Archives for March 2023

The Picks in Miami: Friday, March 31

Petra Kvitova
Mal Taam/MALTphoto

Daniil Medvedev over Karen Khachanov
Will Khachanov raise up early, and counterattack as soon as he could. He has had a fine tournament, saying that “Since last year’s U.S. Open, semifinals, I think this was a bigger change and bigger step forward, which gave me the current results which I have right now. I would say the confidence and self-belief and all these things, they appear stronger. Now I’m happy that I can show that level constantly and more consistently.” Oh, real? Well that is good, yet the powerful person has had a good year, but not phenomenal. Yes, he looked pretty good at the Australian Open when he reached the semis, but other than that, he has lost against with a variety people, such as Medvedev, who beat him in straight sets in Adelaide. Yes, Khachanov can poke the ball, but can he out-thing with Medvedev, who is there every second? Probably not. Those two Russians are good friends, but on court, it is totally different.  Medvedev will control him, and he also knows how to play him. Medvedev will win in straight sets.

Petra Kvitova over Sorana Cirstea
What a great tournament by Cirstea, who said this year, she became more intense, and to throw different shots. Her serves are still isn’t to great, but she is very quick, and her forehand and her backhand has more diverse. However, the  Czech Kvitova is finally feeling it. When she returns, she bends down, and if she can hit it, then she will punch it, deep. The lefty does not run that fast, but with her forehand and her backhand, she can recreate it, and mix it up, too. Last year she talked about retyring, but now she is back in the game. Cirstea wants to win badly, and she will try hard, but Kvitova will slug past her, and win the match in three romp sets.

Carlos Alcaraz over Jannik Sinner
This should be a terrific match between the two men. The young players have played each other five times, with Alcaraz just beating him at Indian Wells. He also edged Sinner at the 2022 U.S Open in five sets that went on almost forevers, with some unreal shots. Also,, Sinner chopped him down at the 2021 Wimbledon. There rivalry is growing. “He is playing a great level,”Of course I am sure that we are going to play for big things in the future,” Alcaraz said. “I can’t wait to see our [improvement].”

The Spaniard can sprinting with his forehand and his backhand, outstanding in so many different places. The No.1 can hit the ball super hard, and also, he is a darn good player at the net.
The Italian Sinner is also improving at the tournaments. Yes, he can mentally break down, when he makes some mistakes, but he has to raise  his chin. Right after that, instead of becoming upset, the  the 21-yea-old Italian can just move on, ready for the next point. Here is the point, though. Sinner knows how to attack, consistently, and fool him. Alcaraz also knows that he can track it down, move it around, and change. This will be a very close match, but in the end, the Spaniard Alcaraz will win in it in three tough sets.

Thursday picks

Correct: Elena Rybakina over Jessica Pegula 
Correct: Daniil Medvedev over Christopher Eubanks
Correct: Karen Khachanov over Francisco Cerundolo

Matt’s Miami picks

17 out of 26: 65.3% correct

The Picks in Miami: Thursday, March 30

Daniil Medvedev
Mal Taam/MALTphoto

Notes: Due to the rain, yesterday, most of the women’s matches were canceled. Assuming that the rain will stop, we already wrote about Petra Kvitova over Ekaterina Alexandrova, as well as Carlos Alcaraz over Taylor Fritz, – while Jessica Pegula will face Elena Rybakina today.

Elena Rybakina over Jessica Pegula 
Yes, Rybakina  won the 2022 Wimbledon, totally crushing the ball, she returned terrific, and she put it away, early. In January, she also reached the final at the 2023 Australian Open, and she lost in three dramatic sets against Aryna Sabalenka. She was sad, but within a couple days, she rose again. At some point, she will become No. 1, if she is healthy, and  also, she just won Indian Wells, and off course, jumped on Sabalenka for the first time. “It’s not only physically but also kind of like experience, because even being not fresh, you still need to push yourself to find these moments in the match where it can turn around, which is not easy to always to do, but I think for now I’m managing.” Yes she is.
Now, Rybakina can slip, here and there, but she keeps chugging. However, she has to face against  Pegula again. They have played just two times, and the American  won it, at Miami two years ago, and also, at the end of the year.  Pegula beat her 4-6 6-3 7-6(2) in Guadalajara. In Mexico, Pegula eventually won it, and the 29-year-old has pocked it just  two times. At that point, it looked like at some point that she could actually win a Grand Slam, but not yet. However, her forehand and her backhand are massive when she is on, and she will mix it up a lot. As she said, ‘She’s been playing some great tennis. It’s going to be a great test and I think a deserved semi for a tournament like this.” Yes it will, but this time, Rybakina finally hoped it down and she won it in three wild sets.

