10sBalls.com • TennisBalls.com

Francisco Cerundolo: Miami Is Two Different Tournaments

Francisco Cerundolo of Argentina beat world No. 6 Felix Auger-Aliassime at the Miami Open on Monday. Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images

The surface speed may be dramatically different, but Francisco Cerundolo continues making tracks through the Miami draw.

Meeting for the third time this season, Francisco Cerundolo stunned sixth-ranked Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-2, 7-5 on Grandstand today to reach the Miami Open round of 16 for the second straight year.

Controlling the center of the court with his forehand, Cerundolo punished Auger-Aliassime’s second serve winning 20 of 28 points played on the Canadian’s second serve and breaking four times. The victory avenged Cerundolo’s losses to Auger-Aliassime at the Australian Open and Indian Wells earlier this season.

The 25th-seeded Cerundolo has not dropped a set raising his Miami career record to 8-1. If you think that impressive track record is due to Cerundolo’s comfort level on the hard-court surface, think again. Cerundolo said surface speed is so different this year, he feels it’s like playing a completely different event.

“Last year, well, was much slower than this year,” Cerundolo said after his first career win over 2019 semifinalist Auger-Aliassime. “Everything, two different tournaments.”

So why is Cerundolo so successful in south Florida?

He chalks it up to comfort with the culture, devoted Argentinean fans who support him and “good vibes.” 

“I like Miami. I feel really comfortable here playing,” Cerundolo said. “I don’t know. A lot of friends, a lot of Argentinian people that support me.

“It’s super nice to play here. I don’t know, it’s just good vibes. I think my game is really good here. Hopefully I can play well or better tomorrow.”

The 2022 semifinalist must match his final four run from a year ago to retain his position as Argentinean No. 1. Cerundolo will face either 2022 US Open semifinalist Frances Tiafoe or Italian Lorenzo Sonego for a quarterfinal spot.

“Tiafoe is having a great year. Last year he did amazing,” Cerundolo said. “I play him here last year in round of 16, so it’s going to be a rematch if he wins. If Sonego wins, is going to be a new match. I never play him.

“Both are really good players. Yeah, looking forward to my game, to try to play as well as today. If I play like this, I think I can beat any of them.”