Alcaraz, Sinner Miami showdown looms

Top seed Carlos Alcaraz and number two Jannik Sinner took the first confident steps towards the mouth-watering Miami Open final tennis fans want to see by romping into the third round on Saturday with blowout wins.

Tennis’s newest and hottest rivalry was dialed up a notch last week in the Indian Wells semi-finals when Alcaraz put the first blemish on Sinner’s perfect season by halting the Italian’s 16 match winning streak. Sinner shrugged off the loss saying Miami would be a fresh start, which began with a breezy 6-3 6-4 workmanlike win over fellow Italian Andrea Vavassori.

Alcaraz, who went on to win Indian Wells and arrives in Miami bidding to complete the “Sunshine Double”, was no less efficient in a clinical 6-2 6-1 win over Roberto Carballes Baena in an all Spanish encounter.

The win certainly impressed three-times grand slam winner Andy Murray who went on X immediately after the match and posted, “Watching Alcaraz play tennis makes me smile”.

“That’s pretty cool for a legend like Andy to say something like this that he enjoys a lot watching my matches,” said Alcaraz. “It’s crazy for me. He has seen a lot of tennis during his career, a lot of matches, a lot of players.”

With the two young guns hogging the spotlight, defending champion Daniil Medvedev has been flying under the radar but that may not last much longer after the third seed moved on with a tidy 6-4 6-2 win over Hungarian Marton Fucsovics.

Major League Baseball launched a probe into Shohei Ohtani, one of the biggest names in baseball, and his long-time interpreter Ippei Mizuhara on Friday.

After two days of rain the sun returned to the Miami Open but it was still a gloomy Saturday for U.S. hopes as three of the top four-ranked American men led by 12th seed Taylor Fritz crashed out in the second round.

Joining Fritz at the Hard Rock stadium exit were 13th seed Tommy Paul and 21st-seeded Frances Tiafoe, leaving number 16 Ben Shelton as the highest-ranked American standing.

After only eight matches were completed on Friday because of rain, the start of play was again delayed by three hours on Saturday before Brazilian qualifier Thiago Seyboth Wild kicked off the action on Stadium court with a 6-3 6-4 upset of Fritz.

A perfect 10-0 in opening matches since the start of 2023, Fritz appeared bamboozled by the 24-year-old who enjoyed the support of a small but vocal flag-waving Brazilian crowd. – Reuters

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