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Surprise Miami Open final: Casper Ruud vs. Carlos Alcaraz

Sportsnaut
Apr 1, 2022; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Carlos Alcaraz (ESP) salutes the crowd after his match against Hubert Hurkacz (POL)(not pictured) in a men's singles semifinal in the Miami Open at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

A pair of unexpected finalists will meet for the Miami Open championship after sixth-seeded Casper Ruud of Norway and 14th-seeded Carlos Alcaraz of Spain won their semifinal matches on Friday.

Alcaraz, 18, eliminated the defending champion, eighth-seeded Hubert Hurkacz of Poland, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (2), after Ruud got past Argentina’s Francisco Cerundolo 6-4, 6-1.

Both Alcaraz and Ruud are through to the final of an ATP Tour Masters 1000 event for the first time. Neither has been to the semifinal of a Grand Slam tournament, so the Sunday showdown will be the biggest career match for both.

Alcaraz will bid to become the youngest-ever Miami Open champ.

“I have a lot of emotions right now,” Alcaraz said postmatch. “It’s something that you dream of when you are a child.

“It’s really good to be in the final here in Miami. I love playing here. The crowd is amazing. I’m going to approach the final like a first round, trying to mask the nerves. I’m going to enjoy it, it’s going to be a great final.”

Alcaraz prevailed in a match that featured no service breaks, with each player saving three break points.

Hurkacz, who had a 13-3 edge in aces, led 5-3 in the first-set tiebreaker before losing the final four points. Alcaraz jumped in front 4-1 in the second-set tiebreaker and wasn’t threatened again.

Alcaraz said, “I couldn’t return his serves, but I knew that the match was going to be long sets like it was, 7-6, 7-6. At the beginning, I saw that I couldn’t return. I thought we were going to play a lot of tiebreaks.”

Ruud won 84 percent of his first-serve points in his comfortable win over Cerundolo, who is ranked 103rd in the world.

Ruud said, “It was not where I imagine myself playing my first Masters 1000 final (on a hard court), but I will take it. …

“It is a great feeling. I am standing here smiling. I have had three tough losses in my previous Masters (1000) semifinals, and I thought today was a good chance to reach my first final. I started a little shaky, but I was able to pull through and raise my level when I really needed to.”

–Field Level Media