The first Masters tournament on the ATP 2021 calendar has had a number of stories to tell. Even in the absence of a few of the top players at the Miami Open, we had a clear favorite from every section of the draw when we started out. But things didn't exactly pan out the way they were forecasted to.
Varying fates lay in store for the representatives of each quarter. Third seed Alexander Zverev seemed physically compromised in his opening encounter against Emil Ruusuvuori as he fell in a deciding set. Top seed Daniil Medvedev, having survived cramps of his own earlier, appeared toothless against Roberto Bautista Agut. And second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas appeared as impressive as ever on his way to the quarterfinals, but a familiar foe, Hubert Hurkacz, got the better of him this time around.
But in stark contrast, the other favorite - fourth seed Andrey Rublev - hasn't dropped a set so far.
In the final four, we are thus left with just one of the initial four favorites. We also have one seasoned campaigner, one newbie at this level of competition, and of course, one of the youngest newbies at this level of the competition.
Here's a more detailed look at how things have transpired so far, and how they can be expected to unfold over the next couple of days:
Unlike the other players remaining in the draw, Roberto Bautista Agut has had to play only three matches to reach the semifinals. But all three of his matches were against seeded opponents.
While he didn't appear all that convincing in the first two, he eased past top seed Daniil Medvedev in the quarterfinals in a way that few are capable of. Bautista Agut beat the Russian at his own game.
The Spaniard is the only semifinalist in Miami who has had any prior experience at this level, having reached the final of the Shanghai Masters in 2016.
Bautista Agut entered the tournament at Elo 1815, and his tournament adjusted Elo currently stands at 1885. Taking the average of the percentage of service and return points he has won from every match so far, his net average stands at 55.17%.
Jannik Sinner has been nothing short of sensational. For a brief period in his third round match against (14) Karen Khachanov he looked down and out, but he found his best tennis when it mattered the most.
That sublime quality was again on full display in his quarterfinal match against (32) Alexander Bublik. The Italian teenager seems to exhibit maturity beyond his years; he finds a way to win tough just as often as he does to win easily.
Sinner is now the fourth youngest male semifinalist in the history of the Miami Open. And he's looking good for more.
Sinner entered the tournament at Elo 1893 and his tournament adjusted Elo currently stands at 1930. Taking the average of the percentage of service and return points he has won from every match so far, his net average stands at 54.38%.
In the only quarter that has gone according to paper, Andrey Rublev has been his imperious self. He exhibited such dominance in his first two matches that he ended up winning more points on his opponents' serves than they themselves did. Rublev's performance against (29) Marton Fucsovics registered a mammoth 3065 on the Elo scale.
While he hasn't faced seeded players in his previous two rounds, his opponents have certainly not been pushovers. The 23-year-old is the only player to have not dropped a set so far in the tournament.
Rublev entered the tournament at Elo 2029, and his tournament adjusted Elo currently stands at 2229. Taking the average of the percentage of service and return points he has won from every match so far, his net average stands at 61.25%.
Hubert Hurkacz has arguably had the most difficult path to the semifinals. All his matches have seen at least either a tiebreak or a deciding set.
The narrative would have been different if the highest seed from the bottom half, Stefanos Tsitsipas, had made it through instead of the Pole. But Hurkacz overcame the deficit of a set and a break, inflicting defeat upon the Greek for only the second time in eight career meetings.
Hurkacz is the lowest seed (26) among the four semifinalists, and the only player to have taken out two top eight seeds en route.
Hurkacz entered the tournament at Elo 1749, and his tournament adjusted Elo currently stands at 1797. Taking the average of the percentage of service and return points he has won from every match so far, his net average stands at 52.00%.
Elo forecast for the semifinals and finals
Using their tournament adjusted Elo, the probabilities of each of the four semifinalists to make the finals are:
- Andrey Rublev: 83.37%
- Jannik Sinner: 61.04%
- Roberto Bautista Agut: 38.96%
- Hubert Hurkacz: 16.63%
Using their tournament adjusted Elo, the probabilities of each of the four semifinalists to win the tournament are:
- Andrey Rublev: 60.07%
- Jannik Sinner: 23.03%
- Roberto Bautista Agut: 11.18%
- Hubert Hurkacz: 5.72%
It is also interesting to note how the four semifinalists have fared against each other in direct confrontations across their careers.
While Andrey Rublev is the forecasted favorite, he has a negative career head-to-head record against two of the three other semifinalists. His only positive record, by virtue of his sole victory against Jannik Sinner, came as a result of the Italian forfeiting the match three games in, due to an injury.
Roberto Bautista Agut seemingly has the combined advantage over the rest in terms of head-to-head meetings. But the tournament remains on the edge, and it still feels like anybody can beat anybody.
Author's pick for Miami Open 2021: Jannik Sinner.