What a week or so of tennis we’ve been treated to in Miami. The absence of the “Big 3” has done little to detract from the quality of tennis on offer this week. Rising stars like Jannik Sinner and Emil Ruusuvuori have shown that the future of the game is in good hands. Equally, the elite on the tour continue to show their quality, with the likes of Daniil Medvedev and Roberto Bautista Agut making quarterfinal appearances. Thursday promises more must see tennis as the second set of quarterfinals gets under way. As ever, we try and call who should emerge victorious in our ATP Miami Open quarterfinal predictions.
ATP Miami Open Quarterfinal Predictions
Hubert Hurkacz vs Stefanos Tsitsipas
Head-to-head: Hurkacz 1 – 7 Tsitsipas
This is the second meeting between these two young stars in the last month. Stefanos Tsitsipas got the better of Hubert Hurkacz in Rotterdam, winning 2-1 in the quarterfinals. The Greek also dominates the head-to-head 7-1. However, Hurkacz has won a set in five of those eight encounters and a fair few of their matches have been tight. That being said, Tsitsipas will surely be happy to see Hurkacz on the other side of the net on Thursday.
The world #5 has played solid tennis so far in Miami. He has only dropped one set in three matches, and that was to a quickly improving Kei Nishikori. That being said, Hurkacz is undoubtedly the Greek’s toughest opponent so far this week. Tsitsipas has made great use of the variety in his game to make Hurkacz uncomfortable in their previous meetings. The Pole isn’t a great mover, and Tsitsipas has employed drop shots, slices and more to great effect in order to take advantage of that. He will need to do the same again here, as well as serving at a high level, if he is to come away with the win once more.
Hurkacz has looked like a man on a mission so far in Miami. After starting 2021 like a house on fire, the world #37 seemingly fell of a cliff and couldn’t string wins together at all. However, his quarterfinal appearance in Miami has gone a long way to rectifying that. He took down two in form Canadians in Dennis Shapovalov and Milos Raonic to get here, the win over the former serving as revenge for a poor performance by the Pole in Dubai. Hurkacz has a great serve and is strong on both wings when he is on his game. His issue lies with the string of unforced errors he can rack up when he is even slightly off. He has looked solid on both wings and behind serve this week, and that will need to remain unchanged if he is to have a chance in this match.
The odds are not in Hurkacz’s favour here. However, I think he can sneak through a tight one here if he plays as well as he has been this week. At his best, Hurkacz can trouble anyone on the tour. If he finds it for long enough on Thursday, which I think he will, he should come through this match.
Prediction: Hurkacz in 3
Andrey Rublev vs Sebastian Korda
Head-to-head: First meeting
Andrey Rublev has to be joint favourite to win this – alongside fellow Russian Medvedev – given his form over the last 12 months. The Russian won five ATP Tour titles last season and has already picked up another one this year. He has been truly sensational, with his explosive forehand becoming one of the more dangerous weapons in the men’s game. Crucially, Rublev has substantially improved his serve in recent months as well. What was once a glaring weakness in his game is now a considerable strength.
The Russian has deployed both his serve and his forehand to great effect so far in Miami, and is yet to drop a set in the tournament. He toppled Marton Fucsovics for the fourth time this year earlier in the tournament, and also added the scalps of Tenys Sandgren and Marin Cilic. As such, Rublev enters this match as a clear favourite and rightly so, but Sebastian Korda won’t go quietly.
The young American has been one of the success stories on the men’s tour this year. With Grand Slam winner genes, it was only a matter of time before Korda arrived on the main tour. He has done so in some style too, making the final of Del Ray Beach earlier this year. His strong results have seen him move comfortably inside the top 100 and he will certainly have ambitions of climbing higher still as the season progresses. Korda plays aggressive, fearless tennis and rarely holds back if the opportunity for a winner presents itself. Both he and Rublev hit the ball incredibly cleanly. If both are on song, this will be one hell of a match.
Korda’s time to truly shine on the tour is coming. However, this might be one step too far for his still-developing game. Rublev has become arguably the hardest player to beat not named Novak Djokovic or Daniil Medvedev over the last six months. His forehand blows opponents away effortlessly and if he is serving well there is very little to attack for anyone he comes up against. Rublev’s game remains slightly one-dimensional, but that dimension pays dividends on fast hard courts. Miami’s courts are exactly that and the Russian should advance pretty comfortably here.
prediction: Rublev in 2
Main Photo from Getty.