Superb Sinner Races Past Rublev In Miami

Italian to face Ruusuvuori in quarter-finals

After starting the 2023 Miami Open presented by Itau with two straight-sets victories, Jannik Sinner ramped up his title bid further on Tuesday by dismantling sixth seed Andrey Rublev 6-2, 6-4 at the hard-court ATP Masters 1000 event.

Sinner delivered a stunning all-round performance in his 72-minute fourth-round victory and was especially prolific in return games on Grandstand. The 21-year-old struck the ball cleanly off both wings and converted three of the five break points he earned to improve his ATP Head2Head record against Rublev to 3-2.

“We try our best every day and I’m very happy about the performance today,” said Sinner after his third victory against a Top 10 rival in 2023. “Playing against Andrey is never easy. He serves very well and he plays very aggressive, so I had to change a little bit today. For sure, my level was great, I felt good on court, so hopefully I can keep it up in the next round.”

After a personal-best semi-final run at the BNP Paribas Open earlier in March, Sinner arrived in Miami full of confidence. The World No. 11 has backed up his Indian Wells exploits in style so far, handsomely defeating Laslo Djere, Grigor Dimitrov and Rublev to reach the quarter-finals without dropping a set. He has risen one spot to No. 10 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings as a result.

In a battle between two of the hardest baseline hitters on Tour, Sinner expertly redirected Rublev’s power to take control early. He reeled off four games in a row from 1-1, often changing the rhythm of rallies with drop shots or by moving forward to the net.

After Sinner sealed a quickfire first set, Rublev regained his footing in the early stages of the second. Some more high-class Sinner returning brought up the only break point of the set in the seventh game, however, and the Italian took his chance to set himself on the path to his 19th tour-level victory of the year.

Sinner struck an impressive 28 winners compared to just eight unforced errors against one of the most destructive shotmakers on Tour, while the seven-time ATP Tour titlist was also dominant on serve. He won 86 per cent (24/28) of points behind his first delivery and did not face a break point.

“I think today I served better, maybe the best match in Miami [so far]," said Sinner. "I’m happy about that, [I will] try to keep it going… I just tried to play with the right tactics. Playing bombs against bombs, its never easy. I think today I changed [my] game a little bit, so I’m very happy about that.”

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Sinner has now reached at least the quarter-finals on all three of his main-draw appearances in Miami. The 21-year-old, who reached his only previous Masters 1000 final in Florida in 2021, will play 26th seed Emil Ruusuvuori in the last eight, after the Finn rallied to a 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 win against Botic van de Zandschulp.

After dropping the first set in his first tour-level meeting with van de Zandschulp on a hard court, Ruusuvuori twice trailed by a break in the second set as his impressive run in Miami looked to be coming to an end. However, he reeled off six games in a row from 4-6, 3-4 to take control of the match and seal a two-hour, 44-minute win on Grandstand.

Ruusuvuori has now surpassed his previous-best showing in Miami, a fourth-round run in 2021. The 23-year-old is the first Finnish player in a Masters 1000 quarter-final since Jarkko Nieminen at the 2013 Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters.

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