It’s been an undeniably fantastic week of tennis. Once again, we’ve seen what the young guns of the tour are made of, filling fans with immense hope over the future of the sport. Fittingly, the two finalists are both competing in their first ever Masters 1000 final. Carlos Alcaraz is fast approaching the heights of stardom, while Casper Ruud keeps winning big matches and is increasingly impressive on hard courts. As always, we here at LWOT will be offering our prediction for the final. But who will come out on top?
ATP Miami Final Prediction
Carlos Alcaraz v Casper Ruud
Both players are more than deserving of their place in this final. Ruud has been the quiet underachiever all week, as he often is. Previously dubbed as a “clay court merchant”, one would think this label is on its way out. The Norwegian has gone from strength to strength on the surface, and remarkably has now reached a Masters 1000 final before reaching one on clay. It’s not been an easy route by any means, either.
Ruud dismantled the dangerous Alexander Bublik in straight sets, giving the same treatment to Cameron Norrie, Henri Laaksonen and Francisco Cerundolo in the semifinals. The highlight, however, is of course his excellent victory over Alexander Zverev. Ruud dominated the Olympic champion for large portions of the match with his brutal forehand, and earnt a big victory in the process. With a fairly small amount of hype around him, Ruud is quietly going about his business – and proving what an excellent player he is in the process.
What else is there to say about Carlos Alcaraz that hasn’t already been plastered across social media and punditry? The 18-year-old is a phenomenon. While his serve could do with being more effective, there are no other visible weaknesses in his game. Pummelling ground strokes, Andy Murray-like lobs, exquisite drop shots and great net play – he’s got it all.
It’s been an epic run of victories against multiple world class players – which isn’t even that surprising at this point. He’s taken down Marton Fucsovics, Marin Cilic, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Miomir Kecmanovic (who had a truly stunning tournament himself), and defending champion Hubert Hurkacz. To be winning all of these encounters consecutively at just 18 is really quite something – and he’ll fancy his chances in the final.
How will the final play out? Despite the understandable hype around Alcaraz, it won’t be simple by any means. Ruud is incredibly solid, and will look to use his rocket-like forehand as much as he can. It will be fascinating to see them both using their big weapons against each other. Ruud will look to go after any slow serves from Alcaraz with his forehand, and this may well make things interesting.
The longer the rallies go on, the better Alcaraz should feel. His raw speed gets him round the court so easily and he just has more tools at his disposal than Ruud. Ruud will have to overpower Alcaraz to get the upperhand, but it’s hard to see him sustaining it for the whole match. That said, Alcaraz is more likely to be nervous than Ruud, which may play its part.
Given how they can both hurt each other, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see this go the distance. Given the weapons they both possess, the momentum may well swing back and forth. If it goes to a final set, expect Alcaraz to be the victor. Time and time again this week he’s proved to be so clutch in the important moments, and his resilience will not faulter now.
Prediction: Alcaraz in 3
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