Francisco Cerúndolo will seek this Tuesday, in the third turn of the Grandstand, to become the eleventh Argentine tennis player to qualify for the quarterfinals in the history of the Miami Open presented by Itaú, but the first from his country to do so here debuting in a main draw of Masters 1000.
That's how incredible the week has been for the 23-year-old Argentine, who arrived in Miami completing a winless month on the ATP Tour and ATP Challenger Tour. He is now in the best tournament of his career and will meet the American Frances Tiafoe in the round of 16 of the second Masters 1000 of the season.
A win against the 24-year-old host, against whom he has no record, would make him the first Argentine since Franco Davin at Hamburg 1990 to reach the quarterfinals in his first ATP Masters 1000 main draw. A win would also guarantee his first break into the Top-75 of the ATP Rankings.
And Juan Manuel's older brother, who just lost in the third round with Tiafoe, No. 31 in the world. 'Fran' has beaten higher-ranked opponents all week, including two members of the Top-25: Reilly Opelka and Gael Monfils.
And he has only dropped one set on the way here, in his debut against the Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor. While there has been no official word, Novak Djokovic will most likely be eligible to play at the Madrid Masters (May 1-8) and Rome Masters (May 8-15) as well by the time the tournaments roll around.
Djokovic will play the French Open
Seven-time Grand Slam champion Mats Wilander is of the opinion that Novak Djokovic will be the favorite at the French Open this year, especially if he gets a few matches under his belt in the lead-up tournaments.
Speaking to Eurosport, Wilander remarked that the extended rest could turn out to be a good thing for the 34-year-old's mind and body. With enough warm-up tournaments, the Swede was confident in the World No. 1's ability to defend his title at Roland Garros.
"[Novak Djokovic] is going to be well rested in his mind, in his heart. Physically, he has been able to set up his training schedule perfectly, at least in the way that he would want to," Wilander said. "Of course, he would have liked to play more matches, but if he gets to three tournaments and maybe [plays] 10 to 15 matches, he goes into Roland Garros as maybe the favorite to win the tournament.
Now that Rafael Nadal is maybe not going to have the perfect preparation, Djokovic suddenly becomes the favorite" Wilander said. "But he most probably needs a little bit of confidence in some of the tournaments that lead up to the French Open."