Date: 26 March 2021
Tournament: Miami Open 2021
Round: Second round (Round of 64)
Venue: Miami, Florida
Category: WTA 1000
Surface: Outdoor hardcourt
Prize money: $3,340,000
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel | UK - Eurosport
Alexander Zverev vs Emil Ruusuvuori preview
World No. 7 Alexander Zverev will be looking to continue his good start to the 2021 season when he takes on Finland's Emil Ruusuvuori in his opener at Miami on Friday.
Zverev began his year in respectable fashion as he reached the quarterfinals of the 2021 Australian Open, where he lost to Novak Djokovic. The German had his share of chances to take a two sets to one lead over Djokovic, but let the opportunities slip by before eventually losing in four sets.
Having said that, Zverev has been playing with increased self-belief in 2021. The 23-year-old made a return to his title-winning ways at the 500-level event in Acapulco, beating Stefanos Tsitsipas in the championship match.
During the encounter with his Greek rival, Zverev saved three break points on his serve at 4-1 in the first set before storming back to take the match in straight sets.
World No. 83 Emil Ruusuvuori, meanwhile, has steadily climbed up the rankings over the last one year.
The 21-year-old reached the last eight at the Antalya Open at the beginning of the season, losing to top-seeded Adrian Mannarino. He then beat World No. 14 Gael Monfils in his first-round match at the Australian Open, but couldn't make further inroads as he was beaten by qualifier Pedro Martinez in the next match.
Ruusuvuori, who famously won the Rafa Nadal Challenger in 2019, has arrived at Miami in good form. The Finn beat talented 17-year-old Carlos Alcaraz in three sets in the first round of the Masters 1000 tournament.
Alexander Zverev vs Emil Ruusuvuori head-to-head
The second-round match in Miami will be the first-ever career meeting between Alexander Zverev and Emil Ruusuvuori, so the head-to-head currently stands at 0-0.
Alexander Zverev vs Emil Ruusuvuori prediction
Alexander Zverev has been unloading on his forehand regularly these days, using his long levers to gain the initiative in rallies. The German has a world-class backhand too, and is masterful at changing direction on that groundstroke.
The only part of Zverev's game that has significantly held him back has been his second serve. While the 23-year-old kept the double faults at bay during the first few matches of his Acapulco campaign, he committed eight double faults in the final - which almost cost him a set.
Emil Ruusuvuori is a player in the same mold as his German opponent, being equally balanced on both wings from the baseline. The 6'2" Finn also has an accurate serve, which makes him a pretty good all-round player.
Ruusuvuori's return particularly stands out among all the attributes in his game. The 21-year-old contacts the ball with extreme speed and impeccable timing while facing his opponent's serve.
Ruusuvuori could possibly make it a tough outing for Zverev if the latter's second serve is not up to the mark on Friday. But all things considered, the German is the clear favorite in this match-up given his resurgent form.
Prediction: Alexander Zverev to win in straight sets.