Daniil Medvedev over Christopher Eubanks
The American Eubanks almost came out of nowhere, upsetting the very good players. It took the Atlanta man for years to improve, and now, his backhand is much better, and also, with his return, too. However, Medvedev has been playing great over the past two and half months, beating almost everyone.
The Russian won three events in a row, in Rotterdam, Doha and Doha. At Indian Wells, he reached the final and finally, he lost, going against the No. 1, Carlos Alcaraz. But here, he is there again, into the quarters. Medvedev has said that when he isn’t playing great, he can just be more stable, and move it all around. His backhand and his forehand are almost perfect when he is playing terrific, and he rarely makes a lot of errors. This is a great day for Eubanks, and the fans will be cheering for him, but the American will be confused during the match. Because of that, Medvedev will win in straight sets.

Karen Khachanov over Francisco Cerundolo
Karen Khachanov upset Stefanos Tsitsipas with some massive strokes, and while the Greek appeared was a little bit injured, the Russian hit the balls very deep and hard. Maybe he is turning it around, as he did reach the semis at the 2023 Australian Open. However, he is ranked No. 16, which is good, but he certainly wants to go into the top five this year. They all do. He can blast the ball, but his return is still so-so.

His opponent,  Cerundolo, has had a so-so year, not going deep, until he landed in Miami. The Argentine was struggling, all the way back in July, and he reached the semis in Hamburg, but after that, he did not do it again, in eight months. Cerundolo is only 24- year-old,  so he did say that currency, he is going to have to try to rip the ball, when he can, and he did upset Felix Auger-Aliassime in Miami. Now he is calm, and leaping on the ball. Maybe he will, to return a lot, and serve into the corners, so he can out-last Khachanov on the hardcourts. This really is a toss-up, but deep in the third set, in a tiebreaker, Khachanov will nail him and win it.

Wednesday picks

Correct: Jannik Sinner over Emil Ruusuvuori
Aryna Sabalenka over Sorana Cirstea

Matt’s Miami picks

14 out of 23: 60.9% correct

The Picks in Miami: Wednesday, March 29

Sorana Cristea
Mal Taam/MALTphoto

Aryna Sabalenka over Sorana Cirstea
She is on cruise control, and while her serves can be spotty, but her forehand and her backhand are mind blowing. Sabalenka is very loud, and she can swing super hard, and she goes for the lines almost immediately. Cirstea has had a terrific tournament, with some solid depths. She can throw it around, and also, she can fool you. However, while she has been a very depth player, but she is aging, so while Cirstea  will stay for a little while, she frankly is not as good against the No. 2 Sabalenka. At least Cirstea will win a set, but in the third set, Sabalenka will win it, stepping on her.  

Jannik Sinner over Emil Ruusuvuori
The Italian Sinner seems to be more thoughful on court, not becoming very upset, as the 21-year-old knows that he is not playing well, but eventually, he can push it up. He did have a solid tournament at Indian Wells, taking down Taylor Fritz in the quarters, and while he lost the semis against Carlos Alcaraz, he knew that he is right there. The Fin Emil Ruusuvuori had a solid year in 2022, but this season he has not play well at all, except in Miami. Perhaps he started to add some new things, or to focus every second. Even if he does, Sinner  will punch the ball,  super cruel.  Sinner  will win in two easy sets.

Petra Kvitova over Ekaterina Alexandrova
The Czech Kvitova is one of the most powerful people in the past 10 years. Her first serve, her return, and her forehand and her backhand are huge. She did win Wimbledon twice, but that is on the hardcourts, and while she can also be intense, she does not run that fast, and she eventually get very tired.
Alexandrova is rising gradually again, when she thinks on court, thinking about what to do, during the points. She can be fitting, and she can also try to whack on the lines. However, the veteran has never gone deep at the Slams, and believe it or not, the 28-year-old has never made it in the second week. Maybe she can do it eventually, and perhaps she can go further at Miami, but Kvitova is healthy right now and she will win it in two hard-hitting sets.

