Hurkacz is Poland's 1st Masters 1000 champ

·2-min read

With the Big Three absent at the Miami Open, and tennis' next generation scrambling to fill the void, it was Hubert Hurkacz who made a breakthrough at the ATP Masters 1000 event.

The 24-year-old Hurkacz won the biggest title of his career by beating 19-year-old Jannik Sinner of Italy 7-6 (7-4) 6-4.

Hurkacz improved to 10-0 in Florida this year, including the Delray Beach title in January, and climbs to a career-high 16th in the world rankings.

"I was super happy I was able to lift the biggest trophy of my life so far," Hurkacz said.

"I played some of the best tennis I ever played."

The match-up in the final was a surprise even though Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer skipped the tournament, as did reigning US Open champion Dominic Thiem.

"We knew that Rafa, Roger, Novak, Thiem were not playing," Sinner said.

"It was a big opportunity for many players."

It was Hurkacz who took full advantage.

Along the way he eliminated Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev - the first time he has beaten two top-10 opponents in a tournament.

Hurkacz becomes Poland's first Masters 1000 champion.

"Hopefully with my game I can inspire some people in Poland," he said.

The 196cm Hurkacz returned well against Sinner, breaking serve four times, and came to the net at key moments.

"To win against Jannik, you need to come up with some really good stuff," Hurkacz said.

"He's an amazing player and has an amazing future."

Sinner, appearing in just his third Masters 1000 tournament, served for the first set at 6-5 but was broken at love.

He then trailed 4-0 in the second set before it was Hurkacz's turn to wobble.

But he composed himself to hold his final two service games, and sealed the win after a 20-shot rally on championship point, with Sinner pushing a forehand wide.

The tournament also represented a leap forward for Sinner, Hurkacz's good friend and doubles partner.

The former junior skiing champion has improved his ranking from 78th at the start of last year to 23rd.

"You win or learn when you're 19 playing the final here," Sinner said.

"I was a little bit nervous from the beginning of the match, but it's normal because you really want to win."