Miami Open, Round of 16, Tuesday, 28/03/2023
Suspenseful duel in the last 16 of the Miami Open. Carlos Alcaraz vs Tommy Paul. Who will advance to the last eight?
Will the world number one secure his ninth win in a row? Or can Paul also win the second encounter? In my Alcaraz Paul tip I analyse the duel.
Carlos Alcaraz is number one again. The 19-year-old secured the place in the sun after his triumph in Indian Wells against Daniil Medvedev.
He was already the top tennis player after the US Open, but had to let Novak Djokovic pass him in the meantime after an injury.
Due to the Covid rules in the United States, the Serb had to vacate the throne without a fight this time. In terms of play, however, Alcaraz has absolutely earned first place.
In 2023, the Spaniard lost only one of his 17 matches. This is clearly the strongest record of all stars on the tour. His only defeat came in Rio.
In the final, Cameron Norrie, who had lost to the 19-year-old in two sets in the final in Buenos Aires a week earlier, prevailed.
The strong clay court performance was followed by an even stronger and more dominant one on hard court. In Indian Wells, he did not drop a set in his six wins over Thanasi Kokkinakis, Tallon Griekspoor, Jack Draper, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Jannik Sinner and Daniil Medvedev.
He is also without a set loss after his first two victories at the Miami Open. He gave Facundo Bagnis (6-0, 6-2) and Dusan Lajovic (6-0, 7-6) each a donut.
In his 16 wins, he only had to go over three sets three times. The odds for two sets in the match against Paul are 1.40. The odds for a 2:0 win for Alcaraz would be somewhat more worthwhile at Bet365: 1.53.
Due to his strong record, the world number one is the odds-on favourite with 1.14 odds. The US American has clear underdog odds of 5.50.
In the first and only meeting, however, Paul had his nose in front. The two players met in Montreal in mid-August 2022. After three sets (6-7, 7-6, 6-3), Paul advanced to round three.
It was a match full of weak service games. Paul had 19 break opportunities, of which he was able to take four. Alcaraz was able to convert three of his eleven chances into successful breaks.
After the first service, both tennis stars remained below 70 percent of points scored. For Alcaraz, it was even only 44 percent after the second service.
Surprising values, considering that Montreal is one of the faster hard courts on the tour.
Paul had a tougher path to the last 16 of the Miami Open compared to Alcaraz. Marc-Andrea Huesler (7-5, 3-6, 4-6) won the first set in round two, but Paul was knocked out after three sets.
He was quicker to assert himself against Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (6-3, 7-5), but conceded six break chances.
His service games were not really sovereign and Paul often has problems against nimble, defensively strong players. That includes not only Alcaraz, but also his two opponents in the last two defeats.
In Indian Wells he lost to Auger-Aliassime (6-3, 3-6, 6-7). In Acapulco, he had to digest a final defeat against Alex de Minaur (6-3, 4-6, 1-6). Both times he lost the match after leading the set.
Nevertheless, 2023 is his strongest tennis year so far, which really took off at the Australian Open. He reached the semi-finals, but was beaten in three sets by the eventual winner Novak Djokovic.
Summary: Both players put in strong performances in 2023. Alcaraz won 16 of his 17 matches and Paul won 16 of his 21 games. In the first meeting last August, Paul managed to win.
But this time, like the bettors, I see Alcaraz with the advantage. If Paul doesn’t play perfect first serves, the Spaniard can get into break point range in every service game of the US American.
Fokina has already had six opportunities to break in the third round. Alcaraz is expected to top that figure and win some of Paul’s service games. Therefore, I recommend in my Alcaraz – Paul tip a 2:0 win for the world number one.