Carlos Alcaraz over Taylor Fritz
Carlos Alcaraz hit some amazing shots,  and so much variety. He beats Tommy Paul sprinting in the backcourts, and touching at the net. The American Paul played pretty good, but he has to continue to get better. That is not with Fritz, who did reach the top 5 before Indian Wells, his first time. He could not win it again, but here at  Miami, he is playing pretty darn good, with his first serves, his return, and with his grim  forehand. It will be very close again, yet the No. 1 Alcaraz has a tremendous firepower, and in the third set, he will rush the net, and put it away, frequently. The Spaniard will beat the American Fritz, pumping in the air.

Tuesday picks

Correct: Carlos Alcaraz over Tommy Paul
Correct: Jessica Pegula over Anastasia Potapova
Stefanos Tsitsipas over Karen Khachanov

Matt’s Miami picks

13 out of 21: 61.9% correct

The Picks in Miami: Tuesday, March 28

Jessica Pegula
Rick Limpert

Carlos Alcaraz over Tommy Paul
Once again, the Spaniard is improving each day, with his gigantic forehand, his wild backhand, and his wonderful play at the net. Yes, he has almost the deep shots, but he can trip himself. The American Paul won two days ago, and now he will leave at least No. 18, the highest ever. He is so much smarter, and he believes that when he is on, he can upset everyone. That is possible, but Alcaraz will go for it, early, and attach close to the lines. The Spaniard will win in three tough sets.

Stefanos Tsitsipas over Karen Khachanov
Is it a real toss up? I would think so, given that Tsitsipas has had a a very good year, but not fantastic. Yes, he won Brisbane in early January, and then he reached the final at the Australian Open, but he could not trip up Novak Djokovic. After that, the  Greek began to skid, and while he can hit a lot of topspin, at times, it is too short. Perhaps his shoulder is pretty sore. Khachanov is a tall, powerful player, and his serves are very hard. He can swing pretty darn ruthless, and the Russian can also attempt to drive very vast. However, Khachanov can fall back, mentally, and while Tsitsipasis can be up and down, still, he will be more valid. Tsitsipasis will win it in two tiebreaks.

Jessica Pegula over Anastasia Potapova
The last time they have played each other was 10 days ago at Indian Wells, and the American won it 7-5 in the third set. That was jolly close. Pegula was more steady at the end, and she also mixed it a lot, and with depth, too. The Russian Potapova is also pretty heady, and she did have a terrific week, when she won in Linz, but other than that, she can break down. Also, she forgets what she is doing. Yes the 21-year-old Potapova has a lot of potential, but she is not even close to reach into the top 5 this year. Perhaps we are wrong, but she had to prove it. Pegula will edge her once again, this time in two long sets.

Mannarino over Eubanks
Can you believe that the American Christopher Eubanks won it late at night, and now he will finally be in the top 100 for the first time. He knows that he has to play immediately and face the veteran Adrian Mannarino. That will be a very nice show, but the Frenchman over will win it in straight sets.

Francisco Cerundolo over Lorenzo Sonego
Lorenzo Sonego just upset Frances Tiafoe when it was late at Miami. On Tuesday, he will face  Francisco Cerundolo who also upset Felix Auger-Aliassime. Everyone wants to throw in the famous upsets. Take Cerundolo to over win it in straits sets.

Injury report
That was a brutal match with Bianca Andreescu, who went down on the ground and she possibly broke her leg. She was screaming with in a lot of pain. It is too bad because the Canadian was playing terrific again, and now she might not play for months. We do not know, yet. Ekaterina Alexandrova has moved on moving ahead.

Monday picks

Correct: Sorana Cirstea over Marketa Vondrousova
Frances Tiafoe over Lorenzo Sonego
Gregoire Barrere over Christopher Eubanks

Matt’s Miami picks

11 out of 18: 61.1% correct

The Picks in Miami: Monday, March 27

Frances Tiafoe
Mal Taam/MALTphoto

Frances Tiafoe over Lorenzo Sonego
The American has had some dramatic matches, this year, and during each set, he puts together his awesome strokes. However, he can forget his control, and then he loses, which means that if he wants to go into the top 10, he has to shift some new things. The Italian Sonego has put together some fun wins, and two years ago, he almost cracked the top 20, but he could not, and perhaps he doesn’t have enough depth. He can knock back his forehand and his backhand, but to really go for it, then he has to take some risks. He won’t in Miami, and Tiafoe will win it in two decent sets.

