Tennis: ATP Miami Men’s semi-final preview

Casper Ruud [6] v Francisco Cerundolo

A first Masters 1000 final is up for grabs for Norway’s Ruud and Argentine Cerundolo – but how much will experience play a part? Ruud might have gained all but one of his seven tour titles on clay, but he has displayed some pretty impressive hard-court props of late, despite a stumbling start to his season.

But over the net will be Cerundolo – he faces a player literally living the dream. The Argentine had only played 23 matches on hard courts before the start of this tournament and had never played a main draw match in a Masters event. A win here for Cerundolo could catapult him from outside the Top 100 and into the Top 40, and ensure we get to see a lot more of him, especially with three significant clay court Masters coming up.

So what we have is two players who prefer the dirt, if given a choice, with a real chance to battle it out for a first Masters title, on a hard court, no less.

Ruud has been at this level of a Masters before, reaching the semi-finals in Rome (2020) and in Monte Carlo and Madrid (2021) – all on the clay, but the experience will be key for the Norwegian, especially if he wants to start challenge some of the big names for his position in the ATP Top 10.

It might not be Cerundolo’s day today – but if he gets an invite to the Masters’ tables as the clay court season kicks in, he is very much one to watch.

Hubert Hurkacz [8] v Carlos Alcaraz [14]

The defending champion Hurkacz is making the most of the slower conditions in Miami but unlucky for him, so is young pretender to the thrown, and with the absence of Rafael Nadal through injury, Alcaraz has been lapping up the Spanish support as he has become a firm fan favourite this week.

Hurkacz stopped Daniil Medvedev from reclaiming the top spot for next week and he now comes up against the Spanish boy wonder for the first time on the tour. 

It was a really tough fight for the Spaniard to get to this point, two points away from losing the match in the deciding set 

However, for Alcaraz, the chance to become Miami’s youngest ever champion is a real possibility and this one is the pick of the two semi-finals – but given the speed of the courts, be prepared for a real slug-fest!