(Reuters) – Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz was vaulted into the top 20 for the first time in his career on Sunday after clinching his maiden Masters 1000 title at the Miami Open, a win he said provided added “motivation” to succeed.
The 24-year-old downed Jannik Sinner 7-6(4), 6-4 in the men’s final as a handful of double-faults in the match proved costly for his 19-year-old Italian opponent.
“Obviously I was trying to stay as solid as I can, because he can hit the balls so hard … if you let him do that, like, he’s just gonna run around,” he told reporters after the match.
“So I was just trying to keep his pace and be able to fight for each ball.”
Hurkacz outlasted fierce competitors including fifth-ranked Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas and eighth-ranked Russian Andrey Rublev in the quarter- and semi-finals, respectively, en route to the biggest victory of his career, a triumph he was sure to savour.
“I had a big belief in myself … Winning the tournament like this like gives you extra, I think, like motivation and self-confidence,” said Hurkacz, now 16th in the world.
“You’re able to do it, like you came through like some really hard moments.”
Hurkacz was well-suited to the at-times hot and balmy conditions in Miami after spending nearly half of last year in Florida. He won the Delray Beach Open in January, as well.
“I was solid throughout the whole tournament, and I was able to get through each round, was even more pumped for the next round. So I think that’s something special for me,” he said.
“My tennis is getting better.”
(Reporting by Amy Tennery; Editing by Himani Sarkar)