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By Richard Pagliaro | Monday, March 20, 2023


World No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz bids to become the first man since Roger Federer in 2017 to sweep the Sunshine Double.

Photo credit: Getty

Tennis is all about timing.

Carlos Alcaraz continues to beat the clock.

Blake: Djokovic Won't Play Miami Open

The 19-year-old Alcaraz dismissed Daniil Medvedev 6-3, 6-2 in the Indian Wells final on Sunday for another coming of age championship.

Reigning US Open and Miami Open champion Alcaraz is the ninth and youngest man to win both stops on the Sunshine Doubles—Indian Wells and Miami—in the course of his career.

Now, Alcaraz, who turns 20 on May 5th, sets his sights on becoming the youngest man to ever sweep the Sunshine Double the same season.

Miami Open tournament director James Blake, accompanied by Australian Open semifinalist Tommy Paul, helped conduct the Miami draw this afternoon.

Here are our five top takeaways from the 2023 Miami Open draw.

Sunshine Superman

Winning the Sunshine Double is about as easy as leaping over the life-sized Dan Marino statue that greets visitors outside Hard Rock Stadium.

If you've watched Carlos Alcaraz since his Masters 1000 breakthrough in Miami last spring, you know this man is driven to reach rare air.

Only eight men have completed the Sunshine Double sweeping Indian Wells and Miami back-to-back and while the top-seeded Alcaraz is currently reigning Indian Wells and Miami champion, he knows there are major obstacles in his path to a successive Sunshine Double sweep.

The 19-year-old Spanish phenom is playing to become the first man to win the double since recently retired GOAT candidate Roger Federer, who defeated Nadal in the Miami final two weeks after knocking off Stan Wawrinka in the final at INdian Wells.

Empowered by snapping Daniil Medvedev's 19-match winning streak in a commanding Indian Wells final, Alcaraz faces either Facundo Bagnis or a lucky loser as he opens his Miami title defense followed by either two-time champion Andy Murray or Dusan Lajovic.

If seeds are successful, the rest of Alcaraz's path would be: No. 30 Maxime Cressy in round three

No. 16 Tommy Paul in round of 16

No. 7 Holger Rune or No. 9 Taylor Fritz in quarterfinals

No. 3 Casper Ruud or No. 6 Andrey Rublev in semifinals

It's a challenging draw given Paul is an Australian Open semifinalist, Rune defeated an injured Alcaraz en route to the Rolex Paris Masters title last November and Rublev and Alcaraz have yet to meet in a Tour-level match.

Still, given Alcaraz's all-court acumen, physicality, speed around the court, his skill mixing his sledgehammer forehand with feather duster drop shots he should navigate this challenge to make another deep run.

Remember, Alcaraz is off to a sizzling 14-1 start this season winning two titles and reaching three finals in three tournament starts.

Going to coast-to-coast and adjusting to Miami conditions, which can sometimes be breezier than Palm Springs, could pose problems for Alcaraz.

Another factor in Alcaraz's favor: Miami fans unleashed Alcaraz mania last year adopting the dynamic Spaniard as a favored son. In fact, you could put to Alcaraz rallying from 2-5 down to defeat Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-5, 6-3 on Grandstand court in Miami last March a key component to his title run that saw him become the youngest man to win the Miami Open.

That defeat left Tsitsipas calling Alcaraz one of the most complete players he's ever faced.

"Carlos is one of the most complicated and complete players I have ever faced," Tsitsipas said after that 2022 Miami defeat. "In fact, I never beat him. I hope to improve on the previous two games if I have to play with him. I think our rivalry will extend over time."

Alcaraz is even sharper and a more polished player now than he was just a year ago and should go deep in the draw again.


Opportunity Quarter

Upheaval could strike the second quarter—it's already rocked Casper Ruud the highest seed in this section.

Six months ago, Ruud stepped on Arthur Ashe Stadium court one win from winning the US Open and clinching the world No. 1 rank.

This week, Ruud, who once dreamed of being a pilot, is back in Miami trying to half a free fall.

The 2022 Miami Open finalist is 4-5 on the season and has not posted back-to-back wins since he advanced to the ATP Finals in Turin last November. Compare that to the 13-3 record Ruud carried into the 2022 Miami Open final and you can see why the former world No. 4 is searching for confidence and answers.

A reeling Ruud will need to hit the ground running as he faces either Ilya Ivashka or a qualifier in his opener. Ruud's first seeded opponent could be 26th-seeded Botic van de Zandschulp.

Here's where it gets trickier for Ruud, who could be looking at a round of 16 rematch vs. Olympic gold-medal champion Alexander Zverev, whom Ruud defeated in Miami last year, followed by a quarterfinal clash against either 2021 finalist Jannik Sinner or sixth-seeded Andrey Rublev.

All that, just to potentially get to world No. 1 Alcaraz in the semifinals—if the seeds hold true to form—which presents a Hard Rock road for Ruud to make a final return. Indian Wells semifinalist Sinner has swept all four sets he's played vs. Ruud, while Rublev is 4-2 lifetime vs. the Norwegian though the Roland Garros runner-up has beaten the Russian in their last two meetings.

Champions Quarter

The top quarter is champion's corner.

