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Ricky’s preview and picks for the Miami Open: Sinner stands in Alcaraz’s way

Indian Wells champion Carlos Alcaraz will have plenty of challengers at the Miami Open as he tries to complete the Sunshine Double even though both Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal are on the sidelines. Daniil Medvedev has reached four consecutive finals (three titles) and other top players like Jannik Sinner, Taylor Fritz, and Frances Tiafoe are also in great form. 

Here is my preview and my full tournament picks.

Miami Open

Where: Miami, Florida 
Surface: Hard  
Points: 1000  
Prize money: $8,800,000  

Top seed: Carlos Alcaraz 
Defending champion: Carlos Alcaraz 

Medvedev could not be stopped in February and early March. He had won three titles and 19 matches in a row. But once he ran into Alcaraz in the Indian Wells final he promptly met his match–getting clobbered 6-3, 6-2. The good news for the Russian is that he once again won’t have to face Alcaraz until the title match. As the fourth seed, Medvedev landed in the bottom half of the bracket with No. 2 Stefanos Tsitsipas, who is dealing with a shoulder injury. That makes Medvedev a clear favorite to reach a fifth straight final.

Medvedev has a mostly favorable path the whole way, although potential quarterfinal foe Hubert Hurkacz is a former Miami champion (2021) and has also played Medvedev competitively in the past. Hurkacz, however, may have to look out for an in-form Cameron Norrie in the fourth round. 
Elsewhere in the bottom half, either Indian Wells semifinalist Frances Tiafoe or Indian Wells quarterfinalist Felix Auger-Aliassime should be able to capitalize on Tsitsipas’ current woes. 
In the top half of the bracket, Alcaraz will open against Facundo Bagnis or a qualifier and is on course to meet Andy Murray in round thre. Murray would at least make Alcaraz work for a win, and either Tommy Paul or Alejandro Davidovich Fokina would do the same in the last 16. Fritz is the likely QF opponent Alcaraz, so by no means is this an easy road for the 19-year-old Spaniard. In fact, that top quarter of the draw is the most stacked of all. Meanwhile, in the second section whoever wins a projected R4 showdown between Andrey Rublev and Jannik Sinner will probably reach at least the SFs.

Quarterfinal picks: Carlos Alcaraz over Taylor Fritz, Jannik Sinner over Alexander Zverev, Daniil Medvedev over Cameron Norrie, and Felix Auger-Aliassime over Karen Khachanov 

Semifinals: Sinner over Alcaraz and Medvedev over Auger-Aliassime 

Final: Sinner over Medvedev 

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