MIAMI, March 26, 2019 (by Sharada Rajagopalan)
If Sunday was dominated by youngsters at the Miami Open presented by Itaú, Monday belonged to the older guys – namely Roger Federer and David Ferrer. Of course, youngsters featured in the fray as well with their paths crisscrossing with those of their older peers on the Tour.
Speaking of which, Federer and Ferrer finished the day with contrasting results in their respective third-round matches. The former World No. 1 defeated Filip Krajinovic 7-5, 6-3, overcoming the Serbian’s enthusiastic play-making – which involved even putting Federer on the backfoot by taking time away from him – with some ingenuity. Ferrer, however, came short against the inspired Frances Tiafoe, who came from a set down to win 5-7, 6-3, 6-3.
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) 26. März 2019
“I just tried to stay the course,” Tiafoe said. “Don’t be a junior. Grow up. Keep going. I got off to a good start in the second and kept steamrolling.”
Tiafoe’s win reiterated the intersecting paths of the younger and older generations on the circuit. Where, the American re-imposed his claim to be one of the baton-carriers of future of men’s tennis, Ferrer’s loss brought the chapter of his retirement nearer.
With the Miami Open being his last tournament on hard courts, Ferrer merely has two more events left on the circuit – the Barcelona Open as well as the Madrid Open – to be played in April and May respectively. And while it is understandable as to why Ferrer wants to retire, it does not change the emotional attachment that keeps repeating how poorer tennis will be without him. But as they say, the game has to go on.
Which brings us back to the match between Denis Shapovalov and Andrey Rublev. The two went hammer and tongs at each other, giving it all they had before the Canadian wrapped up what looked like a straightforward straight-set win over the Russian 6-3, 7-6. In the fourth round, Shapovalov faces another fellow NextGen chap – and one-handed backhand wielder – Stefanos Tsitsipas.
To sum it up, between one older fellow and other assorted players, men’s tennis is at an interesting crossroads, indeed.