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If not Alcaraz, then who? A look at other title contenders who could prevail in Miami

Many have tabbed Carlos Alcaraz as the favourite to win the Miami Open title on Sunday, but who else might step in and raise the trophy?

Daniil Medvedev, Indian Wells 2023 Daniil Medvedev, Indian Wells 2023 – © AI / Reuters / Panoramic

Carlos Alcaraz rides an eight-match winning streak into his Miami Open round of 16 tilt with Tommy Paul, and he is looking like the odds-on favourite to win the title. But what if the 19-year-old falters? Who has a shot at taking him out, and which players have the potential to take the title?

Our list… starting with…

Daniil Medvedev: Legit Contender

The Russian declared — rather humorously — at Indian Wells that he is a “specialist” on hard courts, and if we really want to be specific we can say that he’s more of a fast hard-court specialist than a slow hard-court specialist.

Allow us to elaborate…

If Medvedev can reach the final at Indian Wells, on a slow-as-molasses surface, then he surely can do it in Miami — where the speed of the courts are much faster. And when we take into account that Medvedev has won 20 of his last 21, losing only to Alcaraz in last Sunday’s BNP Paribas Open final, we see that he is still very much in torrid form. Perhaps he can win it all.

Jannik Sinner: Legit Contender

Sinner was disappointed that he couldn’t perform better against Alcaraz in last weekend’s BNP Paribas Open semi-final, but — truth be told — he acquitted himself pretty decently, even if he did lose his way on serve in the second set.

Sinner is a former Miami finalist in the midst of a very strong start to 2023: 16-4 with a title, and one of the few players who matches up semi-favorably with Alcaraz.

We think he has a shot if he matches up with Carlitos again in the semis in Miami (and we’d love to see another edition of the blossoming rivalry).

Jannik Sinner, Indian Wells 2023
Jannik Sinner, Indian Wells 2023 – © Antoine Couvercelle / Panoramic

Taylor Fritz: Longshot

Fritz would have to get through Rune, then Alcaraz just to reach the semis. Hard to see him winning two more matches after that, but there is a lot to be said about Fritz’s consistent win rate over the last year. If the American keeps getting himself deep in draws, he’ll be breaking through on the big stage at some point soon.

Holger Rune, Karen Khachanov: You never know

Both Rune and Khachanov already have a Masters 1000 title to their name (both at the Paris Masters). Hubert Hurkacz was also a contender who fit this bill (won the Miami Masters in 2021), but the Pole lost to Adrian Mannarini during third-round action on Monday. As for Rune and Khachanov, they have proven they can do it — and that means a lot. If we are indeed in an era of first-time Masters 1000 winners — there were five last year; is it a trend? — then we might be barking up the wrong tree.

That said, this talented duo just might be able to buck the trend.

Stefanos Tsitsipas: Longshot (due to shoulder status)

Under normal conditions we’d have the Greek as a legit contender, but given that he enters with a worrisome shoulder injury and low personal expectations, we don’t see him as a contender for big titles until he’s 100 percent healthy.

Tsitsipas managed to beat Cristian Garin in his first match of the fortnight on Monday but struggled in a big way on the backhand side because of his shoulder issue.

Felix Auger-Aliassime and Frances Tiafoe out

We thought Felix Auger-Aliassime and Frances Tiafoe might be longshot contenders, but that did not prove to be the case. Both players lost in the third round on Monday — Auger-Aliassime to Francisco Cerundolo and Tiafoe to Lorenzo Sonego.

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