Gregoire Barrere over Christopher Eubanks
Believe it or not, the American has yet to reach the top 100, but if he can win a few more matches, then he will be there. Eubanks actually had a good fall, winning lots of matches, and yes, it wasn’t beating the very good players, but pretty decent. Perhaps the 26-year-old is now more thoughtful, on the court, and he is growing up. The veteran Barrere has been playing for a pretty long time, and the Frenchman has been decent, but the 29-year-old has yet to reach the to 50. Everyone wants to, to win an event, anywhere, anytime. However, even to reach the top 30, he has to upgrade much more. This season, though, Barrere took down John Isner and David Goffin. That was impressive, and  Barrere will defeat Eubanks in two long sets.
Sorana Cirstea over Marketa Vondrousova
The Romanian had a dusty year at Indian Wells, upsetting Madison Keys and Caroline Garcia.  On the hardcourts, Cirstea sprinted forward, instead of just pushing the ball back. Since she is 32-years-old, she does know that soon, she will retire in a few years, so she decided to charge whenever she can. Another Czech, Vondrousova, has been very respectable this year, knocking down Ons Jabeur. Yes, there are so many very good Czech players, so she will have to Improve a huge amount. This is almost a toss up, because Vondrousova can blast the ball, but Cirstea will be steady again, and she will win it in three sets, possible in three hours. They will be super tired, that is for sure.

Jessica Pegula over Magda Linette
Will Jessica Pegula actually win a huge event at the United States? Perhaps, but Magda Linette is very confident, but the American will win in three.

Felix Auger-Aliassime over Francisco Cerundolo
Last year, Felix Auger-Aliassime was rising fast, but now he has been decent, but not fantastic, so against the very good player, Francisco Cerundolo, Auger-Aliassime  win it in three long sets.

Bianca Andressscu over Ekaterina Alexandrova
We never know what Bianca Andreescu will do on court, but over the past three weeks, she was running all the time, and she did not get tired. She is on fire, so she will edge against Ekaterina Alexandrova, another very good player, but the Canadian is on fire.

Sunday picks

Correct: Jannik Sinner over Grigor Dimitrov
Correct: Taylor Fritz over Denis Shapovalov
Correct: Barbora Krejcikova over Madison Keys

Matt’s Miami picks

10 out of 15: 66.7% correct

The Picks in Miami: Sunday, March 26

Denis Shapovalov
Mal Taam/MALTphoto

Taylor Fritz over Denis Shapovalov
Last week, the American finally had being in the top five. It look Fritz  for five years, but gradually, he became all around with his strokes. Unfortunately, he won Indian Wells last year, but last week, he lost on the quarterfinals and he went back down to No. 10. Oh, well, he can try to do it again. Fritz is usually right there, against everyone, but he still has to add his game, especially at the net and return. The Canadian has also been playing for another five years, and he has won many matches, but he has lost quiet  bit. He does mix it around, and he can also attack, but he travels way to much, which is why he is just No. 30. Hopefully, when he can adjust, and change it. These two are pretty close when they play each other, with there forehands and there backhands, but whom ever throws together a huge amount of the first serves, he will win. It has to be Fritz, in the third set.

Jannik Sinner over Grigor Dimitrov
The Italian can play amazing, when he is bolted  in, but also, he can can spray the ball, out. This year, Sinner can go even further, to win an ATP 1000, or even deeper at the Slams. But he has to prove it, just like he did in 2021 Miami when he reached the final. Try to again. Years ago, Dimitrov was ranked in the top 3, and he had said that for sure, he can win a Slam. He is stylish, and his backhand goes everywhere, but his forehand and his return are pretty darn good, but not fantastic. He has reached at the Slams into the semis three times, but he could not go further at the scrappy mountain. Sinner might freak out, if he isn’t play wonderful, but he will hit it very hard, close to the lines, and win it in three sets.