There are four former men's champions in the field: defending champion Alcaraz, 2021 title winner Hubert Hurkacz, 2018 champion and 2019 finalist John Isner and two-time champion Andy Murray.

Interestingly, three of those four former champions—Alcaraz, Murray and Isner, the reigning Miami Open doubles with Hurkacz—are crammed in the top quarter.

The No. 8-seeded Hurkacz, who heads the third quarter, is the only former champion in the bottom half of the draw. Though that doesn't mean the potent-serving Pole dodges danger.

Hurkacz could face No. 32-seeded American Ben Shelton, who reached the Australian Open quarterfinals in January, in the round of 32. If seeds hold try to form, Hurackz would face fourth-seeded Daniil Medvedev, who saw his 19-match winning streak snapped by Alcaraz in the Indian Wells final on Sunday.

First-Rounders to Watch 

Andy Murray (GBR) vs. Dusan Lajovic (SRB)
Head-to-head: First meeting

Backhand exchanges will by crucial here as the Murary two-handed backhand is a wondrously versatile shot but Lajovic can play his smooth one hander to any direction.

Two-time former Miami champion is a former Miami Heat season ticket holder who formerly made the city his offseason training base.

Fourteen years after Murray defeated Fernando Verdasco, Juan Martin del Potro and Novak Djokovic in succession to capture his maiden Miami Open title, he's back playing inspired tennis again. The man with the metal hip and titanium backbone  has been a match-point miracle man saving match points in three different matches. A defiant Murray delivered yet another captivating comeback fighting off five match points to edge Jiri Lehecka 6-0, 3-6, 7-6(6) in a wild Doha win that sent him into the final against Daniil Medvedev.  

Lorenzo Sonego (ITA) vs. (WC) Dominic Thiem (AUT)
Head-to-head: Even 1-1 

Two aggressive baseliners have given us tight tests in the past.

These two have played five sets with three of those sets decided in tiebreakers, including Sonego's 6-4, 67(5), 7-6(5) win in the 2021 Rome round of 16. Sonego has contested two quarterfinals this season, while Thiem has suffered a nightmare stretch posting a 1-7 record and arriving in Miami eager to snap a four-match losing streak. Thiem put himself in position to win his Indian Wells opener, only to squander a final-set tiebreaker lead in a 6-4, 4-6, 6-7(5) loss to Adrian Mannarino in a gut-wrenching loss.

The 2020 US Open champion Thiem needs some sort of spark to get going, the question is given this brutal start if things tighten up against Sonego as they have in the past will the former French Open finalist have the confidence to go for it?

Ugo Humbert (FRA) vs. Gael Monfils (FRA)
Head-to-head: Humbert leads 1-0

The left-handed Humbert looks as lithe as a pipe cleaner, but possesses whippy strokes—and the skill to drive daggers down the line. Humbert showed it outlasting Monfils in five sets in their only meeting at the 2019 Wimbledon.

As expected, Monfils showed signs of rust playing his first match in nearly seven months, he won four games against Jordan Thompson in Indian Wells. Since then, Monfils played a match in the Phoenix Challenger falling in three sets to Alexander Shevchenko.

The 24-year-old Humbert has won six of his last eight matches, including a run to the Pau Challenger final earlier this month. French fans were already out in force watching Benoit Paire's qualifying match on Monday and this all-French affair figures to be a fan-friendly clash.

Alexander Bublik (KAZ) vs. JJ Wolf (USA)

Head-to-head: Wolf leads 1-0

Volatility comes to court when two imposing ball-crushers clash.

Though they're separated by just two rankings spots, the 48th-ranked Bublik is off to a rough 4-11 start that gets more unsightly when you consider he won three of those four matches en route to the Marseille semifinals. The big-serving Bublik is 1-10 in all other Tour-level tournaments, including opening-round exits in Auckland, Australian Open, Rotterdam, Montpellier and Indian Wells.

Still, Bublik was a Miami quarterfinalist two years ago and desperately needs a win.

The 50th-ranked Wolf can bang the ball off both wins and is an offensive powerhouse, who has no fear of pulling the trigger from just about any position on court. Since Wolf reached the Dallas semifinals last month, he's posted a 1-3 record and, like Bublik, should be very hungry for Hard Rock success.


2023 Miami Open Tennis Channel and Tennis Channel Plus
All Times are Eastern

Tuesday, March 21
11:00 am

Wednesday, March 22
12:00 pm
7:00 pm

Thursday, March 23
12:00 pm
7:00 pm

Friday, March 24
12:00 pm
7:00 pm

Saturday, March 25
12:00 pm
7:00 pm

Sunday, March 26
12:00 pm
7:00 pm

Monday, March 27
12:00 pm
7:00 pm

Tuesday, March 28
12:00 pm
7:00 pm

Wednesday, March 29
1:00 pm  
7:00 pm  

Thursday, March 30
1:00 pm  
7:00 pm  

Friday, March 31
1:00 pm  
7:00 pm  

Saturday, April 1
12:30 pm – ATP Doubles Final
3:00 pm - WTA Singles Final

Sunday, April 2
1:00 pm – ATP Singles Final followed by WTA Doubles Final


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