With Biggest Stars Absent, Miami Open Serves Up Some Chaos

Hurkacz, who often trains in Florida, was seeded 26th here, but he beat players seeded second, fourth, sixth and 12th in five days. He came back from a set and a service break down to Tsitsipas on a brutally hot day in the quarterfinal; outslugged Rublev in a gutsy performance, on a cool night in the semifinal; then knocked off the game’s latest boy wonder on a bright and breezy Easter afternoon.

Sinner served for the first set at 6-5, but Hurkacz broke him at love. Then a series of errors allowed Hurkacz to cruise through the tiebreaker. Hurkacz frustrated Sinner with a serve that kept kicking up above his eyes, and two early service breaks in the second set made the final result come fast.

Before the match, Sinner had begged off anointing himself the next big thing in tennis, cautioning that a good 10 days in Miami guaranteed nothing. “The road is long,” he said. “I know that. My team knows that.”

Barty, 24, and Andreescu, 20, also know that. The two young Grand Slam champions had never played head-to-head before Saturday’s final, though the showdown proved an anticlimax. Andreescu, who struggled to find her rhythm against Barty’s relentless groundstrokes, appeared to roll her foot and ankle while down, 2-0, in the second set and defaulted two games later, giving Barty her second consecutive Miami Open title, 6-3, 4-0.

Barty, the world No. 1 from Australia, opted not to play when tennis returned last August, because of her country’s strict quarantine requirements for anyone returning home during the pandemic. She played little tennis in 2020 from March until October, when she began to prepare for the Australian summer of tennis. She kept her top ranking only because of a pandemic rule change that allowed players to maintain their points from 2019.

She won a tuneup for the Australian Open, but lost in the quarterfinals of the Grand Slam event and in the first round of a tournament the next week. Barty has gained confidence. In Miami, she barely used the slices she tends to hit when she loses her edge. She does not plan to return to Australia until the fall so she can avoid the country’s mandatory two-week lockdown for international arrivals.

“I knew eventually I would find it,” Barty said of her form and the patience with which she approached her return to the game. “I knew it might not be in the third week or the 10th week or the 20th week.”