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Assuming you’ve been tracking the Miami Open over the last week or so, you may have seen a less-common name making his way through the draw. Of course, I am talking about Francisco Cerundolo. He is a young Argentinian who is really starting to make a name for himself on the ATP Tour. In recent years, Cerundolo has been starting to emerge on tennis fans’ radars. But in all honesty, this was only really true when he competed on the clay courts.
However, he has been ranked as high as number 76 in the world as recently as February 2022. So he clearly has a bit of game, although, before Miami, he dropped to a ranking of 1013. Going into this event, not many people thought that Cerundolo would do much in this Masters event. His hard-court results haven’t exactly been spectacular, but something just seems to have clicked this week.
So far, he has dispatched Griekspoor, Monfils, and Tiafoe, as well as Reilly Opelka if you include his withdrawal at a set and a break down. Needless to say, these guys are all pretty severe hard court players! Yet Cerundolo has managed to squeeze past all of them.
But how has he possibly done this? After all, he is still viewed as a clay-court player primarily.
The Secret to Francisco Cerundolo’s Success This Week
Francisco Cerundolo is still just 23 years of age, and he is still a relative newcomer to the bigger tournaments on tour. This means that his current run in Miami has been even more impressive. And from what I’ve witnessed in his game, there are certain things that have helped him to put together such great wins:
I must admit, I’ve watched Cerundolo play a fair bit of tennis over the last few years. And I’ve seen that his forehand can be incredible when he is seeing the ball well. But while I’m aware of how dangerous it has been on clay, I’ve not really seen it on the hard courts yet. However, Miami has changed all of that, as his forehand has been truly devastating.
Most clay court players have consistency as one of their main strengths. And with Cerundolo, he is able to put the ball back consistently, and in awkward areas for his opponents. He keeps a great length on his groundstrokes, and he is strong on the wide balls too. So even if he is put under pressure, he is still able to neutralize the point – if not turn things in his favour with just one shot.
Returns in Court
When I watched him against Opelka a few rounds ago, this was definitely a stand out feature. We all know how huge Opelka can serve, yet Cerundolo broke him a total of four times. This doesn’t just happen by accident. He is anticipating the serve of his opponents extremely well. And he is able to play a safe, neutral ball to give himself a shot at the rally on most occasions.
Could he go even further in the tournament? We will all need to wait and see!