Despite rain delays the quarter-final line up was completed albeit not until 1.30am when Daniil Medvedev polished off Frenchman Quentin Halys 6-4 6-2 to secure the last of the eight places available at this years Miami Masters being played on the Hard Rock Stadium courts.
Not most importantly that I beat Stefanos, but I think with the way I’m playing. After the Australian Open, I had some issue with an injury. I came back in Dubai without having played many matches and I’m just happy to continue that level Karen Khachanov
The main action took place earlier in the day and included some surprising results, not least the dismissal of the second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, who was out-served by Russia’s big-hitter Karen Khachanov, the 14th seed, 7-6(4) 6-4 to reach the Miami quarters for the first time which is also his 5th last-eight appearance at Masters level.
The big Russia , who lost a total of 11 total points on his serve, was never broken himself though the Greek star had two opportunities to claim it, both in the middle of the first set which were staved off with aces.
“They say third time is a charm, but for me it took seven times, so I’m super happy,” Khachanov said following his win. “Not most importantly that I beat Stefanos, but I think with the way I’m playing. After the Australian Open, I had some issue with an injury. I came back in Dubai without having played many matches and I’m just happy to continue that level.”
Earlier his Russian compatriot, the sixth seeded Andrey Rublev was unable to contain the exuberant play of Italy’s Jannik Sinner, seeded 16 and the 2021 Miami runner-up, who dismissed him comfortably 6-2 6-4.
Another upset was caused by Finland’s unseeded Emil Ruusuvuori who beat the 26th seed Botic van de Zandschulp of The Netherlands 4-6 6-4 7-5 in a rollercoaster of a match, recovering from a set and a break down.
His comeback secured a quarter-finals spot where Sinner, whom he hasn’t beaten in four previous attempts, awaits.
Also through to the last eight is former semi-finalist Francisco Cerundolo of Argentina, the 25th seed who overcame the unseeded Italian Lorenzo Sonego 3-6 6-3 6-2. and qualifier Christopher Eubanks of the US who kept his dream week going by ousting Frenchman Adrian Mannarino 7-6(2) 7-6(5).
However the main attraction was the defending champion and world No.1 taking on one of the two home players remaining in the draw, Tommy Paul, and he required just 96-minutes to show, why, at 19-years of age, he tops the rankings and is well on his way to securing the ‘Sunshine Double’.
Alcaraz won 6-4 6-4 to roll past the Australian Open semi-finalist seeded 16 to set up a meeting with the other American, their top player and ninth seed Taylor Fritz, who dispatched the second 19-year-old in the draw, namely the 7th seeded Dane, Holger Rune of Denmark, 6-3 6-4.
The Spaniard lost only 7 points on his first serve breaking Paul early in both sets and swatted away the only break chance he offered which was when he was serving for the first set.
For the teenager it will be his 21st career quarter final and 7th at Masters’ level as he continues to establish himself at the top of the tennis world.
“I feel at home here. It is easy to play here in Miami with all the energy I receive every day,” Alcaraz said. “I am enjoying myself and I think that is the key to playing at such a high level every match. I hope to keep going.
“I played a really great match and hope to play the same level in the quarter finals. I moved well, defended very well and attacked as well. If I play the same level I’m going to have a lot of chances to get through the quarter finals.”
He will play that on Wednesday when he faces Fritz for the first time with the American commenting: “I think that a lot of people, a lot of people, are really excited for that too. We have never played each other. I think it’s an interesting matchup. Obviously, he’s playing great lately, and he had some injuries but hasn’t missed a beat. He’s been just on fire.”
It should be the match of the day.