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Miami Final Preview: Medvedev Seeks To Extend Sinner Dominance

Both men bidding for first Miami title
April 01, 2023
Daniil Medvedev holds a 5-0 ATP Head2Head advantage over Jannik Sinner entering the Miami final.
Daniil Medvedev holds a 5-0 ATP Head2Head advantage over Jannik Sinner entering the Miami final. By Arthur Kapetanakis

After Jannik Sinner came from behind to stun Carlos Alcaraz in the Miami Open presented by Itau semi-finals, ending the Spaniard's 10-match winning run and his reign as World No. 1, the Italian will now bid to end a more personal streak against Daniil Medvedev in Sunday's title match.

Watch from 1 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CET.

Medvedev, who saw his own 19-match winning streak snapped by Alcaraz two weeks ago in the Indian Wells final, enters the Miami showpiece with a 5-0 ATP Head2Head record against Sinner. Their most recent meeting came in February in the Rotterdam final, when Medvedev dominated the final two sets of a 5-7, 6-2, 6-2 victory to claim the first of what would be three consecutive titles. 

Now into his fifth consecutive ATP Tour final, Medvedev will aim to stay perfect against Sinner with his sixth straight win against the Italian. His red-hot run across the past two months has lifted him to the top of the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin, inserting him into the conversation for year-end No. 1.

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After he progressed to his first Miami final, now having reached at least the title round at all six hard-court ATP Masters 1000s and both hard-court Grand Slams, Medvedev proved prescient in his analysis of the second semi-final between Sinner and Alcaraz.

"Carlos is on fire right now but you can't win 100 matches in a row," he said, speaking from the experience of his own recent streak. "At one moment someone is going to put the water on the fire. It might be Sinner today, it might be me on Sunday, it might be someone else next tournament."

In his post-match press conference, Medvedev further explained why he was bullish on the 10th-seeded Italian. 

"I cannot hit a 110 mph forehand. That's an advantage, and Sinner is capable of doing this," he said. "Jannik is progressing really, really fast, especially this year. In terms of baseline game, Jannik can hit the ball very strong. I think that's where [he and Alcaraz] have this kind of ping-pong tennis. That's where he can bring him trouble."

After Sinner succeeded in outhitting Alcaraz, he will face a very different challenge against the metronomic game of Medvedev. The fourth seed felt he made too many errors in his Indian Wells final defeat to the Spaniard, but he has rediscovered his rock-steady baseline tennis in Miami and felt he played a "top-level match" to beat good friend Karen Khachanov in three sets on Friday.

While Sinner has posted a higher Shot Quality rating on return, forehand and backhand in Miami, Medvedev has excelled at converting points from attacking positions and stealing points from defence.

Those statistics provide an intriguing backdrop for Sunday. While most tennis fans might expect Medvedev to be more content in baseline rallies, the Tennis Insights data suggests that it's Sinner who holds the advantage from the backcourt, at least based on their play so far in Miami.

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The Italian has also shown a desire to attack the net, particularly against Alcaraz, when he won 16 of his 25 ventures forward. Frequent net approaches have often been a go-to tactic for Medvedev's opponents in an attempt to punish the former World No. 1 for his preferred positioning deep in the court. How Sinner blends his attacks using his all-court game will be a key factor in deciding Sunday's winner.

After scoring what he called one of the best wins of his career in the semis, the 21-year-old is ready for a new challenge against Medvedev.

"For sure it's completely different than this match today," he said, looking ahead to the final. "I never beat Daniil. We had already one final in Rotterdam. I was able to win one set there. We had a couple of matches where we went [to a] third set. Also there I need to make some changes, trying to mix up the game a little bit also. Then we'll see.

"I feel ready to compete, happy to be in the final, and let's see how it goes."

Three of their five matches have required a deciding set, including Medvedev's victory at the 2021 Nitto ATP Finals, when he won a 10-8 final-set tie-break in their round-robin meeting. But as Medvedev said, the fast-rising Italian has made great gains since then, and particularly this season.

A fixture near the top of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings for years, Sinner has not left the Top 20 since August 2021. He reached a career high of World No. 9 in November of that year, and has assured himself of at least matching that mark with his run to the final. If Sinner can earn his first ATP Masters 1000 title on Sunday — two years after he fell in the Miami final to Hubert Hurkacz — he will rise three further places to No. 6.

Medvedev can move up one place to No. 4 with his fourth title of the season, which would also extend his lead in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin from 200 to 600 points ahead of Novak Djokovic.

Expect a high-quality affair between two men with some of the best records on the 2023 ATP Tour season. Medvedev enters at 28-3 while Sinner stands at 21-4.

Watch Sunday's final from 1 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CET, live from Hard Rock Stadium.

Click the graphic below for the full Medvedev vs. Sinner ATP Head2Head breakdown.

<a href=''>Daniil Medvedev</a> vs. <a href=''>Jannik Sinner</a>

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