The ATP Tour has shifted its focus to Miami, Florida, for the second leg of the “Sunshine Double.” The Miami Masters welcomes 96 men into its main draw for a chance to compete for one of the sport’s most prestigious non-Grand Slam titles. This field is loaded with some of the best players in the world. Round 1 action features many intriguing matchups, including a battle of Tour vets in Andy Murray and Dusan Lajovic. As always, we at LWOT have the preview and prediction for that match and all other happenings around the grounds of Miami. We split the rest between three matches–featuring Ugo Humbert vs Gael Monfils, Marton Fucsovics vs Pedro Cachin, and Fabio Fognini vs Jan-Lennard Struff. But who will advance?
ATP Miami Day 1 Predictions
Arthur Rinderknech vs Taro Daniel
Head-to-Head: Rinderknech 1-1 Daniel
Arthur Rinderknech and wild card entrant Taro Daniel square off in an intriguing first round battle. Both players are adept hard-court players and clean-ball strikers that can play their opponent off the court on the right day. Rinderknech comes into this match having beaten just one Top 100 player this season. On the other hand, Daniel won four matches last week in Indian Wells, including a victory over Matteo Berrettini. In the previous two tournaments, Daniel is 8-2 with victories over Casper Ruud, J.J. Wolf, and Berrettini, among others. He is playing with a high level of confidence from the baseline and should be able to push the Frenchman around the court.
Prediction: Daniel in 2
Facundo Bagnis vs Felipe Meligeni Alves
Head-to-Head: Bagnis 3-0 Meligeni Alves
33-year-old Facundo Bagnis will look to add to his perfect 3-0 record against Felipe Meligeni Alves during their First Round encounter in Miami. All three of their previous meetings came on the clay, though, Bagnis was able to solidly handle the younger Meligeni Alves. Bagnis has just six career Tour-Level hard court wins, but that is six more than his opponent. Meligeni Alves did have two impressive qualifying victories over Nikoloz Basilashvili and Timofey Skatev. Still, those had as much to do with the inconsistent nature of his opponents as his play. I trust Bagnis to come ready to play with a chance to notch another Masters 1000 victory.
Prediction: Bagnis in 2
Emil Ruusuvuori vs Nuno Borges
Head-to-Head: first meeting
The last three days for 26-year-old Nuno Borges have been a whirlwind, to say the least. He came back from a set down to win the Phoenix Challenger on Sunday, had to navigate travel delays to reach his Miami qualifying match on Monday, and ended up defeating Steve Johnson and Borna Gojo to reach his first main draw of a Masters level event. His Wednesday match against Emil Ruusuvuori will be his eighth in nine days. Ruusuvuori will undoubtedly know this, and I expect him to force Borges to play a very long match if he is to come out victorious. While Borges’ form this season has been that of a top 50 player, I believe this is the match where his body fails him. Look for Ruusuvuori to work every rally and avoid unforced errors.
Prediction: Ruusuvuori in 3
Andy Murray vs Dusan Lajovic
Head-to-Head: first meeting
Despite both being veterans of the Tour, this will be the first meeting between Andy Murray and Dusan Lajovic. The Round One matchup in Miami is one of the best on the docket and will be played in the afternoon on Stadium Court. Lajovic is 0-3 in hard-court matches this season and 2-9 over the last 52 weeks. The Andy Murray renaissance tour has picked up significant steam in 2023, with the three-time Slam champion reaching the final in Doha a month back. At this point in his career, Murray is looking to do most of his damage at the big-time tournaments on the Tour calendar. I believe he will come ready to play against Lajovic and will have no problem handling the Serbian.
Prediction: Murray in 2
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