Miami Open predictions: Alcaraz set for successful title defence
- Carlos Alcaraz is chasing the Sunshine Double and is defending champion
- Hubert Hurkacz won the Miami Open in 2021 and was a semi-finalist last year
- Recommended bets:
- Back Carlos Alcaraz to win
- Back Hubert Hurkacz each-way
Last year’s Miami Open was the big breakthrough for Carlos Alcaraz as he defied his 14th seeding to cement his burgeoning status as the rising star in the men’s game.
The then 18-year-old defeated Casper Ruud 7-5 6-4 in the final to become a Masters 1000 champion for the first time and has not looked back since.
Alcaraz returned to world No1 at the expense of Novak Djokovic with Sunday’s Indian Wells Masters triumph over Daniil Medvedev and is a warm favourite to clinch the Sunshine Double in Miami.
Djokovic and Rafael Nadal are notable absentees from the competition but Medvedev, who already has three titles to his name in 2023, will be determined to get some revenge on Alcaraz.
Indian Wells semi-finalist Jannik Sinner, Greek second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, classy Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime and last year’s runner-up Ruud are among those hoping to cause a stir.
Spanish star can enhance growing reputation
Since winning the Miami Open last season, Alcaraz has added five more titles, including two Masters 1000 events as well as his maiden Grand Slam crown at the US Open.
In the absence of Djokovic, Alcaraz is making hay and he is a difficult man to oppose in his title defence, especially given how strongly he has started the season.
Having missed January through injury, Alcaraz returned in February with victory in Buenos Aires and followed that up with a runner-up finish in Rio De Janeiro.
With those two events being played on clay, the El Palmar native showed his versatility with a hard-court victory at Indian Wells last time out, meaning he has lost only one of his 15 matches this year.
And his latest title triumph in California was arguably his most impressive as he won all six matches without dropping a set, not only defeating Medvedev but taking care of Sinner and Auger-Aliassime too.
With Medvedev, Tsitsipas, Auger-Aliassime, Cameron Norrie and Frances Tiafoe all in the bottom half of the draw, things are looking rosy for Alcaraz and he is a strong recommendation at to defend his crown.
Former champ Hurkacz capable of landing the upset
Medvedev has been kept busy in 2023, winning three titles and finishing runner-up at Indian Wells, which could leave him vulnerable to some fresher legs in the bottom half.
Second seed Tsitsipas disappointed at Indian Wells, losing in his opening game to Jordan Thimpson, so perhaps Hubert Hurkacz could be the player that is a touch overpriced.
The Pole was a title winner in Marseille at the end of February and although things did not work out in California most recently, he won this event in 2021 and was also a semi-finalist last year.
Hurkacz had defeated Medvedev in the quarter-final before losing two tense tie-breaks against eventual champion Alcaraz in last season’s event and a return to this venue could spark another upturn in form.