Just two men remain in contention at the ATP Miami Open after what has been a thrilling week of tennis in the Sunshine State. But will it be Italian young gun Jannik Sinner or Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz who lifts the first Masters title of 2021?
ATP Miami Open Final Prediction
Jannik Sinner vs Hubert Hurkacz
Head-to-head: first meeting
This may be the first meeting between the pair, but there should be few secrets between Sinner and Hurkacz, who train together and who played doubles as recently as the ATP Dubai Tennis Championships last month. Sinner, who arrived at the ATP Miami Open having reached back-to-back quarterfinals in Marseille and Dubai, opened his campaign in Florida with a comprehensive 6-2 6-2 win over Hugo Gaston. He backed that up by edging out 14th seed Karen Khachanov 4-6 7-6 6-4.
In the round of 16, Sinner proved too strong for fellow young gun Emil Ruusuvuori, beating the Finn 6-3 6-2 to reach his first quarterfinal at a Masters 1000. There, Sinner recorded another straight-sets win, beating Alexander Bublik 7-6 6-4 to set up a semifinal clash with a seventh seed Roberto Bautista Agut. It was the Spaniard who made the better start to the match, winning the first set 7-5, but Sinner dug in to turn the match around and record a 5-7 6-4 6-4 win.
Hurkacz, meanwhile, had been in indifferent form prior to the start of the ATP Miami Open, with the Pole struggling to back up his run to the title in Delray Beach in the first week of the season. But he has rebounded in excellent fashion on his return to Florida. He began his week with a 7-6 6-4 win over Denis Kudla, before victories over Denis Shapovalov and Milos Raonic – the latter from a set down – saw him into the quarterfinals.
There, despite losing the first set, Hurkacz had too much for second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, as he upset the Greek 2-6 6-3 6-4 to record what is surely his finest win of the season so far. That win sent him into the semifinals where Andrey Rublev waited. The Russian has been the form player so far this season, but he was brushed aside by Hurkacz, with the 24-year-old scoring a dominant 6-3 6-4 win to reach his first Masters 1000 final.
This looks to have the makings of a close contest. Sinner will almost certainly look to keep Hurkacz pinned deep in the court and if he can do so, turning the match into baseline battle, he should win. Hurkacz, as a result, will surely look to dictate from inside the baseline and to reach the net whenever he is able. Unfortunately for the Pole, Sinner possesses one of the most well-rounded games on the ATP Tour and can hurt opponents with both his forehand and backhand.
As a result, it may well prove to be difficult for Hurkacz to find sufficient opportunities to come into the net on his terms. Sinner’s backhand, in particular, is a world-class shot. The Italian would do well to look to dictate with that shot by targeting Hurkacz’s backhand in cross-court exchanges. The heavy revolutions he can generate with that shot will almost certainly be rewarded on the high-bouncing courts in Miami. Expect this match to go the distance, but for Sinner to ultimately have the edge.
Prediction: Sinner in 3
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