Preview: Tsitsipas Makes Miami Bow, Medvedev & Felix In Third-Round Action

Preview: Tsitsipas Makes Miami Bow, Medvedev & Felix In Third-Round Action
By: ATP World Tour Posted On: March 26, 2023 View: 34

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The third round draws to a close Monday at the 2023 Miami Open presented by Itau, where a host of top names are in action as they try to extend their run at the second ATP Masters 1000 event of the year.

After a bye and a walkover, respectively, in the opening two rounds, second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas takes to court at Hard Rock Stadium for the first time this year against Cristian Garin. The in-form Daniil Medvedev plays Alex Molcan, while Felix Auger-Aliassime meets 2022 semi-finalist Francisco Cerundolo.

With 2021 champion Hubert Hurkacz and home favourite Frances Tiafoe also in third-round action, ATPTour.com previews an intriguing Day 6 in southern Florida.

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[2] Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) vs. [Q] Cristian Garin (CHI)

Consistency has been the name of the game for Tsitsipas in recent years at Hard Rock Stadium. The Greek has reached at least the fourth round in each of the past three tournament editions, including a career-best quarter-final showing in 2021.

With his run-in to this year’s event hampered by an ongoing shoulder issue, Tsitsipas will have been grateful for the extra two days preparation for his Miami bid after Richard Gasquet withdrew from the pair’s second-round clash. The Greek’s third-round meeting with Garin will open the day’s play inside the Stadium court, where he will seek to bounce back from his opening-round defeat in Indian Wells.

"Everything is getting better and I'm heading toward the right direction," said Tsitspas earlier this week. "[I hope] to play pain-free and just be able to step out there and show something different than Indian Wells because Indian Wells was a big struggle... I hope I get to play with more of an element of fun on the court and not think too much about my arm."

Tsitsipas’ match fitness will likely be put to a stern test by the in-form Garin. The former World No. 17 won through qualifying before reaching the fourth round in Indian Wells, and now has the opportunity to match that achievement in Miami by upsetting Tsitsipas.

The Chilean’s ability to make an impact against the second seed’s huge serve will be a key factor in fast conditions in Miami, where the Chilean had not won a main-draw match prior to this year. He will also hope for similarly raucous support to that he enjoyed from the stands during his second-round win against Sebastian Baez as he chases his first tour-level win against Tsitsipas in three attempts.

[4] Daniil Medvedev vs. Alex Molcan (SVK)

Daniil Medvedev may have had his 19-match winning streak snapped by Carlos Alcaraz in the Indian Wells final, but the 27-year-old rediscovered his rhythm in style on Saturday night in Miami. The fourth seed dropped just three games against Roberto Carballes Baena to set a first ATP Head2Head meeting against Molcan.

Medvedev’s recent red-hot run was heavily based on his world-class retrieval skills around the baseline. Against Carballes Baena, however, there were signs that the faster conditions in Miami will enable Medvedev to hit through opponents more regularly — he struck 18 winners past the Spaniard in his quickfire win, and he will hope to put Molcan’s defence to a similar test on Monday.

The World No. 56 Molcan is competing in Miami for the first time this year, and the 25-year-old dug deep to outlast Jordan Thompson and 28th seed Yoshihito Nishioka in his opening two matches. The Slovakian has now equalled his best Masters 1000 showing, which he set in Indian Wells just two weeks ago, but will have to notch his career-best win against the World No. 5 Medvedev if he wants to go one better in South Florida.

[5] Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) vs. [25] Francisco Cerundolo (ARG)

A rematch of their recent Indian Wells third-round match will see the fifth-seeded Auger-Aliassime take on 2022 semi-finalist Cerundolo. The Canadian prevailed 7-5, 6-4 in California two weeks ago, his second victory against the Argentine this year after a four-sets win at January’s Australian Open.

Both players enjoyed straight-sets victories in their opening matches at Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium, although Auger-Aliassime was forced to dial in on serve to down Thiago Monteiro in a pair of tie-breaks. The World No. 6 has reached the quarter-finals at the past six ATP Masters 1000 events, proving himself one of the most consistent performers on some of the ATP Tour’s biggest stages.

The 22-year-old will trust his precise serve and powerful forehand to do the damage as he tries to move past a player who now holds a 6-1 record in Miami. Cerundolo will hope that his opening win against Aleksandar Kovacevic, as well as memories of his run to a first Masters 1000 semi-final from a year ago, can inspire him to a third Top 10 career victory.

[BREAK POINT]

Also In Action…

Besides Alcaraz, Hubert Hurkacz is the only former champion left in the Miami draw. The 2021 titlist plays Adrian Mannarino, who took out #NextGenATP American Ben Shelton in the second round, on Grandstand.

Jiri Lehecka’s impressive form in Miami will be put to the test by 14th seed Karen Khachanov on Court Butch Buchholz. The 21-year-old Czech is yet to drop a set on event debut at Hard Rock Arena.

The other third-round clashes on Monday’s schedule all involve home favourites. The 12th-seeded Frances Tiafoe faces the hard-hitting Lorenzo Sonego, Mackenzie McDonald meets Quentin Halys, and qualifier Christopher Eubanks will try to extend his dream run against Gregoire Barrere.

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