With the big three absent at the Miami Open, and tennis’ next-generation scrambling to fill the void, it was Hubert Hurkacz of Poland who made a breakthrough.The 24-year-old Hurkacz won the biggest title of his career by beating 19-year-old Jannik Sinner of Italy 7-6 (4), 6-4 on Sunday.
Hurkacz improved to 10-0 in Florida this year, including the Delray Beach title in January. Ranked 37th, he is projected to climb to a career-high 16th in next week’s rankings.
The matchup in the final was a surprise even though Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer skipped the tournament, as did reigning U.S. Open champion Dominic Thiem.It was Hurkacz who took full advantage. Along the way he eliminated No. 2-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas and No. 4 Andrey Rublev ,the first time he has beaten two top-10 opponents in a tournament.
Hurkacz became his country’s first Masters 1000 champion.The 6-foot-5 Hurkacz returned well against Sinner, breaking four times, and came to the net at key moments.
In the first set, he raced to a 3-0 lead, briefly fell behind and then played a solid tiebreaker, closing it out by winning a 25-stroke rally.Sinner, appearing in just his third Masters 1000 tournament, served leading 6-5 in the first set and was broken at love. He lost his serve twice more to fall behind 4-0 in the second set.
It was then Hurkacz’s turn to wobble, but he held his final two service games, and sealed the win after a 20-shot rally on championship point, with Sinner pushing a forehand wide.The tournament also represented a leap forward for Sinner, Hurkacz’s good friend and doubles partner. The former junior skiing champion has improved his ranking from 78th at the start of last year, and he’s projected to climb to a career-high 21st in next week’s rankings.
No. 1-ranked Ash Barty earned her second successive Miami title Saturday when Bianca Andreescu retired in the final because of a foot injury while trailing 6-3, 4-0.