Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev, 2018 champion John Isner and two #NextGenATP stars – Felix Auger-Aliassime and Jannik Sinner – play their first matches at the 2021 Miami Open presented by Itau on Friday, which features 16 singles and four doubles matches.
[WATCH LIVE 1]
If Medvedev is feeling the pressure of being the top seed at an ATP Masters 1000 event for the first time, he isn’t showing it. The Russian, who meets Chinese Taipei’s Yen-Hsun Lu in the third match on Grandstand, said earlier this week, “I’m enjoying the moment. I don’t feel the pressure, except for the pressure that I like to win matches and I want to win every tournament I play.”
The 25-year-old has gotten off to an excellent start to the 2021 season, becoming the first player outside of the Big Four to rank No. 2 in the FedEx ATP Rankings since Lleyton Hewitt on 18 July 2005. With a 14-2 record this year, Medvedev has already led Russia to the ATP Cup crown in Melbourne, followed it up with a runner-up showing at the Australian Open (l. to Djokovic) and captured his 10th ATP Tour title at the Open 13 Provence (d. Herbert). “I just want to play better and better to prove to myself I deserve this and hopefully I can show some great tennis in Miami,” said Medvedev, who reached the 2019 fourth round.
Auger-Aliassime, who challenges France’s Pierre-Hugues Herbert in the third match on Court 1, is back at the venue of his breakthrough run. Having lost the first set in his first qualifying match in 2019, the then 18-year-old Canadian won seven straight matches to reach the semi-finals. “It was special. And I think I’m more impressed with myself today than I was two years ago, because I now know how difficult it is to make the semi-finals of a Masters ,” said Auger-Aliassime, earlier this week.
Photo: Peter Staples/Miami Open
Jannik Sinner, the 2019 Next Gen ATP Finals champion, who is close to breaking into the Top 30 for the first time, takes on French wild card Hugo Gaston for the second time in three weeks. The 19-year-old Italian is contesting only his third ATP Masters 1000 tournament (2019-’20 Rome) and will be attempting to draw upon the form that helped him to capture the Great Ocean Road Open title (d. Travaglia) last month. Sinner beat Gaston 6-4, 6-1 in the Marseille second round two weeks ago.
Third seed Alexander Zverev, who lost to Isner 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-4 in the 2018 final, will play 21-year-old Emil Ruusuvuori of Finland on Court 1, just six days after the German captured his 14th ATP Tour crown over Stefanos Tsitsipas at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC in Acapulco. Elsewhere, Spanish seventh seed Roberto Bautista Agut meets Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships finalist Lloyd Harris of South Africa, Belgium’s 2016 semi-finalist and eighth seed David Goffin plays James Duckworth of Australia and Bulgarian ninth seed Grigor Dimitrov faces Cameron Norrie of Great Britain.
Seven Americans are also in action at the Hard Rock Stadium on Friday, led by 2018 champion and 2019 runner-up Isner, who plays the night match on Grandstand against compatriot and qualifier Mackenzie McDonald. Taylor Fritz, the No. 22 seed, kicks off proceedings on the main show court against Marcos Giron, while No. 30 seed Reilly Opelka, Frances Tiafoe and Ernesto Escobedo are also on Friday’s schedule.
Additionally, there are four doubles matches, including second seeds Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic, who have already won three ATP Tour titles and compiled a 20-3 record in 2021. The Croatian team takes on American wild cards Steve Johnson and Sam Querrey on Court 6.
SCHEDULE – FRIDAY, 26 MARCH 2021
GRANDSTAND start 11:00 am
M. Giron (USA) vs  T. Fritz (USA)
Not Before 1:00 pm
 D. Medvedev (RUS) vs [PR] Y. Lu (TPE)
Not Before 7:00 pm
Not Before 8:30 pm
[Q] M. McDonald (USA) vs  J. Isner (USA)
COURT 1 start 11:00 am
A. Popyrin (AUS) vs  R. Opelka (USA)
 G. Dimitrov (BUL) vs C. Norrie (GBR)
 F. Auger-Aliassime (CAN) vs P. Herbert (FRA)
 A. Zverev (GER) vs E. Ruusuvuori (FIN)
Not Before 7:00 pm
 D. Evans (GBR) vs F. Tiafoe (USA)
COURT 2 start 11:00 am
J. Duckworth (AUS) vs  D. Goffin (BEL)
M. Ymer (SWE) vs  N. Basilashvili (GEO)
Y. Hanfmann (GER) vs  K. Khachanov (RUS)
L. Harris (RSA) vs  R. Bautista Agut (ESP)
 A. Bublik (KAZ) vs L. Djere (SRB)
COURT 4 start 11:00 am
[Q] E. Escobedo (USA) vs  D. Lajovic (SRB)
 J. Struff (GER) vs R. Berankis (LTU)
 J. Sinner (ITA) vs [WC] H. Gaston (FRA)
M. Melo (BRA) / J. Rojer (NED) vs M. Kecmanovic (SRB) / A. Qureshi (PAK)
 I. Dodig (CRO) / F. Polasek (SVK) vs J. Chardy (FRA) / F. Martin (FRA)
COURT 6 start 11:00 am
[WC] S. Korda (USA) / M. Mmoh (USA) vs F. Fognini (ITA) / M. Gonzalez (ARG)
[WC] S. Johnson (USA) / S. Querrey (USA) vs  N. Mektic (CRO) / M. Pavic (CRO)