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World No 103 Francisco Cerundolo reaches Miami semis, as Sinner retires with blisters

Unseeded Francisco Cerundolo’s dream week continues in Miami. The 23-year-old reached the semi-finals thanks to Jannik Sinner’s retirement

Italy’s Jannik Sinner overcame adversity to take his place in the quarter-finals at Miami, twice coming from multiple match points down to reach the round of 16, then dealing with a maelstrom known as Nick Kyrgios to reach the last eight. But on Wednesday foot blisters took the No 9 seed down, the 20-year-old forced to retire after just five games against Argentina’s Francisco Cerundolo.

“Today my emotions are, I don’t know, weird, because I wanted to play, I wanted to try to win the match in a correct way,” Cerundolo said in a television interview after the match.

Later the Argentinian says that he will be happier when he has time to reflect on his newfound success. Right now he wants to continue pushing himself to go deeper in the draw.

“Yesterday I was delighted,” he said. “I was really happy. I couldn’t believe it, reaching quarter-finals. Now I’m in the semi-finals, but I think tomorrow or tonight I would be more happy for what I have done these two weeks, and hopefully it doesn’t end. I want to play my best on Friday and try to win and make to the finals.”

Cerundolo – from zero to semis

Cerundolo entered this week’s draw at Miami with just 24 ATP matches under his belt, and ten wins – but none on a hard court. The 23-year-old Buenos Aires native entered the main draw with a 0-2 lifetime record on hard courts, but after wins over Tallon Griekspoor, Reilly Opelka, Gael Monfils, Frances Tiafoe and Sinner, he now stands at 5-2 lifetime on the surface.

Cerundolo is making his Masters 1000 debut this week in Miami – he will now face Casper Ruud in the semi-finals. He is projected to rise from 103 to 51 in the ATP rankings as a result of reaching the last four in Miami.

He said that he had no idea Sinner was ailing until the last game that was played.

“When I was serving at 3-1, 30-0, I saw him bending down,” he said. “It was really strange. I didn’t see anything wrong and I hope he is ok, he is a great player.

“It means a lot. It is everything I want and have dreamed of. First Masters 1000, first semi-final … it’s gonna change everything now.”

Top-10? For now, just keep improving…

In his post-match press conference a reporter told Cerundolo that a former player had just texted him and told him that he believed Cerundolo is a future top-10 player. Cerundolo was flattered but says he wants to keep improving – top-10 is a long way down the road.

“I believe myself that I can keep improving, keep moving up,” he said. “Of course a dream that I have to be a top-10 player, I’m working a lot to be there. Yeah, I don’t know. It’s not a goal right now. It’s happening this week is going to change a lot of things, but yeah, hopefully I can be a top-10 player in the future. It’s not something that I’m thinking about right now, but yeah, I will work to achieve that and many more things hopefully.”

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