MIAMI, Fla. – Big moments at the end of the Masters 1000 in Indian Wells.
First, champion Carlos Alcaraz re-took the No. 1 spot, in the absence of Novak Djokovic once again.
Alcaraz won Miami last year, and so can’t gain any more ground even if Djokovic also will miss Miami.
As for top Canadian Félix Auger-Aliassime, he went from an opening loss in 2022 to the quarterfinals in 2023. And that puts him at a career high.
ON THE UPSWING
Carlos Alcaraz (ESP): No. 2 =======> No. 1 (Alcaraz’s reign at the top might only last a few weeks if he doesn’t defend his title in Miami. Even a final would drop him below Djokovic to the No. 2 spot).
Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN): No. 10 =======> No. 6 (Auger-Aliassime was disappointed in the quarterfinals in Indian Wells. But after losing first time out a year ago, making the final nets him plenty of points in a pretty packed part of the rankings. And so, he’s at a career high. And he can make more hay in Miami, with almost nothing to defend).
Jannik Sinner (ITA): No. 13 =======> No. 11 (Another good week for Sinner, who is 50 points out of the top 10).
Frances Tiafoe (USA): No. 16=======> No. 14 (Tiafoe ties his career high, first reached last month, with his semifinal effort in Indian Wells. Another good week for him; he’s 14-4 on the season).
Richard Gasquet (FRA): No. 43 =======> No. 40 (Gasquet moves up three. He’s also the No. 1 male player in France. Which, at that ranking, is … bad. The French do have 10 players in the top 100).
Jack Draper (GBR): No. 56 =======> No. 43 (A nice rise for the 21-year-old Brit, who had to retire during his fourth-round match vs. Alcaraz. And is also missing Miami because of the same injury. He defeated older, more accomplished compatriots Dan Evans and Andy Murray in the second and third round, both in straight sets).
Nuno Borges (POR) No. 80 =======> No. 68 (Borges, 26, has been kind of a late bloomer. He was at No. 375 two years ago, and No. 150 one year ago. He began the season at No. 112. Borges hasn’t done major things at the ATP level. But he won a top-level ($160K) Challenger in Monterrey last month. And last week he won a $220K Challenger in Phoenix that features plenty of big names who were early losers in the desert. He beat Diego Schwartzman in the first round. Will all that, though, he’s still in the qualifying in Miami, as the No. 1 seed. He defeated American veteran Steve Johnson Monday and will play No. 18 seed Borna Gojo Tuesday for a spot in the main draw. It would be his first; his first-ever match at that level was last week, when he lost in the first round of qualifying at Indian Wells).
Marton Fucsovics (HUN): No. 84 =======> No. 74 (Fucsovics, precluded from too much topless practice in Indian Wells because of the cool weather, nevertheless made the fourth round and makes a nice jump).
Cristian Garin (CHI): No. 97 =======> No. 82 (Garin, ranked a career high No. 17 a year and a half ago, had to quality at Indian Wells and did. He rached the fourth round, upsetting Casper Ruud in the third round. This week, he’s in the qualifying again in Miami and faces compatriot Alejandro Tabilo (a Canadian-born Chilean) in the final round to get to the main draw).
Stan Wawrinka (SUI): No. 100 =======> No. 87 (Wawrinka is looking a little like his old self again – notably in a third round win over Holger Rune in the desert. He didn’t have much left for Jannik Sinner in the fourth round. But progress).
Alexander Shevchenko (RUS): No. 132 =======> No. 101 (The 22-year-old Russian is pretty obscure. But he’s coming on; his listed coach is longtime ATP guru Gunter Bresnik. He’s never won a match on the ATP level (0-4) but had a career week in Phoenix last week. He defeated Gaël Monfils, Marc-Andrea Huesler, Matteo Berrettini and Quentin Halys on his way there, through the qualifying, before losing to Nuno Borges and reaching a career-high ranking).
Jan-Lennard Struff (GER): No. 134 =======> No. 103 (The 32-year-old former No. 29 is scratching his way back after injury on the Challenger circuit. He went from the qualifying to the semifinals at the Phoenix Challenger, upsetting Thanasi Kokkinakis and Alexander Bublik on the way. Struff plays Zhang Zhizhen in the final round of Miami qualifying on Tuesday).
Benoit Paire (FRA): No. 209 =======> No. 170 (The 33-year-old former No. 16 is just doing his thing, without an ATP main-draw match this year. He won the Puerto Vallarta ($130K) Challenger the first week of Indian Wells, to bump himself back into the top 200. He gets Thanasi Kokkinakis in the final round of qualifying in Miami on Tuesday).
Thiago Seyboth Wild (BRA): No. 400=======> No. 226 (The 23-year-old Brazilian, whose career high of No. 106 came a year and a half ago and has has some off-court issues since then, puts a big tend in his fallen ranking by winning the Vina del Mar, Chile Challenger last week, and making the final of a similar one in Santiago the previous week. Both are added on this week).
ON THE DOWNSWING
Novak Djokovic (SRB): No. 1 =======> No. 2 (Djokovic is 260 points behind Alcaraz. So if 2022 Miami champion Alcaraz doesn’t win it again, the Serb will take over the top spot again).
Taylor Fritz (USA): No. 5 =======> No. 10 (Fritz’s time in the top five wasn’t long, as he had the Indian Wells title to defend and didn’t come close. Still, he remains in the top 10).
Rafael Nadal (ESP): No. 9 =======> No. 13 (Nadal’s streak inside the top 10 lasted 934 calender weeks – a month short of 18 YEARS. (It’s actually 912 official ranking weeks because of the COVID period). He first entered the top to on April 25, 2005. That is absolutely crazy. The question now is: will he get back in? And how will he mess up the higher seeds upon his return in the third round of a Masters 1000 or the fourth round of a major? He’s due back in Monte Carlo).
John Isner (USA): No. 39 =======> No. 46 (Isner, at 37, remains dangerous on the day even if he doesn’t play as much as he used to. He has lost in the first round of four of his five tournaments this year. And in the fifth – in his adopted hometown of Dallas, he made the final. Isner can make some ground up as he lost his Miami opener a year ago; he’s a former champion here. Isner gets American wild card Emlio Nava in the first round and would play Taylor Fritz if he gets through. Isner and Jack Sock made the semis of the IW doubles, but his ranking drops as he won it a year ago with Sock. He also won the Miami doubles with Hubert Hurkacz, with whom he’s also playing this year).
Jenson Brooksby (USA): No. 49 =======> No. 61 (Brooksby is out after wrist surgery, and hasn’t played since losing in the third round of the Australian Open. He was defending fourth-round points in IW, and did the same in Miami a year ago so his ranking will drop some more in two weeks).
Tomas Martin Etcheverry (ARG): No. 61 =======> No. 73 (At a career high two weeks ago after making the final of the ATP 250 on clay in Santiago, Etcheverry had to make a quick turnoround to the Indian Wells conditions, although he did in the end get into the main draw. And then he ran into Andy Murray. He drops points from a semi and a title at clay Challengers in South American during that period a year ago. And he has a semi and final at two other clay Challengers coming up due in the next few weeks).
Reilly Opelka (USA): No. 112 =======> No. 138 (We’re not exactly sure when Opelka will return. He hasn’t played since the Washington, D.C. event last August and reportedly has had hip surgery. He made the fourth round at Indian Wells a year ago, which drops. And he won the Houston red clay event in early April a year ago, so you’d expect those points to drop as well).