“I have never felt so much hate,” says Sabalenka

After a great coronation in Indian Wells, the prodigy Carlos Alcaraz now faces a new test without rest at the Masters 1000 in Miami, where he is forced to defend last year’s title to stay at the top of the ranking.

alcarazThe 19-year-old was crowned champion of the Indian Wells Masters for the first time on Sunday with an excellent tour in which he did not give up a set and catapulted him back to number 1 in the ATP.

Although Novak Djokovic is absent from this US tour due to his refusal to be vaccinated against covid-19, Alcaraz now needs defend the Miami Open title (March 22 – April 2) so as not to have to return the lead to the Serbian star.

“Of course, winning a tournament gives you a lot of confidence” for the next one, assured the Spaniard after overwhelming the former world leader in the Indian Wells final Daniel Medvedev in 70 minutes.

“I’m playing very well and I hope to play at this level again in Miami,” he stressed.

Extremely self-confident, the key to Alcaraz’s success may depend on whether he maintains his physical tone, after already this season he suffered a right leg injury that sidelined him from the Australian Open in January and another abdominal injury that ruined his life. end of Rio in February.

Know more: The Miami Masters, also without Djokovic

In addition to number 1, a victory in Miami would enter Alcaraz into the exclusive club of figures who have chained consecutive victories in the first two Masters 1000 of the season, which are held in the United States.

In 1991the store Jim Courier became the first of 11 players who have achieved this double, known as ‘Sunshine Double’. Among those champions are four women: Steffi Grafon two occasions, Kim Klijsters, Victoria Azarenka and Iga Swiatekwho got it last year.

The last to achieve it in the men’s draw was Roger Federerwho added his third double in 2017, while the ‘Sunshine Doubles’ record is still held by Djokovic with four.

Medvedev wanting revenge

Although he assures that he does not pay attention to his precocity records, Alcaraz follows the rhythm that the greatest maintained in his early career, including his compatriot Rafael Nadal.

In Indian Wells, the jewel from El Palmar (Murcia) joined Nadal as the only ones to win at least three Masters 1000 before their 20th birthday.

Nadal, who at that point had six Masters 1000 titles, will be the great absence from Miami along with Djokovic due to an injury that forced him to focus on the clay-court season and his ultimate goal of winning his 23rd Grand Slam in Roland Garros.

The Miami team has given Alcaraz a first match against the Argentine Facundo Bagnis or a rival from the previous phase and then a possible duel with the veteran andy murray.

On paper, among his strongest rivals for the trophy will be Medvedev, seeking revenge on a faster track and more adapted to his conditions, the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas and the young Felix Auger-Aliassime, Holger Rune and Jannik Sinner.

Argentines appear in the Latin American representation Diego Schwartzman, Francisco Cerúndolo, Sebastián Báez, Federico Coria, Guido Pella and Pedro Cachínas well as the Colombian Daniel Galan.

Chileans Cristian Garin and Alejandro Tabilowho surprised by reaching the round of 16 in Indian Wells, met this Tuesday in the Miami qualy for a place in the main draw, with the former winning 7-6, 6-1.

Swiatek under pressure

In the female branch, the Polish Iga Swiatek She will try to defend the Florida WTA 1000 title and regain confidence after an irregular start to the season.

Undisputed number 1 in the WTA for a year, Swiatek stumbled in the round of 16 of the Australian Open, in the final in Dubai and in the semifinals in Indian Wells against the later champion Elena Rybakina.

Also read: Rybakina is the champion in the Californian desert

After that defeat, by a resounding 6-2 double, the Pole said that she had suffered discomfort in the rib area from which she hoped to recover for Miami.

Although she still looks down on them in the rankings, Swiatek is concerned about the rise of several players who threaten the dominance she enjoyed last year at major tournaments.

Rybakina, current Wimbledon champion, comes to Miami in great shape as does the Belarusian Aryna Sabalenkafinalist in Indian Wells and champion of the Australian Open.

The rest of the WTA top-20 will also be present in Florida, including the Greek Maria Sakkari and the Americans Jessica Pegula and Coco Gauff.

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