Miami Open Update: DC's Frances Tiafoe Faces World No.2 Daniil Medvedev in Blockbuster ‘Sweet 16’ Showdown Today around 2:30 p.m. EST!
Top American John Isner Leads Off Action at 11 a.m. & Andrey Rublev & Marin Cilic Headline Nightcap Clash around 8:30 p.m.
The tennis is heating up in Miami, where Citi Open’s top stars are aiming to go the distance at the first big combined ATP/WTA event of the season.
Today, DC phenom and Washington Kastles all-star Frances Tiafoe will take on world No. 2, top seed, and 2019 Citi Open finalist Daniil Medvedev in a blockbuster “sweet 16” showdown you don’t want to miss.
The College Park native and star JTCC alum is playing his best tennis of the season. He defeated three tough players to set up the fourth-round encounter against Medvedev, including British No. 1 and world No. 29 Dan Evans, 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-3, and most recently Serbian world No. 26 Dusan Lajovic, 1-6, 7-5, 6-3.
Tiafoe also appears stronger mentally. The 2019 Australian Open quarterfinalist fought back after losing the first set in all three of his prior matches. But he’ll be pushed to the max by Medvedev, who is looking to claim his first Miami Open and fourth ATP Masters title.
Riding a late-season rally in 2020 that saw him win the Paris Rolex Masters and Nitto ATP Finals in London, the Russian No. 1 and 2019 Citi Open finalist propelled his country to victory at the ATP Cup and reached his second Grand Slam final at the Australian Open.
Medvedev also leads their career head-to-head, 3-0, defeating Tiafoe in 2019 in their first ATP meeting in DC, and last season at the Australian Open and US Open. But the Russian might be vulnerable. The Moscow native battled severe cramps in his previous match against world No. 86 Alexei Popyrin, 7-6(3), 6-7(7), 6-4.
“The only thing I was thinking about is not to fall down, because if I fall down, I don't think I would be able to get up,” said Medvedev after the win.
Should Tiafoe prevail, he would reach the Miami quarterfinals for the second time, having previously done so in 2019, when he lost to another Citi Open star Denis Shapovalov in three sets. Medvedev has yet to advance beyond the round of 16 in Miami.
Three-time Citi Open finalist John Isner leads off the action today. The American No. 1 takes on Spanish world No. 12 Roberto Bautista Agut for a spot in the quarterfinals at 11 a.m. EST.
Isner leads their career head-to-head, 3-1, and won their last encounter, in 2019, in the quarterfinals of the Miami Open, but has not been very active since the Covid-19 outbreak. He opted to skip the Australian Open this year, due to coronavirus travel and quarantine requirements, and played only four matches heading into Miami this year.
The hard-serving American was pushed to three sets in his opening match by compatriot Mackenzie McDonald, 2-6, 6-3, 7-5, but found his rhythm in the next round, edging Next-Gen superstar and Canadian world No. 18 Felix Auger-Aliassime, 7-6(5), 7-6(5), on Sunday.
“It was a big test for me,” said Isner afterward. “There’s probably not many places in the world where I like my chances against Felix. I’m kind of lucky to play him here in Miami, where I like it a lot. If I were to play him on clay somewhere in Europe, it’d probably be a different story.”
Isner has indeed fared well in the Sunshine State. The North Carolina native won his first Masters 1000 title and biggest title of his career, to date, at the 2018 Miami Open, the year he also achieved a career-high ranking of No. 8 in the world, and reached the final in 2019, when he ultimately yielded to 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer.
Elsewhere, 2018 Citi Open semifinalist and world No. 8 Andrey Rublev continues to effortlessly advance in Miami. The Russian No. 2 has dropped just six games en route to the sweet 16. After defeating former Kastles star Tennys Sandgren, 6-1, 6-2, he dispatched No. 29 seed Márton Fucsovics by a near-identical score, 6-2, 6-1.
Tonight, the Moscow native takes on 2014 US Open champion and two-time Citi Open semifinalist Marin Cilic for a spot in the quarters. The 32-year-old Croatian veteran was pushed to three sets in his opening two matches, but improved with a third-round win over Italian Lorenzo Musetti, 6-3, 6-4, to reach the round of 16 for the first time since 2018, when he fell to Isner in straight sets.
Watch Andrey & Marin LIVE on Tennis Channel TONIGHT around 8:30 p.m. EST!
In other Citi Open news, two-time DC semifinalist and world No.5 Stefanos Tsitsipas has so far encountered little resistance in Miami. The Greek star and No. 2 seed defeated Damir Džumhur, 6-1, 6-4, in his opening match and ousted 2015 Citi Open champ and former world No. 4 Kei Nishikori, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, yesterday to advance to the round of 16. Up next, Tsitsipas faces Italian No. 28 seed Lorenzo Sonego for a spot in the quarters.
On the women’s side, reigning Citi Open champ and Buffalo, New York native Jessica Pegula lost a very close match to No. 23 seed Maria Sakkari, 6-4, 2-6, 7-6(6), in the round of 16, but is still alive in doubles, partnering with Asia Muhammad.
The pair upset No. 3 seed and former Washington Kastles star Nicole Melichar and Demi Schuurs in the first round, 6-2, 6-2, then squeaked past Petra Martic and former Kastle Shelby Rogers after losing the first set, 4-6, 6-3, 10-3, to advance to the quarterfinals.
Today, Pegula and Muhammad take on No. 8 seeds Luisa Stefani and Hayley Carter, around 1 p.m. Should they advance, the tandem could face reigning Citi Open doubles champions Coco Gauff and Caty McNally in the semifinals.
McCoco, as the pair are affectionately known, have been equally hot in Miami. They dismissed Raluca Olaru and Nadiia Kichenok, 6-3, 6-1, in their opening match, then upset No. 2 seeds Barbora Krejcíková and Katerina Siniaková in a nailbiter, 6-7(5), 6-4, 10-8, to reach the Miami quarterfinals for the first time.
Gauff and McNally will have to get past Canadian-Mexican duo Gabriela Dabrowski and Giuliana Olmos, around 2:30 p.m., to set up the potential final four encounter.