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 Fabio Fognini and Jan-Lennard Struff.
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 Andy Murray vs Dusan Lajovic. But who will advance?
ATP Miami Open Day 1 Predictions
Marc-Andrea Huesler vs Albert Ramos-Vinolas
Head-to-Head: first meeting
Just four ranking spots separate Marc-Andrea Huesler and Albert Ramos-Vinolas, adding an extra level of interest to this Round One matchup. Huesler comes into this match just 1-6 over the last five weeks. Ramos-Vinolas is just 2-4 over that same span. The 35-year-old Spaniard has always been known as a clay courter, but the difference in his ability on faster surfaces has become more extreme with age. He is just 6-15 on hard courts over the last 52 weeks. I like Huesler’s ability to hit through the Spaniard off of both wings. He should also be able to generate a fair amount of free points with his serve.
Prediction: Huesler in 2
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Laslo Djere vs Aleksandar Vukic
Head-to-Head: first meeting
Known for his clay-court prowess, 27-year-old Laslo Djere has an excellent opportunity to show he can flourish on a hard court over the next ten days in Miami. He squares off against Australian qualifier Aleksandar Vukic in Round 1. Vukic, currently ranked No. 168 in the world, wants to translate Challenger level success to the ATP Tour. The 26-year-old picked up impressive straight-set victories over James Duckworth and Aleksander Kovacevic in qualies and should feel confident in his game. These two will move each other around the court well, likely turning this match into a battle of attrition in the Miami heat. I slightly favor the lower-ranked Vukic because of his ability to grind points and force Djere into untimely errors.
Prediction: Vukic in 3
Ilya Ivashka vs Daniel Altmaier
Head-to-Head: Ivashka 1-0 Altmaier
Ilya Ivashka will look to turn the tides on a rough start to his 2023 season. The 29-year-old is just 2-6 this season but did notch both wins last week in Indian Wells. He takes on German qualifier Daniel Altmaier in Miami. Altmaier did not drop a set in two qualifying matches but has had his struggles during hard-court Tour-level matches. The 24-year-old German has the tools to work his way into the Top 50 (and beyond), but the consistency is not there right now. Ivashka’s experience and ability to stay in baseline rallies will be the difference.
Prediction: Ivashka in 3
Fabio Fognini vs Jan-Lennard Struff
Head-to-Head: Fognini 3-1 Struff
Veterans Fabio Fognini and Jan-Lennard Struff are set to battle in the first round of the Miami Open. The Italian leads this head-to-head 3-1 and has won their only two hard-court meetings, though both were three-set affairs in 2021. Fognini comes into this tournament ranked 91st in the world, his worst mark since July 2010. Although his form has been nothing to write home about (1-6 in 2023), I expect him to be ready to go at this Masters level event. Struff comes into this match holding a 15-4 record over the last five weeks. Although most of the work was done in qualifying matches and at the Challenger level, that match experience should pay dividends in this first-round encounter with the Italian. I believe Struff’s serve and ability to keep his level deep into the match will be the difference in this one.
Prediction: Struff in 3
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