Dominic Thiem seeks to continue his excellent run of form going into Miami. The Austrian will be high on confidence after finally breaking his Masters 1000 duck at Indian Wells. He will play against Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz, himself a man in form.
Outside the top 180 this time last year, Hurkacz continues to rise up the rankings. Now at No.54, he should find himself inside the top 50 before long. He picked up a number of shock wins at Indian Wells, including Kei Nishikori, before falling at the quarter finals stage. He put in an admirable effort against Roger Federer in the quarter finals but could not get much on return throughout. Hurkacz is in the second round after a strong straight sets win against Matteo Berretini.
There’s little rest for Thiem, who is back on court Friday after his massive efforts at the weekend. Adding Nicolas Massu to his team looks to have worked wonders for the Austrian. “He’s giving a lot of positive energy in between points,” he said of Massu. “We had good practise sessions during the 12 or 13 days before Indian Wells, and I got back in shape, so it’s working great so far.”
Thiem will hope to become part of a select group that has done the Indian Wells-Miami double. While he will not be the favourite, especially in Novak Djokovic’s half, it’s hard to write him off entirely in this form and the conditions at this tournament. Despite the best tournament of his career, he is not getting carried away with himself. “It didn’t really change anything because these tournaments are very tough from the beginning,” said Thiem. “Just like at Indian Wells, I’m just trying to be focused and fully into the tournament from the first ball.”
Prediction – Dominic Thiem in straight sets