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Miami Open tips and predictions: Defending champion Daniil Medvedev makes plenty of appeal

The Miami Open kicks off this week and the big news is that six-time Miami champion Novak Djokovic is a no show due to “balancing my private and professional schedule”.

Following his early exit in Indian Wells, the Serbian announced last week that he would not feature at the Miami Open, where main draw play will kick off on Wednesday.

It remains to be seen how much Djokovic – at the age of 36 – has left at the top but the 24-time major winner has absolutely earned the right to pick and choose his events at this stage of his hall-of-fame career, so it will be interesting to see when he next shows up at an ATP event.

Carlos Alcaraz is a general 2/1 chance with the bookies to claim the ‘Sunshine Double’ - winning the Indian Wells and Miami titles back-to-back – despite the fact it is a tough double to win.

Indeed since 1985 - the year Miami joined Indian Wells on the ATP calendar - only seven men have managed to win both titles in the same year. The last male to do it? Mr Djokovic back in 2016.

Alcaraz defended his Indian Wells title with a straight-set win over Daniil Medvedev at the weekend and that was a clutch victory, given he had not won a tournament before that since Wimbledon last summer.

The Spaniard went into Indian Wells with an ankle injury concern, and was also stung on his forehead as a swarm of bees forced a delay in his quarter-final win over Alexander Zverev, but still played brilliantly in the desert.

At the age of 20 there should be no fitness concerns, though winning the ‘Sunshine Double’ is one of the more difficult tasks in tennis.

Players often have to grind it out in the sweltering heat at Indian Wells and then Miami. Additionally, given the fact that players have to play consecutive matches daily en route to the finals – unlike a Grand Slam when there is generally always a rest day between games - it becomes difficult to win these tournaments in such unique conditions.

Alcaraz was genuinely superb against Jannik Sinner in their Indian Wells semi last week, and the Italian is probably not 100% certain to play here after injuring his wrist when taking a nasty tumble in the final set of that stunning match against Alcaraz.

Sinner would be worth a punt at 11/4 given how well he has started this season, but the wrist problem is enough for us to swerve him in terms of an outright pick.

Indeed defending champion is Daniil Medvedev – a hardcourt specialist – makes plenty of appeal at 6/1.  

He was on fire this time last year, claiming his first title at the Miami Open with a 7-5 6-3 victory against Sinner. The win improved the Russian to 24-1 for the season, and he made five ATP finals on the spin during that run.

Medvedev is a classic counter-puncher with massive cojones who likes to wear opponents down with lengthy baseline rallies. He is much more than a lanky sportsman with a temper. When he is ‘on’ he can be pretty much unplayable.

If Sinner does not play here, the Russian’s half of the draw opens up massively and he looks a play at 6/1.

*odds correct at time of article publication

Suggested bets:

Daniil Medvedev to win the Miami Open


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