10sBalls.com • TennisBalls.com

Hurkacz, Rublev Set Up Meeting of First-time Masters 1000 Semifinalists in Miami Tennis

Hubert Hurkacz of Poland waves after defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece following their quarter-final Men’s singles match at the Miami Open tennis tournament in Miami Gardens, Florida, USA, 01 April 2021. EPA-EFE/RHONA WISE

By Ricky Dimon

It was no secret that a big opportunity awaited just about everyone in this particular Miami Open draw. With the Big 3 skipping this Masters 1000 tournament, the title was–and still is–pretty much up for grabs.

Count Hubert Hurkacz among the players who have taken advantage.

Hurkacz, the world No. 30, followed up wins over Denis Kudla, Denis Shapovalov, and Milos Raonic with one of the biggest of his career on Thursday afternoon. From 6-2, 2-0 down, the Pole toppled world No. 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 after two hours and 20 minutes. Hurkacz is through to the semifinals of a Masters 1000 for the first time in his career.

“I was trying to keep fighting and that’s what I did,” Hukacz noted. “At the beginning of the match I was going for too much. I tried to adapt my game…. [I’m] super pumped and happy that I turned this match around…. It’s so big; it’s a super big win for me. I can’t wait for the next match.”

Miami’s 26th seed was preceded into the semifinals by Roberto Bautista Agut and Jannik Sinner, who booked their spots on Wednesday.

At least one semifinalist is no surprise. Andrey Rublev, who has been one of the four best players in the world dating back to the start of last season, maintained his awesome form by beating Sebastian Korda 7-5, 7-6(5) in the last quarterfinal on Thursday night.

The only surprise is that this is also Rublev’s first-ever Masters 1000 semifinal.

“If we talk about the second set, I [could have won] easier, but it happens,” the Russian said of failing to serve out the match against Korda. “This is tennis. Maybe next match I will lose second set and lose the third. I mean, today I managed to win and I’m happy. Sebastian is a really great player; he’s really talented. He has big shots and he feels confident and he goes for them. Most of them he’s making.

Andrey Rublev of Russia (L) and Sebastian Korda of the USA (R) meet at the net following their Men’s singles match at the Miami Open tennis tournament in Miami Gardens, Florida, USA, 01 April 2021. EPA-EFE/RHONA WISE

“So in the end, that’s why he’s great. He has a big serve, really great at the net, he’s smart, and he plays aggressive. He tries to take the lead and go for the shots. That’s why he beat so many great players.”

Rublev will face a similar opponent in Hurkacz on Friday, while Bautista Agut will battle Sinner.

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.