Novak Djokovic at centre of huge twist as Daniil Medvedev wins Miami Open

The ATP rankings continue to be in a state of flux, with Novak Djokovic the beneficiary following the Miami Open.

Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev.
Novak Djokovic has returned to the World No.1 ranking, while Daniil Medvedev continued his hot form by winning the Miami Open. Pictures: Getty Images

Novak Djokovic has reclaimed the top rank in world tennis from Carlos Alcaraz, following Daniil Medvedev's victory at the Miami Open. Alcaraz, who won at Indian Wells, needed to become the eighth player to win the 'Sunshine Double' in order to retain the World No.1 spot, but fell short in the semi-final at Miami.

Alcaraz was beaten by Jannik Sinner in the semi-final, with the Italian breaking Alcaraz's streak of 10 matches without dropping a set. Following the 6-7 (7-5) 6-4 6-2 upset at the hands of Sinner, the burgeoning Spanish superstar will fall to No.2 in the rankings, one ahead of Stefanos Tsitsipas.

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Asked about his rankings after the loss, Alcaraz said he was more irritated about his missed opportunity to win both Indian Wells and the Miami Open. The 19-year-old first surged to the top of the rankings after winning the US Open last year.

Since then it has alternated between himself and Djokovic, with the Serbian reclaiming the top spot after his triumphant return to the Australian Open. Djokovic was unable to compete at either Sunshine Double tournament after didn't lift a ban on unvaccinated travellers in time for him to compete.

“For me it is like I lost the semi-final. I don’t think about that I lost the No.1, I lost the sunshine double. I don’t think about it,” he said. “Of course it’s a shame, you know, but I had an opportunity to get the sunshine double, but, I mean, I think I am gonna have more years to try to get it.

"But all I can think about is to improve my level to beat Jannik. Yeah, for me I just lost a semi-final of a tournament.”

Sinner, in the meantime, wasn't able to continue the impressive form that steered him to victory against Alcaraz when he faced Medvedev in the Miami final. The Russian proved too strong to claim his fourth Masters title of 2023 with an impressive 7-5 6-3 win.

Medvedev's only loss this season was against Alcaraz, otherwise winning 24 of his last 25 matches. The Miami Open final was the fifth he's made in a row after losing to the Spaniard in the Indian Wells final.

Sinner was visited by an ATP trainer midway through the first set. During the changeover at 4-3, Sinner received a packet of salt that he dumped into a water bottle to drink.

Jannik Sinner falls short against Daniil Medvedev in Miami Open final

In his post-match press conference, Sinner said he didn't "wake up in the best possible way'' but didn't specify the illness.

"We tried to go out on the court, trying to give it a try," Sinner said. "Unfortunately today wasn't my day but I don't want to take nothing away from Daniil.

"He was serving incredible. He was very brave with the way he played. He's one of the best players in the world."

Sinner said he the trainer's salt didn't make a huge difference. "It helped me a little bit but not enough," he told reporters. "When you wake up like this, there's not magical things."

Jannik Sinner plays a backhand.
A valiant Jannik Sinner was outdone by Daniil Medvedev in the Miami Open final. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

The Italian said he may have had 'a little bit' of a mental letdown off the Alcaraz win but noted he was also facing an opponent he had never beaten. "I was very looking forward to it and prepared for a lot," Sinner said.

"It was a very good win. But I was focused on Daniil because I've never won."

While Medvedev has won titles this year in Rotterdam, Doha and Dubai, this is the Russian's first title on American soil since the 2021 US Open, when he derailed Novak Djokovic's bid for a grand slam.

Medveved has proven to be the master of the hardcourt but the tour turns to the European claycourt season. "I love the hardcourts. If it would be my choice, it would be only hardcourts. wish all the tournaments were hardcourt."

With AAP

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