Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: ATP Miami Open: Semi-Finals Preview

ATP Miami Open: Semi-Finals Preview

Stefano Tsitsipas

Damien Kayat examines the two ATP Miami Open semi-finals featuring Stefano Tsitsipas vs Hubert Hurkacz and Andrey Rublev vs Sebastian Korda.

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Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

1st April 2021

Stefanos Tsitsipas 1/5 | Hubert Hurkacz 7/2
I called it perfectly with the Nishikori match. The Japanese star is certainly working his way back to his best form, pushing Greek Tsitsipas to three sets. I think the Greek showed a lot of character to bounce back from losing that second set. And then he showed Sonego little mercy in the last round. So, perhaps this will be Tsitsipas’ chance to finally taste Masters 1000 glory (though a potential deathmatch with Rublev looms large). Let’s not jump the gun just yet. Key to Tsitsipas’ success this week has been his serve. In fact, the only break points he has yielded thus far came in the Nishikori dual. He certainly seems to thrive in these slightly slower conditions, using his natural athleticism to grind players down in extended rallies. 

Hubert Hurkacz has done it the tough way this week. He took down Denis Shapovalov in the final 32 before an epic three-set match against hardcourt wizard Milos Raonic. It was slightly disturbing for Hurkacz that he could only convert one of his eleven breakpoints in the match. Regardless, when you consider how good Raonic was looking, this may have been one of the best wins of Hurkacz’s career.  He has now equalled his best result at a Masters 1000 event. The former Winston-Salem Champion clearly has the ability to play on North American hardcourts. He opened the year with his second ATP Title at the Delray Beach Open. But it has been a bit quiet since then for the Pole. He will need to be more decisive in the key moments if he is to overcome Tsitsipas. 

Though they are still so young, this will be the 7th meeting between these two. Tsitsipas leads the head-to-head comfortably at 6-1 (although the outdoor hardcourt stats are much closer at 2-1). Rotterdam was their most recent match and Tsitsipas was made to toil for that victory. It’s so tempting to opt for the Hurkacz win at the price. But I think that Tsitsipas is going to be too determined here. I predict a straight-sets win for the Greek at 64/100. 

2nd April 2021

Andrey Rublev 2/9 | Sebastian Korda 32/10
What more can be said about the remorseless Andrey Rublev? Since the start of 2020, Rublev has an incredible win-loss record of 60-13. In that time, he also leads the tour in titles with six. That’s fairly amazing considering the era of men’s tennis we currently operate in. He is yet to drop a set this week, routinely seeing off former US Open Champion Marin Cilic in the last round. He also beat Marton Fucsovics earlier this week for the third time in a month! The ultra-competitive Russian will feel frustrated with his back-to-back semi-finals in Qatar and Dubai. His massive groundstrokes have allowed him to dominate on these slow surfaces (there’s not many on tour who can hit through with his conviction). He just doesn’t yield an inch from the baseline and he is utterly relentless with his forehand. Not since Del Potro have I seen a forehand so consistently dominant. 

As I’m also a golfing scribe, I’ve got a kick out of watching the progression of Sebastian Korda this week. He is the brother of LPGA professionals Nelly and Kelly Korda. This is like a new dynasty in American sport. Korda has actually enjoyed quite a strong year. He reached his maiden ATP final at the Delray Beach Classic. He followed that up with a Challenger victory in France. But this event has seen him blossom into the professional that many have capped him to be. It reminds me a bit of when Shapovalov burst onto the scene in the Rogers Cup. He has three consecutive victories against top 30 players. That included his first-ever win over a top ten player (Diego Schwartzman). He will need to serve well and use his height to his advantage. He will also look to hit his that crosscourt forehand as well as he has, thereby exposing Rublev’s backhand corner. But how does he neutralize that explosive Rublev forehand? 

This will be the first meeting between these two on tour. Rublev is clearly the favourite following his sensational last 18 months. But there have been some chinks in his armour of late. Semi-final defeats to Bautista-Agut and Karatsev serve to show he is human. Korda is currently playing sensational tennis and seems to have found the zone. A three-set Rublev win is about as crazy as I’m going to go here at 26/10. The Russian should ultimately have the skills to progress. 

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