Already seen as being in the more favourable side of the draw, the likes of Andrey Rublev will feel their chances of winning the title are slightly bigger now with a potential final against Daniil Medvedev off the table thanks to the Russian’s surprise loss on Monday. There is a still way to go though and Rublev must first beat Frances Tiafoe to make it to the last eight.
Tiafoe is just one place below his career high ranking but would likely need at least two wins to achieve a new high ahead of defending a R16 in Miami. He avoided a potential shock in his opener here, beating the highly touted Brandon Nakashima 6-4 6-4. It was a strong serving performance for the 28th seed, who hit 9 aces overall.
Other than Rafael Nadal, there is not a player in better form than Rublev this year. Now 15-2 on the year, the Russian already has two titles to his name in Marseille and Dubai. They have formed the basis for his current ten match winning streak, which he continued in his opener here with a straight sets win over Dominik Koepfer.
Tiafoe is somewhat of a performer on the big stage as shown by his win in the only match with Rublev to date. He won a five set thriller at the US Open night session last year, finishing the match off after 2am local time. A confident Rublev is a tough opponent to face over three sets with nine titles already over the past 3 years. He is yet to win a Masters 1000 but it only seems a matter of time with the way he is improving.
Prediction – Andrey Rublev in straight sets