Scouting Report: 10 Things To Watch In Miami
Newly-minted World No. 2 Daniil Medvedev will lead the way at the Miami Open presented by Itau, where the Russian star will try to claim his fourth ATP Masters 1000 title. The top seed, who is 14-2 so far in 2021, is on a tear after winning at the Open 13 Provence in Marseille to bring his ATP Tour trophy haul to double digits.
The draw for the first ATP Masters 1000 of the 2021 season will be made on Monday afternoon, and main draw action will begin Wednesday. ATPTour.com looks at 10 things you should know ahead of the tournament.
1) Medvedev In The Magic City: Top seed Medvedev leads the field in Miami, and he brings with him plenty of momentum. The Russian led his country to glory at the ATP Cup, reached his second Grand Slam final at the Australian Open and arrived in Florida after winning at the Open 13 Provence in Marseille. Medvedev will be going for his fourth ATP Masters 1000 title. This will be his third appearance in the Miami tournament. In his previous two showings, Medvedev lost against the World No. 5 (l. to Zverev in 2018, l to Federer in 2019, ).
2) Breaking Up The Big Four: Medvedev also arrived in Miami with a new number next to his name. The 25-year-old will be making his debut as the World No. 2 in the FedEx ATP Rankings. His rise marked the first time a player outside the Big Four — Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray — held a top two spot since Lleyton Hewitt was World No. 2 in July 2005.
3) Zverev Arrives In Good Form: Zverev brings confidence to Florida following an impressive run to the title at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC, where the German defeated Tsitsipas in the final. The 23-year-old is going for his fourth ATP Masters 1000 title, and his first since the 2018 Mutua Madrid Open. That year, Zverev reached the final in Miami with a run that included wins against Medvedev, David Ferrer, Nick Kyrgios, Borna Coric and Pablo Carreno Busta. The World No. 7 has been hot on hard courts, reaching his first Grand Slam final at last year's US Open.
4) Rublev Revving Up: Rublev has been the king of ATP 500 events. He won four titles in a row at that level and racked up a streak of 23 consecutive wins that only came to an end last week in Dubai. But at ATP Masters 1000s, it has been a different story. The Russian player has only advanced past the fourth round once, when he made the quarter-finals at the 2019 Western & Southern Open, thanks to a victory against Roger Federer. Rublev showed comfort in Miami two years ago, where as a qualifier he advanced to the third round.
5) Russians In Action: Medvedev and Rublev lead a red-hot Russian contingent in Miami. All four Russians inside the Top 50 will be in action, with 2018 Rolex Paris Masters champion Karen Khachanov and Dubai winner Aslan Karatsev also flying the flag in South Florida. Karatsev has been the breakthrough star of 2021, reaching the Australian Open semi-finals and claiming his maiden ATP Tour title just days ago at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, an ATP 500 event. This will be Karatsev's first Masters 1000 main draw.
6) The Singles Field: Acapulco finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas and Buenos Aires champion Diego Schwartzman join Medvedev, Rublev and Zverev as the top seeds in Miami. Other players to watch include 2019 semi-finalist Denis Shapovalov, 2018 champion John Isner, 2017 Nitto ATP Finals titlist Grigor Dimitrov, as well as #NextGenATP players Felix Auger-Aliassime and Jannik Sinner. Auger-Aliassime, like his countryman Shapovalov, made the last four here two years ago.
7) Alcaraz Among Wild Card Entries: #NextGenATP Carlos Alcaraz, Michael Mmoh, Hugo Gaston and Jack Draper were awarded wild cards into the main draw of the tournament. Alcaraz, who is the 17-year-old charge of former World No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero, will make his Masters 1000 debut less than two months after reaching the second round of the Australian Open. Last week, the Spaniard impressed at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC, with Zverev predicting that Alcaraz would be "among the Top 10 by 2024".
8) The Doubles Field: Six players who have won the Miami doubles title will compete this year, but the only tandem that triumphed at this event was Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut, who were victorious in 2016. The top seeds will be Colombians Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah, who in Dubai claimed their first title since the 2019 US Open. The team they beat in that ATP 500 final, Croatians Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic, will be the second seeds. Other standout duos to watch include Acapulco finalists Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos as well as Australian Open champions Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek.
9) Double Duty: The Miami event also features a host of top singles players who will be in the mix in doubles. Recent Doha doubles titlist Rublev (w/Karatsev) will reprise his partnership with Khachanov, with whom he has made two Masters 1000 finals. Dimitrov will team up with Kei Nishikori, Isner with Taylor Fritz, and Zverev with Tim Puetz. Auger-Aliassime and Hubert Hurkacz, who won last year's Rolex Paris Masters, will also be in the field.
10) Eyes On Grandstand: The Hard Rock Stadium is once again the venue for the Miami Open presented by Itau, which is into its 36th edition. The tournament was held the past 32 years in Key Biscayne, after one year in Delray Beach (1985) and in Boca Raton (1986). The event moved to the home of the NFL's Miami Dolphins in 2019, and featured a stunning centre court that sat inside the stadium. Due to reduced fan capacity, the Grandstand Court will serve as the main court for the 2021 tournament.