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Preview: Grigor Dimitrov vs. Jannik Sinner - prediction, head-to-head, tournament so far

Sports Mole previews Sunday's Miami Open final between Grigor Dimitrov and Jannik Sinner, including predictions, head-to-head and their tournament so far.

A first-time Miami Open men's singles champion will be crowned on Sunday, as Grigor Dimitrov and Jannik Sinner square off for a slice of Masters stardom.

The Bulgarian 11th seed bested Alexander Zverev in three sets to progress to the showpiece, while the reigning Australian Open champion demolished defending holder Daniil Medvedev in the semi-finals.


Match preview

Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov pictured in January 2024© Reuters

Proving that his three-set success over Hubert Hurkacz and unforeseen domination of top seed Carlos Alcaraz were no flukes, Dimitrov pulled off another Florida upset on Friday, butting heads with fourth seed Zverev for a spot in the final and emerging triumphant in a thriller.

The Bulgarian had suffered seven straight defeats to Zverev on the ATP Tour and was at risk of an eighth when the German levelled the match via a nerve-wracking second-set tie-breaker, but Dimitrov rewrote history with a hard-earned 6-4 6-7[4] 6-4 success in two hours and 37 minutes.

Barring mini-breaks in the tie-breaker, the resilient Dimitrov - who blasted 18 aces past Zverev - did not record a single loss of serve in the semi-final and required just one chance to break Zverev in the first and third sets, highlighting the 11th seed's ruthless ways ahead of his third Masters final.

Two of those trophy contests have come in the last six months for the 32-year-old, who was inconsolable after losing to Novak Djokovic in the 2023 Paris Masters final, six years on from clinching his maiden ATP 1000 crown at the 2017 Cincinnati Open by besting Nick Kyrgios in straight sets.

Four of Dimitrov's last five ATP Finals at any level ending in defeat represents a particularly bad omen for the 11th seed, although regardless of the outcome of Sunday's battle, Dimitrov will return to the top 10 of the world rankings for the first time since the end of the 2018 season.

Jannik Sinner reacts at the Indian Wells Masters on March 14, 2024© Reuters

Before Dimitrov and Zverev entertained the Miami crowd for over two and a half hours, 2023 runner-up Sinner and current champion Medvedev clashed in a repeat of last year's Florida final, in which the 22-year-old was defeated in straight sets two years on from also losing the 2021 showpiece to Hurkacz.

However, the Italian prospect had since come up trumps in four successive matches with Medvedev - including January's mesmerising five-setter in the Australian Open final - and he extended his winning streak against the Russian in merciless fashion with a 6-1 6-2 semi-final success.

The second seed needed just 69 minutes to dispatch the holder, against whom he saved all three break points he faced and won 61% of returning points against the Medvedev second serve, as the Russian switched from his recognisable deep position to a closer baseline stance to no avail whatsoever.

By ensuring that a new champion will be crowned in Florida, Sinner will go after his second ATP 1000 crown after earning his first taste of Masters glory in Canada last year, and the Italian has dropped just one set en route to the final - even then he responded against Tallon Griekspoor with a 6-1 third-set thumping.

Furthermore, while Dimitrov has experienced heartache after heartache in recent ATP Tour trophy matches, Sinner has come up trumps in five of his last six such events and arrives on the court having already made history; no man younger than him has ever reached three Miami finals.


Tournament so far

Grigor Dimitrov:

Second round: vs. Alejandro Tabilo 6-7[5] 7-6[5] 6-2
Third round: vs. Yannick Hanfmann 6-1 6-0
Round of 16: vs. Hubert Hurkacz 3-6 6-3 7-6[3]
Quarter-final: vs. Carlos Alcaraz 6-2 6-4
Semi-final: vs. Alexander Zverev 6-4 6-7[4] 6-4

Jannik Sinner:

Second round: vs. Andrea Vavassori 6-3 6-4
Third round: vs. Tallon Griekspoor 7-5 5-7 6-1
Last-16: vs. Christopher O'Connell 6-4 6-3
Quarter-final: Tomas Machac 6-4 6-2
Semi-final: vs. Daniil Medvedev 6-1 6-2


Head To Head

China Open (2023) - Quarter-final: Sinner wins 6-4 3-6 6-2
Miami Open (2023) - Third round: Sinner wins 6-3 6-4
Italian Open (2020) - Third round: Dimitrov wins 4-6 6-4 6-4

Dimitrov and Sinner are already well-versed in facing one another at Masters tournaments, as the first two of their previous three meetings came at ATP 1000 level, including their inaugural clash in 2020 during the Italian Open third round.

On that occasion, the seeded Dimitrov overcame the wild card Sinner in three - despite losing the first set - but since entering adulthood, Sinner has had Dimitrov's number and beat his Bulgarian foe during both of their clashes in the 2023 season.

One of those successes appropriately came in the Miami Open third round, before the autumnal China Open saw Sinner earn back-to-back wins over Dimitrov with a three-set quarter-final triumph, before going on to lift the trophy in Beijing.


SM words green background

We say: Sinner to win in two sets

Sinner was under no illusions that he was fortunate to face Medvedev on an off day - the defending champion made a few too many uncharacteristic mistakes - and having got the better of Hurkacz, Alcaraz and Zverev, Dimitrov has proven himself as a force to be reckoned with.

However, there are few men that can quell the overwhelming power and athleticism of Sinner when the Italian is on his game, and as was the case at Miami 2023, we expect last year's runner-up to earn another straight-sets victory and right the wrongs of his previous Florida failures.

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Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov pictured in January 2024
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