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Ricky’s picks for Thursday in Miami, including Alcaraz and Zverev

The semifinal lineup at the Miami Open will be set following the conclusion of play on Thursday. Carlos Alcaraz, Alexander Zverev, and Grigor Dimitrov are among those hoping to punch their tickets to the final four. Alcaraz is going up against Dimitrov; Zverev is facing Fabian Marozsan.

Here are my previews and picks for the two matchups.

(1) Carlos Alcaraz vs. (11) Grigor Dimitrov

Alcaraz won this tournament in 2022 before losing to Jannik Sinner in the semifinals last season. The 20-year-old is looking like a man who wants his Miami title back. Coming off victory at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Alcaraz has extended his winning streak to nine matches with wins in South Beach at the expense of Roberto Carballes Baena, Gael Monfils, and Lorenzo Musetti. The second seed has prevailed by set scores 6-2, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4, 6-3, and 6-3.

The head-to-head series between Alcaraz and Dimitrov stands at 3-1 in favor of the Spaniard. However, Dimitrov won their most recent encounter 5-7, 6-2, 6-4 at the 2023 Shanghai Masters. That gave the Bulgarian a spot in the quarterfinals and he has now reached this stage at all nine Masters 1000 tournaments–Miami was the last missing link. Dimitrov has advanced by beating Alejandri Tabilo, Yannick Hanfmann, and Hubert Hurkacz–the latter in a third-set tiebreaker. The veteran is playing well, but Alcaraz is on a different level.

Pick: Alcaraz in 2

(4) Alexander Zverev vs. Fabian Marozsan

Marozsan is also playing in the Miami Open quarters for the first time. Of course, that is far less surprising than it is regarding Dimitrov. After all, Marozsan was largely unheard of as recently as last May. That is when the Hungarian shocked Alcaraz at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome as a qualifier ranked No. 135th. Ten months later, Marozsan has become a borderline Masters 1000 specialist. He is an incredible 14-3 all time in the main draw of Masters 1000s, including 4-0 this fortnight with defeats of Aleksandar Kovacevic, Holger Rune, Alexei Popyrin, and Alex de Minaur.

Zverev is also in fine form — his 17-5 record in 2024 includes a semifinal showing at the Aussie Open. The fifth-ranked German has advanced in Miami with victories over Felix Auger-Aliassime, Chris Eubanks, and Karen Khachanov — all in relatively convincing fashion. Marozsan just lost to Khachanov 6-4, 7-5 last month in Doha, so what’s to say he will beat a similar kind of opponent who just destroyed Khachanov? Zverev should have the edge on Thursday.

Pick: Zverev in 2

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