Men fight to join Sinner in Final Four; Pegula faces Rybakina for a spot in the final
by Daniel Perisse
Miami Gardens, FL (March 30, 2023) – Three semifinal spots are at stake this Thursday at the Miami Open presented by Itaú as the remaining men’s singles quarterfinals will be played after yesterday’s rain issues, while America’s No. 1 Jessica Pegula takes on 2022 Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina for a maiden appearance in the final at Hard Rock Stadium.
Daniil Medvedev takes on tournament sensation Christopher Eubanks at 1 p.m., opening the Stadium slate. Both players are more than a hundred spots apart in the rankings, but the Atlanta native has taken down No. 17 Borna Coric and Frenchmen Gregoire Barrere and Adrian Mannarino on his way to his first Masters 1000 quarterfinal appearance.
“This week has already been a dream come true. Let’s go out here and play as well as I can play, and I’m more than happy to live with the results as long as I can go out and try to execute as well as I can and have no regrets about how I played,” exclaimed the World No. 119, who will reach the top 100 next week.
On his turn, Medvedev comes from winning 21 of his past 22 matches this season, in which he already won three titles in Rotterdam, Doha, and Dubai. He also reached the final in Indian Wells. The clash with Eubanks will be the first between them in ATP-Tour matches.
The other bottom-half semifinal spot will be decided between Karen Khachanov and Argentinas Francisco Cerundolo. The Argentinian has a 9-1 record at the Miami Open and reached the semifinal last year, while Khachanov reached back-to-back semifinals at the 2022 US Open and this year’s Australian Open. Their match is scheduled to happen not before 3 p.m. on Grandstand.
Both players have met only once, last year in Montreal, and Khachanov needed three sets to claim the victory 7-6 (4), 5-7, 6-3.
“It’s going to be a tough match, Khachanov’s playing well since last year. I lost to him in Montreal once, 6-3 in the third. He is a fighter, he can serve well and hits the ball very hard. I’m going to focus on my moment,” affirmed Cerundolo.
On the other part of the draw, Italy’s Jannik Sinner won his quarterfinal match against Finland’s Emil Ruusuvuori and waits for whoever comes out of the Carlos Alcaraz-Taylor Fritz clash, to be played not before 7 p.m. at the Stadium.
This will be the first time the World No. 1 meets the best ATP-ranked American, at World No. 10. Alcaraz comes from knocking out another US player: Voorhees, N.J. native Tommy Paul, the No. 16 seed, 6-4, 6-4, while Fritz also needed two sets to overwhelm Denmark’s Holger Rune, World No. 8, 6-3, 6-4.
After his win, the American said he would be “very excited” to watch his next opponent and expects a “very physical” quarterfinal.
“I feel like I’m going to have to raise the level even more. I’m happy with how I served today and how I was holding my serve, but I think there are going to be a lot longer points, and it’s going to be a lot more physical. I think it will be a much more physical match,” confessed Taylor Fritz.
On his turn, Carlos Alcaraz was very happy with a win that kept his chances of winning the Sunshine Double this season, which would also make him stay as World No. 1 after Miami.
“Well, I watch a lot of matches from Taylor, so I know him a little. I think I couldn’t practice with him. I have never played against him, so it’s going to be tough, new opponent for me, a new style of game for me,” explained Alcaraz, whose only thought is to play at “100%”.
“(The injury) Is completely in the past. Right now, I feel healthy, not thinking about my leg. Right now, all I’m thinking is to play at my high level at my 100%, and therefore, I forgot the leg completely.”
On the women’s side, Ekaterina Alexandrova and Petra Kvitova play the last quarterfinal to determine who challenges Sorana Cirstea for a place in the final.
The 32-year-old Romanian booked a spot in the women’s singles semifinal after upsetting 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.
In 13 appearances at the Miami Open, Kvitova has a chance of reaching her first semifinal. On her turn, Alexandrova knocked out No. 9 seed Belinda Bencic in the third round and is having her best run so far this season – ousted in the second round in Indian Wells after a first-round bye.
Kvitova is the No. 15 seed and a two-time Wimbledon champion, while Alexandrova is unseeded. The Czech has a 1-0 head-to-head lead, a 6-1, 6-2 victory in the 2020 Australian Open.
Not before 8:30 p.m. on Stadium, Jessica Pegula and Elena Rybakina fight for a place in the women’s singles final.
Rybakina is the current Wimbledon champion and comes from winning Indian Wells – which means she is looking to complete the Sunshine Double.
“Yeah, I played against Jessica. It was tough. For sure it’s gonna be a tough one if we play, and she’s a good player, very consistent, I will say.
However, Pegula leads the head-to-head 2-0 against the Kazakh. They played in Miami last year, and the American won in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4. A few months later, in the Guadalajara WTA 1000, she prevailed again, but in a three-setter decided in a tie-break: 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (8).
“You know, I’m just going to have to go out there and compete and play my game. I mean, she’s been playing some great tennis. I feel like she and Sabalenka are the ones to beat right now, so it’s going to be a great test and I think a deserved semi for a tournament like this,” commented the World No. 3.
Also, on Grandstand, it’s a deciding day for the men’s doubles. At 2:30 p.m. Americans Nathaniel Lammons and Jackson Withrow will complete their match against Lloyd Glasspool, from Great Britain, and Finland, Harri Heliovara. The score is 7-6 (3), 3-6, and 4-3 in the super tie-break for the Europeans.
Whoever gets out of that match plays Mexico’s Santiago Gonzalez and France’s Edouard Roger-Vasselin, who avenged their loss to the World No. 1 team of Netherlands’ Wesley Koolhof and British Neal Skupski in Indian Wells by overwhelming their rivals 4-6, 7-6 (5), 10-5. They reached back-to-back Masters 1000 semifinals.
On the bottom part of the draw, American Austin Krajicek and Frenchman Nicolas Mahut play against German Kevin Krawietz and Fabrice Martin, also from France.
Krajicek is pairing with Mahut for the first time this week because the American’s usual partner, Croatia’s Ivan Dodig, is injured.
On his turn, Fabrice Martin has had his best run in 2023, reaching the Marseille final with Mahut. He has a 2-2 record with Krawietz this season, having reached the second round in Indian Wells and at the Phoenix Challenger.
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.