Copy of 2024-03-27T210534Z_1702918545_MT1USATODAY22881652_RTRMADP_3_TENNIS-MIAMI-OPEN-1711622846877
Jannik Sinner hits a backhand against Tomas Machac during the Miami Open at Hard Rock Stadium. Image Credit: Reuters

Miami: World No 3 Jannik Sinner will face defending champion Daniil Medvedev in the semi-finals of the Miami Open — a rematch of the Australian Open final won by Sinner and last year’s Miami title match.

Sinner moved into the last four in emphatic style on Wednesday, beating Czech Tomas Machac 6-4, 6-2 before Medvedev overcame a stern test against Chilean Nicolas Jarry before emerging with a 6-2, 7-6 (9/7) win.

Italy’s Sinner, who rallied from two sets down to beat Medvedev and claim his first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open, will play in his fourth semi of the season after dealing with lively Machac in 91 minutes.

Sinner broke the opening game serve from the Czech but Machac responded immediately to make it 1-1.

The crowd were on their feet to appreciate some brilliant defensive play from Sinner who eventually took charge of the set, breaking to go 4-3 up and then closing out.

The second set was more straightforward with Sinner breaking in the third game and never looking back.

Despite the comfortable margin of the win, Sinner said Machac deserved praise for his energetic and aggressive performance.

“He has an incredible talent. He is super fast, also physically he is in great shape,” said the world number three.

“I didn’t know exactly what to expect today. The first games I was looking a little bit at what kind of tactics could work or not,” he added.

“I played good, especially in the important moments of the match, which makes it ... the scoreboard, you see the score, but it’s sometimes lying. Today was a little bit like that,” said Sinner.

Copy of 2024-03-28T033146Z_282111330_MT1USATODAY22885189_RTRMADP_3_TENNIS-MIAMI-OPEN-1711622844886
Daniil Medvedev reaches for a backhand against Nicolas Jarry during the Miami Open at Hard Rock Stadium on Wednesday. Image Credit: Reuters

Good atmosphere

Medvedev ran away with the first set against Jarry, who was slow out of the blocks.

But the second set was a different story with the Chilean, roared on by heavily Latin American crowd, finding his big serve.

The pair were inseparable, with plenty of entertaining rallies, until the tiebreaker.

Medvedev missed a chance to win the match at 6-5 up when he came to the net for a routine conversion on match point but found the net — prompting a huge roar from the Chilean fans.

A thumping ace from Jarry made it 7-7 but it was followed with a poor effort which flew long and then on the third match point Medvedev wrapped up the win.

“In the first set I feel like I was playing good level, but nothing extra and it was enough to win, so I was happy about it,” said Medvedev.

“Then he managed to play much better. It was tough rallies, tough points, he served better and yeah, it was a matter of a few points on the tiebreak like it is sometimes in tennis,” he said.

The Russian appeared to enjoy the extra spice provided by the Chilean fans in the stadium.

“To be honest I was ready for it and I was expecting worse, when I say worse (I mean) more cheering fans supporting him.

“It was a pretty good atmosphere, you know even many times the referee was saying like players are ready, but I was like I don’t care, it’s actually not too bad, I’ve seen worse,” he said.

Medvedev said he is looking forward to resuming battle with Sinner after his five-set loss in Melbourne.

“I won the first two sets — which would be enough in Miami,” he quipped.

“But for sure this match is going to be different. I am sure he will adapt again and I am going to talk to my team and see what I can do better.

“I’m going to go out there, 100 per cent ready to win and to make his life tough,” said the Russian.

Copy of Miami_Open_Tennis_16391--0a5b7-1711622841887
Danielle Collins reacts after winning a point against Caroline Garcia, of France, during the Miami Open tennis tournament, Wednesday, March 27, 2024, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky) Image Credit: AP

Collins and Alexandrova win

Danielle Collins and Ekaterina Alexandrova will meet in the semi-finals after victories in the last eight on Wednesday.

Collins powered into the last four with an emphatic 6-3, 6-2 win over France’s Caroline Garcia before Alexandrova emerged triumphant from a near two-hour three set battle with American fifth seed Jessica Pegula.

Thursday will see the opening semi-final with three-time Miami winner Victoria Azarenka up against fourth-seeded Elena Rybakina, the highest ranked player left in the tournament.

Garcia went into the match against Collins on the back of an upset win over third-seeded American Coco Gauff but was unable to get a foothold against the Floridian.

Garcia still appeared to be troubled by an injury to her right shoulder and received some treatment early in the second set.

Collins broke to go 5-3 up in the first set and then held serve for the set, then in the second set broke in the third game and never looked back as she wrapped up the win in one hour and 19 minutes.

Collins reached the semi-finals of Miami six years ago as a qualifier and at 53rd is the lowest ranked semi-finalist in the tournament.

The 30-year-old American is now 4-0 against Garcia and has yet to lose a set to the Frenchwoman but said the numbers didn’t tell the true story.

“I think against someone like Caro, it forces me to be more concentrated. I know I don’t want to give her an inch or she can get in there,” Collins said.

Copy of Miami_Open_Tennis_06794--34ccf-1711622839744
Ekaterina Alexandrova of Russia waves after defeating Jessica Pegula at the Miami Open tennis tournament, Wednesday, March 27, 2024, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier) Image Credit: AP

Garcia said she had felt the pace of back-to-back tournaments.

“It’s been a long two weeks for the body for me, between the back at the beginning and then the she shoulder which came back,” she told reporters, adding that the shoulder issue was a recurrence of a previous injury.

“I think it’s nothing too serious but (shoulder) is always quite problematic for a tennis player,” she said, before adding that Collins had played “an amazing match”.

Collins intends to retire at the end of the year but while she agreed she had a relaxed look to her play, she rejected the idea that it was a result of her impending departure from the sport.

“I think I feel pretty relaxed, but that could be due to a number of things. I’ve got a new hobby. I’m playing some more golf, running more, Pilates, all of these different things,” she said.

“My dog is here. I’m feeling relaxed because I get to be with him at night. I don’t know,” she said with a smile.

Home favourite

Alexandrova beat home favourite Pegula 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, showing plenty of grit in a third set where both players showed signs of fatigue.

Pegula broke to go 4-3 up in the first and broke again to clinch the set but the Russian fought back, breaking in the first game of the second set.

Again 14th seed Alexandrova broke early in the third but she let Pegula back into the set when she double-faulted on break point to leave the set balanced at 3-3.

The pair produced a fantastic rally in the subsequent game which Pegula was able to hold, but at 4-4, Alexandrova struck the decisive blow with Pegula going long on a backhand return on the second break point.

The Russian held to grab the win and fell to her knees in joy at the result.

Alexandrova, who upset world number one Iga Swiatek in the previous round, said it was tough to break down Pegula’s gritty defence.

“I couldn’t understand how it was possible to return that ball it was always back. She was everywhere so I needed to do something,” she said. “I tried to wait and use any opportunities that I got.”

The win was Alexandrova’s third against a top five player this year and she said her success was the result of developing patience.

“You have to wait and wait and something is going to come — and then you have to use it,” she said.