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Ricky’s preview and pick for the Miami quarterfinals: Sinner vs. Ruusuvuori

It will be a rematch of a 2022 Miami Masters 1000 thriller when Jannik Sinner and Emil Ruusuvuori go head-to-head again on Wednesday in the quarterfinals.

Last year they squared off much earlier in round two, when Sinner recovered from 5-3 down in the final set and fought off three match points in the ensuing tiebreaker before prevailing 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(8).

In fact, this marks their third Miami Open meeting in as many seaons. They also met in 2021, when Sinner coasted 6-3, 6-2. The Italian now leads the head-to-head series 4-0 at the ATP level, having also gotten the job done 6-2, 6-4 at the 2021 Washington, D.C. tournament 7-5, 6-3 at the 2022 Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters. Ruusuvuori does have one victory over Sinner, however, (6-3, 6-4 decision at the Canberra Challenger three years ago).

Sinner is an even bigger favorite in Miami than he was against Ruusuvuori in 2021 and 2022. He is up to No. 11 in the world and is currently fifth in the live race to Turin. The 21-year-old is 19-4 in 2023 with a title in Montpellier, a runner-up performance in Rotterdam, and a semifinal showing in Indian Wells–plus a romp over Andrey Rublev on Tuesday. If you think those numbers are good, consider Sinner’s history at the Miami Open: he is 11-1 (not including one retirement), including a final appearance in 2021 (lost to Hubert Hurkacz).

Two years Sinner’s senior, Ruusuvuori is also making his way up the rankings–albeit in much slower fashion. The world No. 54 is projected to reach a career-high of 37th even if he loses this match. He is a respectable 10-8 so far in 2023, with a third-round effort in Indian Wells followed by Miami defeats of Nuno Borges, Roberto Bautista Agut, Taro Daniel, and Botic van de Zandschulp.

Ruusuvuori can never be discounted from any match given his talent, but this is simply a tough matchup for him. The Finn plays a very similar style of game to Sinner, but Sinner does everything just a little bit better.

Pick: Sinner in 2

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