After the exit of Daniil Medvedev from the Miami Open 2021, the tournament will see a new Masters 1000 winner.
None of the remaining six players – Roberto Bautista Agut, Jannik Sinner, Seb Korda, Andrey Rublev, Hubert Hurkacz or Stefanos Tstisipas – have ever lifted a title in tennis’ second rung, below only the four Grand Slams.
But this is their opportunity to seal arguably the biggest achievement of their careers.
In fact, the ‘arguably’ really only applies to Tsitsipas, who has previously won the ATP World Tour Finals – a similarly prestigious event.
The Greek looks to be the favourite on paper, given that 2019 crown he won in London, his appearance in three Grand Slam semi-finals to date and a run to the 2018 Masters final at the Canadian Open.
Tsitsipas is fully aware of his drought at Masters level.
“I would be thrilled to walk away with a Masters 1000 title,” the 22-year-old said this week.
“The opportunity hasn’t presented itself, but I feel like I’m getting really close.
“I really want it a lot and the desire is there. It always has been.
“I’m always working to get better, and I think that’s what’s going to help me get to that point of winning Masters 1000 events.
“I feel also I just need more opportunities to get there.”
Tsitsipas certainly has another one now, but in his way – if he gets past Poland’s Hurkacz – will be Andrey Rublev, who has won more matches (16) than anyone on this year’s ATP Tour.
And with the Russian on an incredible run of form at ATP 500 level – winning four tournaments in a row – he’ll be hoping to take the step up in Florida.
Bautista Agut is the most experienced player left, and that could be a key factor as the tournament progresses.
With all of the big three – Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic – absent, the remaining players know it’s their big chance, and Bautista Agut‘s cool head might just be to his advantage, as could the slow court speed in the night sessions.
The young pups at the opposite end of the experience scale are Seb Korda and Jannik Sinner, 20 and 19 years old respectively.
Korda is following in the illustrious footsteps of his father Petr, who famously won the Australian Open in 1998.
Both face tough next matches, with Sinner facing Bautista Agut in the semi-finals and Korda up against Rublev in the quarter-finals on Thursday.
If they can get through those matches, the arrival of a new generation will start to be heralded.