SF Preview: Can Hurkacz Stop Rublev's Roll?
Andrey Rublev has been one of the hottest players on the ATP Tour since the start of 2020. Will Hubert Hurkacz be able to stop the Russian in his tracks in the Miami Open presented by Itau semi-finals on Friday?
After emerging in two tight sets from a rain-interrupted quarter-final clash against 20-year-old Sebastian Korda on Thursday night, Rublev will look to quickly recover to take on the Polish No. 1. Rublev has won more matches than anyone else this season (20-3) and is the only player yet to drop a set Miami, but in their only ATP Head2Head prior meeting, Hurkacz prevailed in three sets in Rome last year.
“In the end, everyone can win now,” Rublev said. “He's a really great player. He has a really huge serve, really great strokes.
“He's really aggressive from the baseline. He goes for the shots, and last time we played half a year ago, he beat me. It's going to be an opportunity for me to do better tomorrow, and we'll see if I can take the rematch."
The hot, humid coastal climate of Miami is far removed from what Hurkacz grew up with in Poland. The 24-year-old, though, is feeling right at home in South Florida in 2021.
After winning the Delray Beach Open by VITACOST.com title in January, Hurkacz has now surged into his maiden Masters 1000 semi-final just down the road in Miami. The 26th seed backed up impressive victories over Canadians, sixth seed Denis Shapovalov and 12th seed Milos Raonic, with an upset of No. 2 seed and recent Acapulco runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas.
“I think that's so far one of the best results,” Hurkacz said. “Obviously like winning titles, it's nice because you win the tournament, but the results, winning a couple of really like close matches in a row, that's really big for me.”
Hurkacz is the bigger player — standing at 6'5" to Rublev's 6'2" — but Rublev will be the one trying to immediately take control of rallies with his big-hitting game. The Pole is an excellent defender for his size, but will he be able to stave off the Russian's attacks under the Florida sun?
"We'll see what's going to happen. I'm going to do my best, and that's it," Rublev said. "What's [going to] happen is going to happen. If I will manage to win tomorrow, it's perfect. If not, then it's because Hurkacz is better than me."