Sinner smashes Medvedev, plays third Miami Open final


by Daniel Perisse

Two months after a five-setter that saw Jannik Sinner win the 2024 Australian Open against Daniil Medvedev, today the Italian crushed the World No. 4 6-1, 6-2, in 1 hour and 10 minutes. The Italian will have his third chance to win the Miami Open title, now against Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov.

“It’s the third time that I can play the final here in Miami, which is an amazing achievement for me. The first time I came here I made final, like, I couldn’t sleep that night. The second time, which was last year, I was relaxed because I went through periods where I had already, you know, experiences,” added the World No. 3.

This was Sinner’s fifth straight victory against Medvedev, who still leads the head-to-head 6-5. His last victory over the Italian was at the Miami Open final last year.

The No. 2 seed had three chances to break Medvedev’s serve in the second game and did it. In the following game, the Medvedev had two break points but was not able to convert them and saw the Italian go ahead 3-0.

“I played very solid today, especially in the beginning of the sets. Then after, he missed a couple of shots where usually he is not missing them. Then when there is, even if the difference is quite small from one player to the other one, but if one plays a little bit better that day and the other player plays a little bit worse, sometimes the difference is big,” explained Sinner.

The 22-year-old’s rallies were so intense that he seemed to be inspired by the presence of Serena Williams, the player with the most Miami Open singles titles, eight.

The Italian answered with another break, this time after four chances, and the score was now 4-0. Sinner confirmed his serve in the following game and was within one from winning the first set.

Medvedev finally got himself on the board in the following game, but it was too late: Sinner served for the first set, 6-1, in 33 minutes, with 81% of 1st serve points won (13 out of 16).

“I think the tactics I used at the beginning of the match were not the problem. The problem was the execution, too many mistakes. Yeah, not enough precision,” explained Medvedev.

The 2024 Australian Open champion ended the match with 17 winners, against only seven from his opponent. He now holds a 21-1 season campaign, the best on the tour.

On Sunday, the Italian plays his third final in the 2024 season against Dimitrov, who prevailed over Germany’s Alexander Zverev, the No. 4 seed, 6-4, 6-7(4), 6-4.

Unlike the other men’s semifinal, this match began without a player taking an early lead, as both began holding serves and alternating great plays, to the crowd’s delight.

In the tenth game, the Bulgarian had a break point and won it, securing the first set in 43 minutes.

Zverev and Dimitrov held their serves during the entire second set, forcing a tie-breaker.

The German won the first point on the Bulgarian’s serve and soon had a 4-1 lead, due to a double fault and some errors from Dimitrov. The 32-year-old started to make more unforced errors and Zverev tied the match.

In the third set, Zverev had a break point in the fourth game, but Dimitrov came back to hold serve. In the seventh game, the Bulgarian had his first break point since the tenth game of the first set, and he broke the German, now serving at 4-3. Following that, Dimitrov held his serve and Zverev also held his.

It was time for Dimitrov to serve for the match at 5-4. And he clinched the win in his first match point, after 2 hours and 35 minutes.

“With each win, it’s inevitable, you get more excited, the adrenaline kicks in, you want to do better and more, and here we are, in the final. I kept doing the work, and discipline has brought me to that moment,” exclaimed the Bulgarian.

This will be the fourth match between Dimitrov and Sinner, with the Italian leading the head-to-head 2-1. Their previous encounter was in the Beijing quarterfinal last year, and Sinner won in three sets (6-4, 3-6, 6-2).

With today’s win and the one against World No. 2 Carlos Alcaraz in the quarters, the 32-year-old tour veteran defeated two Top-5 players in the same tournament.

This was Dimitrov’s third semifinal in the last four Masters 1000 events (reached the semifinal in Shanghai and the final in Paris last year). This will be his third final at this level of his career – he won in Cincinnati in 2017 and lost last year in Paris.

“What is better above all is that I have been able to put those matches back-to-back, the consistency of beating the top players. That, to me, is way bigger success than anything else.” Said Dimitrov

Dimitrov will return to the ranking’s top-ten players group, as No. 9, for the first time since 2018.

“I mean, if you do that, you get the ranking, if you do that, things are just getting better for you, but to do that is where it all comes through, discipline, hard work, dedication, the adjustments to very different players. You need to be able to do that constantly and that has been happening for the past eight, nine, twelve months,” added the tour veteran.

In the Women’s doubles final, No. 2 seeds Gabriela Dabrowski from Canada and Erin Routliffe from New Zealand will play Americans Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Sofia Kenin, who entered the draw as alternates.

Dabrowski and Routliffe, who won the US Open last year, overcame Americans Alycia Parks and Asia Muhammad 7-6(4), 4-6, 10-4.

The Canadian returns to the deciding match after winning in Miami in 2017, partnering with Xu Yifan, from the People’s Republic of China, while this would be Routliffe’s first title in the Magic City.

In the other semifinal, Mattek-Sands, born in Rochester, Minn., and Kenin, a Pembroke Pines, Fla. resident, defeated Italians Sara Errani and Jasmine Paolini 6-7(2), 6-4, 10-1.

A tour veteran who has won 28 doubles titles in her career – including the 2016 Miami Open, playing with Czech Lucie Safarova –, Mattek-Sands played almost all the match with a bandage on her left foot. She needed a medical timeout at the beginning of the first set.

The 39-year-old and Kenin, who won the Australian Open in singles in 2020, have two titles together: this season in Abu Dhabi and 2019 in Beijing.

The Saturday slate begins at 12:30 pm in the Stadium, with the men’s doubles final. No. 1 seeds Rohan Bopanna from India and Matthew Ebden from Australia, winners of the last Australian Open, face Croatian Ivan Dodig and Tampa, Fla. resident Austin Krajicek, the second seeds and the current French Open winners.

None of the four players has even won the Miami Open in their careers.

After the doubles final, St Petersburg, Fla. native Danielle Collins plays against Elena Rybakina, the 2023 Miami Open runner-up.

Rybakina aims for her fourth final this season, after winning in Brisbane, Abu Dhabi, and losing in Doha to Iga Swiatek. She is just the third player in the last ten years to make back-to-back Miami Open finals and improve her record this season to 22-3.

As for Collins, she also comes with an impressive record: won 16 of her last 20 matches. This is her first final since the 2022 Australian Open, and her first deciding game in a WTA 1000 final, coincidentally in her native state.

Rybakina leads the head-to-head 3-1 and won the last match, this year in Abu Dhabi.

Rybakina and Collins play the women’s singles final at 3 pm. For more information about the draws or the order of play, check the Miami Open website.