Barbora Krejcikova over Madison Keys
The Czeck has had a good  year, winning Dubai when she took down the No. 1, Iga Swiatek in the final. Yes, she can hick-up, and she can miss some ODD shots, but she can also be super consistent, from the backcourt, and also, rushing the net, too. That is the reason that she won the 2021 Roland Garros, sliding and dancing around.
The American Keys has also gone deep, especially at the hardcourts, but she gets hurt a lot now, and while she can mash her forehand and her backhand, but she is not brisk enough, and her opponents can pull her way off court. Keys can be ready to kiss the lines, but Krejcikova knows that, and she will move her around, everywhere. The Czech will win in two long sets.

Saturday picks

Correct: Jessica Pegula over Danielle Collins
Coco Gauff over Nadia Podoroska
Ben Shelton over Adrian Mannarino

Matt’s Miami picks

7 out of 12: 58.3% correct

The Picks in Miami: Saturday, March 25

Danielle Collins
Ron Cioffi/TR

Jessica Pegula over Danielle Collins
It is hard to figure out how she is playing. At certain weeks, Pegula plays so locked in, and other times, she will be exactly where she should go, and which kinds of shots. She can be obsessive, or then, she is thinking about should she go for it, immediately, or just be patient. Collins can also lose her control, as over the past 14 months, as she has been mediocare, at best. Yes, she did reach the finals at the 2022 Australian Open, which was wonderful, but after tht, she has only reached two semis. The veteran Collins really wants to become much better again, and as Pegula said, “It feels weird that we’re playing each other in the third round. It seems very soon, very early. We know each other’s games very well. But it’s going to be a very tough match.” It will, and Pegula will out-last Collins in three tough sets.

Coco Gauff over Nadia Podoroska
The last time that the played each other when Podoroska retired in Montreal, as she was hurt. Over the past two years, Gauff has improved a good amount, but now the Russian Podoroska has become much more important, with the 21-year-old won Linz in February. She can really hit, and also, she is very rapidly. However, while she can hit together some astounding shots, but she isn’t ready to take down the top 10 players, immediately. That can be soon, though. Gauff is pretty steady, and significant, but she still has to work with her forehand. That can be soon, though, but on the hardcourt, Gauff will bite  Podoroska in three dramatic sets.

Ben Shelton over Adrian Mannarino
Each month, Shelton is improving a lot, and now the 20-year old is ranked No. 39. Not many of the young players are in the top 40, try just three, himself, Carlos Alcaraz and Holger Rune. Shelton is very swift player, and he yells, very loud, after he had smacked a winner. The fans really seem to like him. However, this year, he did had a fine tournaments at the Australian Open, but beyond that, he has lost a number of matches. Clearly, Shelton has to improve all the time, and then on court, he can think about which way to adjust the strokes.
The Frenchman Mannarino has played forever, each week, every where. He certainly loves to play all the time. Mannarino  really mixes it up, and he is formal, but the reason why he has never gone deep at the Slams or the ATP 1000’s  is because he isn’t fast enough. That will be a close match, but Shelton will drive his terrific forehand and win it in three marathon sets.

Friday picks

Correct: Belinda Bencic vs Leylah Fernandez
Correct: Andrey Rublevc vs J.J Wolf
Anhelina Kalinina vs Sofia Kenin

Matt’s Miami picks

6 out of 9: 66.7% correct

The Picks in Miami: Friday, March 24

Belina Bencic

Belinda Bencic vs Leylah Fernandez
At what point will the Swiss Bencic win a huge event, again. Years ago, she won the Canadian Open, and it looked like that she was heading to the top. In 2020, she was ranked No. 4, but she could not go further, as not only that she became injured, but she did not improve with her serve, and at the net. Yet she is still trying, as is Fernandez, who reached the final at the 2021 US Open. Then, the fast player would get it back all the time, and she was so assured, but not know. Yes, she is a little bit better, but the younger person is still trying to figure out, and exactly what she is needing to do.  
Bencic can be a bit odd, but when she starts playing well, then she attack early. She will, beating Fernandez in two bully sets.

Anhelina Kalinina vs Sofia Kenin

The Ukranian Kalinina is currently ranked No. 28, which is pretty good, but she has yet to win a tournament. She has not gone deep enough, but once and a while, she can move up the ladder. At the start of the year, she beat Kenin in Hobart, in three sets. Although Kalinina has lost at various times, but still, the results was close.  Kenin , who won the  2020 Australian Open, she is ranked outside of the top 150. Yes, gradually, if she is really center, then at some point she will go into the top 100, or something. Kenin can really run, and go for it when she has a chance  to splash a winner. But at this point, she is not there, yet.  Kalinina is more suitable, and she will seize it in three sets.

