- It’s Miami Open No. 1 seed Daniil Medvedev’s first appearance at the top of a top-tier draw
- John Isner and Andy Murray are the only previous Miami Open champions in the field
- Can Canadians Denis Shapovalov and Félix Auger-Aliassime go a step further than their 2019 semis? We break it down below
For the first time since the 2005 edition of Indian Wells at the Masters 1000 level, there won’t be a single member of the “Big 3” of men’s tennis – Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer – in the field at this Miami Open.
It’s a huge opportunity for someone when the first round begins on Wednesday, while the women’s side of the tournament got started today.
ATP Miami Open Odds
|||Daniil Medvedev (RUS)||+350|
|||Andrey Rublev (RUS)||+450|
|||Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE)||+600|
|||Alexander Zverev (GER)||+600|
|||Milos Raonic (CAN)||+1400|
|||Denis Shapovalov (CAN)||+1400|
|||Jannik Sinner (ITA)||+1400|
|||Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP)||+1700|
|||Aslan Karatsev (RUS)||+1700|
|||Karen Khachanov (RUS)||+3000|
|||John Isner (USA)||+5000|
|||Reilly Opelka (USA)||+5000|
|||Félix Auger-Aliassime (CAN)||+7500|
|||Alex de Minaur (AUS)||+7500|
|||Diego Schwartzman (ARG)||+7500|
|||Fabio Fognini (ITA)||+8000|
|–||Lloyd Harris (RSA)||+10000|
Odds from March 23 at DraftKings
Watch Out for Karatsev
Now that he’s arrived, and is in the top 30 after winning his first career ATP Tour title in Dubai last week, watch out for 2021 revelation Aslan Karatsev.
In his first-ever trip to Miami, he’ll want to continue his run. And with his new status comes a first-round bye in the 96-player draw. He will have had four-to-five days to travel and recuperate.
The other seeds in his section are Fabio Fognini, the desolate Benoit Paire and Diego Schwartzman. A great outcome for him.
Canadian Contenders Have Miami Priors
It is going to be a pressure-filled week for the two young Canadians, Denis Shapovalov and Félix Auger-Aliassime.
Miami will mark the first time since the pandemic began that they’ll have a big ranking points result to defend.
Both made the semifinals in 2019 – a big career move for both.
But last week, Auger-Aliassime saw a winnable match against Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Acapulco quarterfinals slip away. And Shapovalov had similar wobbles in another winnable match against Lloyd Harris in the Dubai semifinals.
Shapovalov potentially has countryman Milos Raonic in his way, in the fourth round.
Auger-Aliassime ran through from the qualifying to the semis in 2019, losing two tiebreaks to Isner in a match he had chances to win. He could face Isner again in the third round.
Tricky Opponents for Medvedev
On paper, hot favorite Medvedev has a good-looking section.
But there are a couple of potential opponents who have given him fits in the past.
He and American Reilly Opelka went 7-6, 6-7, 7-6 before the Russian prevailed in Miami two years ago. And Opelka beat him the last time they played.
As well, potential quarterfinal opponent Roberto Bautista Agut is 2-0 against him, including a victory inside the US Open bubble in the tuneup tournament last August.
Miami Open Contenders – Best Previous Results
|Player||Trips to Miami||Best Result|
|Daniil Medvedev||2||R16 (2019)|
|Andrey Rublev||5||R32 (2019)|
|Stefanos Tsitsipas||2||R16 (2019)|
|Alexander Zverev||5||F (2018)|
|Milos Raonic||9||QF (’18, ’16, ’14)|
|Denis Shapovalov||2||SF (2019)|
|Jannik Sinner||0||First visit|
|Aslan Karatsev||0||First visit|
Few Former Champions in the Field
There were so many withdrawals this year, for various reasons, that No. 32 seed Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan is ranked No. 44.
That means 12 of the top 32 players in the world – not just the “Big 3” – passed.
🎾Draw without lots of top players at the first Masters 1000 of the year. Djokovic (1), Nadal (3), Thiem (4), Federer (6)…. drop out.
➡️Seeds:Medvedev (1), Tsitsipas (2),
Zverev (3), Rublev (4) pic.twitter.com/lEG0lMMgb8
— WTATP (@WTATPcoverage) March 22, 2021
Only John Isner (who has hardly played in 2021) and Andy Murray (who is coming back from a hip replacement and needed a wild card) have won in Miami and are in this year’s draw.
So prior championships experience, clearly, won’t be a factor.
Previous Miami Open Winners and Finalists
|2019|| Roger Federer|| John Isner|
|2018|| John Isner|| Alexander Zverev|
|2017|| Roger Federer|| Rafael Nadal|
|2016|| Novak Djokovic|| Kei Nishikori|
|2015|| Novak Djokovic|| Andy Murray|
|2014|| Novak Djokovic|| Rafael Nadal|
|2013|| Andy Murray|| David Ferrer|
Acapulco champion Alexander Zverev, the one younger player who does have a deep Miami run on his resumé, ended up in Medvedev’s half.
The Russian has beaten Zverev four of the last five times they’ve played.
First-Round Upsets to Watch
- Thiago Monteiro (+170) over Kevin Anderson (-215): Anderson lost the first round at the Australian Open and has pulled out of every tournament since then. He’s clearly not 100-percent.
- Joao Sousa (+205) over Christopher O’Connell (-265): Sousa is having a terrible 2021 so far. But he has had some impressive victories in Miami during his career, while O’Connell hasn’t beaten anyone in the top 150 since leaving Australia, and has never played Miami before.
Best Bet: Andrey Rublev (+450)
Longer shot: Aslan Karatsev (+1700)