Hurkacz beats Sinner to win Miami Open

  • Matt Trollope

Hubert Hurkacz completed a dream fortnight at the Miami Open on Sunday, defeating Jannik Sinner to win his first ATP Masters title.

The world No.37 from Poland become the lowest-ranked player to win an ATP Masters title in 16 years after beating Sinner 7-6(4) 6-4.

It marks his second title of the year after he won the ATP Delray Beach title in January, taking his 2021 record in Florida to a perfect 10-0. 

“Super, super happy that I was able to lift that biggest trophy of my life so far,” said Hurkacz, who in earlier matches beat Denis Shapovalov, Milos Raonic, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev.

“I played one of the best tennis I ever played. I was solid throughout the whole tournament, and I was able to get through each round, was even more pumped for the next round. 

“So I think that's something special for me.”

The final marked a rare opportunity for both players, neither of whom had appeared in a Masters-level final until now.

Aged 24 and 19 respectively, Hurkacz and Sinner were contesting the fifth-youngest final in the 36-year history of the Miami tournament.

Jannik Sinner (L) and Hubert Hurkacz were ranked No.31 and No.37, respectively, entering the 2021 Miami Open final. (Getty Images)

It was also the first time since 2003 that a Masters final featured two players ranked outside the top 30; both were bidding to become the lowest-ranked Masters champion since 50th-ranked Tomas Berdych triumphed in Paris in 2005.

Given the unfamiliarity of the circumstances, the quality of tennis suffered somewhat as both players dealt with nerves.

Serving in the eighth game trailing 3-4, Sinner had already notched 18 unforced errors against a passive Hurkacz, who played almost all of his shots behind the baseline and only struck five winners in the first set.

Having worked his wat back into the first set after trailing 3-0, Sinner broke Hurkacz in the 11th game and served for it at 6-5 – only to get broken to love.

Hurkacz dominated the ensuing tiebreak and raced to a 4-0 lead in the second set.

And although the Italian teenager got one of the two breaks back, it was not enough to reel in Hurkacz, who became the first player from Poland to win an ATP Masters title.

“I had chances to go up 5-0 in the second set and he came back. He started to play better. I got a little bit nervous. I mean, he took the chance and it was very close there,” Hurkacz said.

“I had a big belief in myself like from the beginning of the season. Winning the tournament like this like gives you extra motivation and self-confidence that, okay, like, you're able to do it, like you came through like some really like hard moments here.”

Despite the loss it was a similarly-impressive week for Sinner, who will rise to the brink of the top 20 when the new rankings are released.

An indicator of his drive and professionalism, Sinner was not content with the achievement of advancing to the biggest final of his career so far.

“I came here with the mentality to win,” Sinner said. 

“We knew that Rafa, Roger, Novak, Thiem were not playing. I think it was a big opportunity for many players.

“Now (it’s) back to work and now the clay season is on. So I don't want to waste time today. I think I can learn many things. Then, I mean, next week already is another tournament. Got to be ready.”