Andrey Rublev J.J Wolf The American J. J. Wolf upset Alexander Bublik 7-5, 6-3, which was somewhat surprising, but he can be intense, and also, now, he is more patient. Yes, he can get angry when he isn’t playing well, so on court, he has to turn it around, and stay in your head. He is going to have to, as Rublev is ranked No 7, and he has beaten many very good players. The Russian will pound him, as hard as he can, and he will win the match, with some gigantic serves.

Wednesday picks

Correct: Azarenka d. Giorgi
Correct: Molcan d. Thompson
Garin d. Giron

Matt’s Miami picks

4 out of 6: 66.7% correct

The Picks in Miami: Thursday, March 23

Victoria Azarenka
Mal Taam/MALTphoto

Marcos Giron vs Cristian Garin
The American Giron can move up the rankings. The former UCLA college champion took himself a while to grow, on court, and now he is ranked No. 71. But that is not enough. While he does hits the shots, constantly, but he is not more aggressive, and touch on the lines. To be able to beat Garin, he has to not only to be patient, but he has to move forward. The South American Garin has had a difficult year, but at Indian Wells he qualified and then he upset the No. 4 Casper Ruud. That was a huge win, but he isn’t quite there,yet. On the hard courts, Giron will win in three long sets

Alex Molcan vs Jordan Thompson
Last year, Molcan was coming around. The Slovakian started going up the ladder, but over the past few months, he dropped, struggling. Now he is ranked top 56. He can be very patient, or when he gets the opportunity, he can swing very hard. He also said that he can win a huge tournament. He is still waiting.

Thompson qualified, which means that he is playing pretty well, but the 28-year-old have lost to many different players. He did have a terrific win, at IW, upsetting Stefanos Tsitsipas. However, he lost in the next round, so the No. 83 is not consistent. Molcan will out-hit Thompson, in the third set, with some very hard forehands.

Victoria Azarenka vs Camila Giorgi
Where is the former two-time Grand Slam champion Azarenka going? To play great, day after day, or stay there for a few days, and then, she will go down, unsure that she can exactly do. She has to prove it once again.

The Italian Giorgi has had a decent season, winning Mexico in February. Yes, she has been there for a long time, but now, even though she can be steady, but to beat most anyone, she has to jump on the ball ASAP. Azarenka did reach the semis at the 2023 Australian Open, so when she is there and healthy, then this incredible player can hit so many excellent winners. But, after Melbourne, she lost early, a lot. In her first match, it appears that she is heathy enough and push Giorgi outside of the wall. Azarenka will win in two sets.

Wednesday’s predictions

Correct: Bianca Andreescu  vs. Emma Raducanu
Correct: Sloane Stephens vs. Shelby Rogers
Andy Murray vs. Dusan Lajovin

The Picks in Miami: Wednesday, March 22

Bianca Andreescu

Bianca Andreescu  vs. Emma Raducanu
The Canadian is rising again, and given that she won the 2019 US Open, everything is possible. But not quite yet, as Andreescu is playing better, but she can also mentally disappear. The same goes with the Great Britain, Raducanu, who also won the 2021 US Open, when she was on top of the ball. But the 20-year-old lost her way, and she still is trying to pick up the peaces. This will be a marathon, and Andreescu will out-last Raducanu in three brutal sets.

Sloane Stephens vs. Shelby Rogers
The one-time Grand Slam champion, Stephens, has not done much over the past few years. At times, she does look impressive, but that is very rare. Rogers can be up and down, and there are times when she can be real, and she will go for the lines, but she can also miss a number of shots. However, Rogers knows that Stephens is struggling each week, so in Miami, she will were her down, mentally. Rogers will win it in three, long sets.

Andy Murray vs. Dusan Lajovin  
The 35-year old Andy Murray has improved this year, and while he is aging, he still strokes it. His backhand is so solid, and also, he can really mix it up. Lajovin can be consistent, and he will attempt to bash the ball, but he has never gone deep at the Slams, which is why Murray will win  in two easy sets.