The two have met each other twice, both on outdoor hard courts last year, and have split the results. The American won their semi-final match at Delray Beach in straight sets, and the Canadian avenged this loss at the Cincinnati Masters in three sets.
Both have looked in great form at Miami, though neither has had it particularly easy thus far. After a shaky start to his Miami campaign where he lost the first set to the British qualifier Dan Evans, Shapovalov raised his game a notch. He won his second match rather easily against the Russian Andrey Rublev, in straight sets.
But he had his most impressive win in the round of sixteen against fellow next-gen star – the talented Stefanos Tsitsipas. The match was an extremely close affair, which can be seen from the fact that each player had won an identical hundred points at the end of the match.
Like his first match, Shapovalov lost the first set, only to come back strongly to take the second. In the deciding third set, both players raised their game, especially on their serve. Neither looked like surrendering their serve at any point.
Predictably, the match had to be decided in the tie-break. It needed a moment of magic from either player, and that is exactly what the Canadian produced when he produced a mini-break by an unbelievable down-the-line forehand winner. That possibly was the moment that sealed the game for him.
His opponent in the quarterfinal – Frances Tiafoe – too has had a memorable Miami Open so far. Having won his first match against Miomir Kecmanovic in straight sets, he won a tight three-setter against the Spanish veteran David Ferrer who was playing possibly his best tennis in the last couple of years, in this tournament.
He had another impressive win against David Goffin. He defeated the former top 10 player in straight sets. Like Shapovalov, he too had a great day on his own serve, where he won 72% of his first serve points and 64% of his second serve points.
At the moment, it is difficult to predict the winner of the match between these two supremely talented players. It could boil down to a few moments of magic. However, the home crowd support may give Tiafoe a slight edge in this match.
Prediction: Frances Tiafoe to win in 3 SetsPublished 28 Mar 2019, 12:00 IST