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Sweet 16! A closer look at the men’s singles round of 16 at Miami

The round of 16 is set on the men’s side at the Miami Open. We look at each matchup ahead of Tuesday’s action.

It’s all to play for on Tuesday in Florida, where all eight round of 16 matchups will take the court on Tuesday. Here’s what we’ll be watching for…

First, a look at Tuesday’s schedule:

And now the matchups…

[Q] Thanasi Kokkinakis vs [2] Alexander Zverev

It has been a spectacular season for Australia’s Thanasi Kokkinakis. He claimed his maiden ATP title at Adelaide then won the doubles title at the Australian Open with his mate Nick Kyrgios. The Aussie’s good fortunes have continued in Miami, where he edged No 13-seeded Diego Schwartzman in round two before taking out American Denis Kudla in the third round. Kokkinakis will need another gear if he is to get by Alexander Zverev, however. The No 2 seed is a 2018 finalist at Miami and plays a style of game that can thrive in the slow conditions.

[1] Daniil Medvedev vs Jenson Brooksby

Medvedev is two wins away from returning to No 1 after Miami, but the talented Russian has his sights set higher. He’s in Miami to take the title.

“I’m going to have more motivation to try to win the tournament, because like this, I’m going to win 700 more points [if I do],” Medvedev said earlier in the week. “So, yeah, I think I’m definitely happy that I have reached [No 1], and a lot of motivation to try to be there for a long time.

He’ll have his hands full with Brooksby. The American isn’t just talented he also has a lot of grit. Brooksby rallied from 4-0 down in the final set to take out Roberto Bautista Agut on Monday for yet another signature win.

[11] Taylor Fritz vs Miomir Kecmanovic

Red-hot Taylor Fritz is riding a nine-match winning streak in Miami, as he prepares to face Miomir Kecmanovic for the second time this month. It was Fritz who edged the Serb, 6-1 in the third set, of their Indian Wells quarterfinal. But don’t sleep on Kecmanovic – the 22-year-old Serb improved to 16-6 on the season with his straight-sets win over Sebastian Korda, and looks to be blossoming under coach David Nalbandian.

[6] Casper Ruud vs [10] Cameron Norrie

What is the logical progression for Cameron Norrie against Casper Ruud? The British No 1 was blasted off the court in the San Diego final last year by Ruud, winning just two games. A month later he fell to Ruud 6-4 in the third set at the ATP Finals in Turin. Based on Norrie’s fine form, their third meeting should be as close as the second.

But we must take into account the fact that Ruud is a vastly improved hard court player, even if he has not had the chance to prove it yet in 2022 – the Norwegian missed the Australian Open due to injury and drew Nick Kyrgios in his second match at Indian Wells (the draw nobody wants).

Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia – January 20, 2022 Australia’s Nick Kyrgios reacts during his second round match against Russia’s Daniil Medvedev || 218532_0179

[WC] Nick Kyrgios vs [9] Jannik Sinner

Speaking of Kyrgios, here is the Aussie, looking fit both mentally and physically and playing vintage Kyrgiosian tennis. Everything flows when he is playing with confidence, and that has been the case this month. He nearly knocked out Rafael Nadal at Indian Wells two weeks ago, losing a cliffhanger in the quarterfinals.

Sinner has come through a few cliffhangers himself in Miami. The Italian has saved match points in both of his matches. He saved three against Emil Ruusuvuori in the second round and five against Pablo Carreno Busta in the third round. What will he have left against an in-form Kyrgios?

[28] Frances Tiafoe vs Francisco Cerundolo

Frances Tiafoe took six weeks off to get ailing right elbow right, then returned at Indian Wells, where he lost to Andrey Rublev in the third round. Now it’s time for the American to take another step in Miami, where he reached the quarter-finals in 2019.

Tiafoe knows that without the Big 3 in the mix there are opportunities to win big titles, and he wants to be a part of the equation.

“There is a little space for guys. I mean, there was a while there where you go deep in an event, and you run into Rafa and them, I was, like, Yeah, I’m probably going home. But now guys can win it,” he said.

He’ll be the favorite against Argentina’s Francisco Cerundolo, after taking out the Argentinian’s sibling, Juan Manuel in the third round.

[8] Hubert Hurkacz vs Lloyd Harris

He’s been under the radar but Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz, the defending Miami Open champion, is most definitely in the mix. Hurkacz will meet South Africa’s Harris, a dangerous if inconsistent player, for the first time. Harris has been tapping some great form in Miami. He knocked off No 12-seeded Denis Shapovalov in the second round.

[3] Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Carlos Alcaraz

Rivalry on? They have only met once, but if their epic four-hour thriller at the US Open is any indication, we could be in for a classic on Tuesday. Alcaraz has been climbing the ladder rapidly in 2022. He’s 14-2 and the only players to have defeated him are Matteo Berrettini and Rafael Nadal.

Tsitsipas is still rounding into form after off-season elbow surgery, but he’s looking forward to the challenge of facing the high-flying Spaniard.

“I’m going to try and fight,” Tsitsipas said after his win over De Minaur on Monday night in Miami. “He’s a great player. For me it is going to be a big challenge to step out on the court. I like these kinds of challenges. I’m going to put my soul out there and give it my all.”

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