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Miami Open 2021: Daniil Medvedev vs Frances Tiafoe preview, head-to-head & prediction

Daniil Medvedev
Daniil Medvedev
Iman Guha
CONTRIBUTOR
Modified 29 Mar 2021
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Match details

Fixture: (1) Daniil Medvedev vs Frances Tiafoe

Date: 30 March 2021

Tournament: Miami Open 2021

Round: Fourth round (Round of 16)

Venue: Miami, Florida

Category: ATP Masters 1000 Series

Surface: Outdoor hardcourt

Prize money: $3,340,000

Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel | UK - Europsort

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Daniil Medvedev vs Frances Tiafoe preview

Daniil Medvedev in action against Alexei Popyrin in his third-round match
Daniil Medvedev in action against Alexei Popyrin in his third-round match

Daniil Medvedev entered the Miami Open right after ascending to the World No. 2 ranking. And the fact that a non-'Big 4' player being ranked that high happened nearly 16 years ago (Lleyton Hewitt in 2005), made Medvedev's feat truly special.

The Russian has exhibited a lot of hard work and consistency since tennis resumed following the pandemic break. And in the absence of World No. 1 and six-time champion Novak Djokovic, Medvedev arrived in Miami as the top seed and heavy favorite.

Given his current stature in the world of tennis, the 25-year-old was supposed to make light work of his initial rounds. A one-hour demolition of Lu Yen-hsun in his Round of 64 match was nothing short of expected.

But even the most complete domination in a match would, at best, account for just one win. That odd hiccup around the corner can show you out, paying little respect to what you did to get there. And that's almost what happened in his Round of 32 match vs Alexei Popyrin.

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A cramping Medvedev huffed and puffed his way to victory after 2 hours and 40 minutes of play on Sunday. The Russian failed to close out the match while serving at 5-3 in the second set, and then squandered three match points on the Popyrin serve in the very next game at 5-4, but eventually got across the finish line.

Frances Tiafoe in action against Daniel Evans in his second round match
Frances Tiafoe in action against Daniel Evans in his second round match

Frances Tiafoe, meanwhile, is currently ranked No. 58 in the world. In stark contrast to his Russian rival, who has just reached his career-high ranking, Tiafoe finds himself exactly halfway from his own career-high of No. 29.

That means he is unseeded at Miami this year, in spite of this being his best Masters venue in terms of peak result achieved (i.e. the quarterfinals in 2019).

Being unseeded and without the luxury of a first-round bye, Tiafoe has had to battle past three rounds to get to the Round of 16.

Two of the American's matches were against seeded players. And if you had a thing for patterns, it would be pertinent to mention that in all three of his matches, Tiafoe lost the first set but didn't drop more than three games in the decider of any.

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While even his second set was comfortable against Stefano Travaglia and (19) Daniel Evans, the one in his previous match against (16) Dusan Lajovic was anything but. Tiafoe was down 1-6, 4-4, 15-40, when he launched his comeback to win the remainder of the match 7-5, 6-3.

Daniil Medvedev vs Frances Tiafoe head-to-head

Daniil Medvedev and Frances Tiafoe have faced off three times in their professional careers, with Medvedev leading the head-to-head 3-0.

Every meeting of theirs has been on an outdoor hardcourt. And Tiafoe has won just one set in all three matches combined - at the Australian Open in 2020.

Daniil Medvedev vs Frances Tiafoe prediction

Let's have a look at their Elo ratings:

  1. Daniil Medvedev entered Miami at Elo 2106. His tournament adjusted Elo currently stands at 2130.
  2. Frances Tiafoe entered Miami at Elo 1727. His tournament adjusted Elo currently stands at 1746.

Under ideal conditions, the numbers would have indicated Danill Medvedev being a 91.46% favorite for this match.

But as we have seen this year, the conditions have been anything but ideal in Miami. Medvedev's entire body cramped up in his previous round, and Tiafoe has sustained long and arduous battles in every match so far.

Fortunately, both players have a day of rest in between. But Medvedev might find it easier to recover, given it was cramps, than Tiafoe would to replenish his energy.

Expected numbers on serve:

Medvedev is expected to win around 69% of his service points, while Tiafoe is expected to win around 58% of his.

Prediction: Daniil Medvedev to win 6-3, 6-4.

Published 29 Mar 2021, 18:46 IST
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