wells champion had lost her two previous matches against Pegula. The Kazakh took a while to get her rhythm today – there was even a 30-minute rain delay – and only did so in the first set tie-break, when she was decisive to clinch a 1-0 lead. Pegula, on her turn, had two chances to serve for the set, including a 5-3 lead, but was not able to hold serve.
During the second set, Pegula had a 4-1 advantage but let the Kazakh come back again, winning five games in a row. Near the end of the set, the Buffalo, N.Y. native had her service broken in the ninth game. After that, Rybakina held serve and won the second set, claiming her 13th straight win.
“I’m really happy. Honestly, I didn’t expect it. When I came here it was still very tough, especially the first matches, so I didn’t think I would be in the final. I’m very proud,” said the World No. 10 during the on-court interview.
Rybakina has a 2-0 record against Cirstea, while she splits victories in two matches facing Kvitova. The women’s singles final is scheduled for Saturday, April 1.
On Grandstand, Mexico’s Santiago Gonzalez and Edouard Roger-Vasselin, from France, defeated Americans Nathaniel Lammons and Jackson Withrow 6-4, 5-7, 12-10 and advances to the men’s doubles final.
Gonzalez and Roger-Vasselin came from defeating in the quarterfinals the World No. 1 team of Netherlands’ Wesley Koolhof and British Neal Skupski, a payback to their defeat against the same rival in the Indian Wells semifinal.
Their challengers will be American Austin Krajicek and Frenchman Nicolas Mahut, who defeated German Kevin Krawietz and Fabrice Martin, also from France, 5-7, 7-5, 10-8.
Krajicek is pairing with Mahut for the first time this week because the American’s usual partner, Croatia’s Ivan Dodig, is injured.
The men’s doubles final will be played on Saturday, the same day the women’s singles come to an end.
You can follow all the results and the men’s and women’s singles and doubles draws here.
Download the order of play for tomorrow and get your tickets here.