Instead of that, world no. 7 suffered a heavy 1-6, 6-3, 6-1 loss to the young Finn Emil Ruusuvuori in two hours and four minutes for another Miami setback. The 21-year-old came to Florida with one Masters 1000 victory, improving his tally with two triumphs in the last couple of days and delivering his second top-10 victory following that 2019 triumph over Dominic Thiem in the Davis Cup.
Emil fired zero aces and five double faults, struggling on the second serve but still dominating sets two and three despite five breaks he suffered, three of those in the opener. Zverev had 11 aces and seven double faults, making a strong start before falling apart from set number two, offering his rival no less than 18 break opportunities after the opener and giving serve away six times to hit the exit door much earlier than he expected.
The German hit 20 winners and 40 unforced errors, struggling from both wings and losing pace in the mid-range exchanges from five to eight strokes to push Ruusuvuori through.
Emil Ruusuvuori explained his victory against Alexander Zverev.
"The first match was crucial; it gave me a chance to play against Alexander Zverev.
I'm proud that I scored this victory after a slow start, making the right changes and standing strong mentally in the end. Zverev is a top-10 player who came to Miami with an Acapulco crown. Maybe he wasn't at his best physically, but I still had to work hard to beat him.
I barely missed a ball in the third set and made him play a lot of shots. I was stronger and took home the victory. The conditions are very slow. Trying to play fast and aggressive tennis, I made too many mistakes in the opening set.
From set number two, I started to win rallies and made him run. My serve worked well in the decider, and that also helped me a lot. I don't really know Holger Rune; I think we practiced once a couple of years ago at clay Challenger.
He has scored some big wins recently, and I'm sure we will hear a lot from him in the years to come. My next rival is Mikael Ymer, and it will not be easy; the conditions are slow, and he likes them. Federico Riccia and I have been working for almost seven years; he has taught me many things, and I'm still learning from him," Emil Ruusuvuori said.