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QF Preview: Medvedev Meets Eubanks, Khachanov & Cerundolo Clash In Miami

Bottom-half semi-final spots up for grabs on Thursday at Hard Rock Stadium
March 30, 2023
Daniil Medvedev and Christopher Eubanks will meet for the first time at Tour-level on Thursday in Miami.
Peter Staples/ATP Tour
Daniil Medvedev and Christopher Eubanks will meet for the first time at Tour-level on Thursday in Miami. By ATP Staff

Quarter-final action at the Miami Open presented by Itau continues Thursday, when two scheduled matches along with the postponed Carlos Alcaraz-Taylor Fritz clash are on the card.

Daniil Medvedev is one of the most in-form players on Tour, but the fourth seed will have to end the dream run of home favourite Christopher Eubanks in Florida if he wants to reach his fifth consecutive ATP Tour semi-final. Meanwhile Karen Khachanov looks to back up his fourth-round victory against Stefanos Tsitsipas when he faces 2022 semi-finalist Francisco Cerundolo. breaks down Thursday’s quarter-final action in southern Florida.

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[4] Daniil Medvedev vs. [Q] Christopher Eubanks (USA)

Faced with a post-midnight start to his fourth-round match against Quentin Halys due to rain, Daniil Medvedev was clinical in claiming a straight-sets victory against the Frenchman in the early hours of Wednesday morning. The fourth seed will hope for more of the same on Thursday when he takes on Eubanks, the surprise package of the 2023 Miami Open presented by Itau.

The American qualifier has enjoyed an emotional run to his maiden ATP Masters 1000 quarter-final, even shedding tears after breaking the Top 100 of the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings for the first time with his third-round triumph against Gregoire Barrere. Since edging Lukas Klein in a deciding-set tie-break in the final round of qualifying, Eubanks has dropped just one set in four main-draw matches.

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Taking on the 18-time tour-level titlist Medvedev promises to be his toughest challenge yet, however. The red-hot World No. 5 has won 21 of his past 22 matches, with his relentless retrieving from the baseline the dominant feature of his game as he lifted trophies in Rotterdam, Doha and Dubai and reached the championship match in Indian Wells.

The move to the faster conditions of Miami appears to have boosted the four-time Masters 1000 champion’s ability to hit through opponents. Medvedev has struck 45 winners and dropped just nine games across his two matches in Florida so far.

Locked in 🔒@DaniilMedwed overpowers Quentin Halys to secure the victory 6-4 6-2 🙌@MiamiOpen | #MiamiOpen

— ATP Tour (@atptour) March 29, 2023

The outcome of his first ATP Head2Head meeting with Eubanks may depend on the 6’7” American’s ability to pressure Medvedev with precise serving, although the fourth seed will hope his renowned deep return position can help nullify his opponent’s biggest weapon. Another key for Eubanks will be keeping calm in the biggest match of his career to date.

The 26-year-old’s fourth-round win against Adrian Mannarino marked the first time he has won four consecutive tour-level matches. Yet Eubanks says he is feeling more and more confident every time he steps on court at Hard Rock Stadium.

“The [nerves] are less,” he said after downing Mannarino. “I went out there today feeling, ‘Let's just go out there and play tennis, let's go out here and have fun’. This week has already been a dream come true… I'm more than happy to live with the results as long as I can go out and try to execute as well as I can, and really have no regrets about how I played.”

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[14] Karen Khachanov vs. [25] Francisco Cerundolo (ARG)

Khachanov is becoming accustomed to competing in the latter stages of the biggest events on Tour. Having reached back-to-back Grand Slam semi-finals at the 2022 US Open and January’s Australian Open, the 26-year-old marched past second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas on Tuesday to secure his first ATP Masters 1000 quarter-final appearance since Montreal in 2019.

The four-time tour-level titlist has rediscovered his early-season form quickly considering he was forced to take some time off due to physical issues in the wake of his Melbourne run. Khachanov will hope to maintain that momentum on Thursday in his second ATP Head2Head meeting with the No. 31-ranked Cerundolo.

“After the Australian Open, I had some issue with an injury,” said Khachanov, whose straight-sets win against Tsitsipas snapped his 23-match losing-streak against Top 10 opponents. “I came back in Dubai without having played many matches and I’m just happy to continue that level. I just want to continue that way, enjoy the process, and enjoy the journey. It continues.”

Khachanov’s ratio of 25 winners to nine unforced errors against Tsitsipas certainly suggests he is a man high on confidence, and the World No. 16 will likely need to reproduce that form against Cerundolo in a meeting between two players who excel from the baseline. Khachanov needed three sets to claim victory in the pair’s only previous tour-level meeting last year in Montreal, and he will be wary of an opponent who boasts a stellar history at Hard Rock Stadium.

Cerundolo’s fourth-round win against Lorenzo Sonego improved his record in Miami to 9-1. He defeated Gael Monfils and Frances Tiafoe en route to the semi-finals on event debut in 2022, and the Argentine was ruthless in dispatching fifth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime in this year’s third round.

In Auger-Aliassime and Sonego, Cerundolo defeated opponents renowned for stepping into court to strike winners at every opportunity. In contast, Cerundolo can expect Khachanov to settle into extended rallies to offer a stern test of the Argentine’s physical mettle. Can the 24-year-old respond with another dose of Miami magic?

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