Immediately after the end of Indian Wells, it is time for the second tournament of March adventure in the US. Аll who are dissatisfied of the slow start and poor performance this season will be here in Florida to try better performance, but they will be in danger of tennis players, which are on the crest of a wave.
Like the last year, the top seed is Serena Williams. 8-time champion in Miami, including last 3 seasons, is back after a final battle in Indian Wells. A day ago she lost her title match against Victoria Azarenka in straight sets and made her 4th loss against the Belarusian from 21 matches.
After two lost finals for a short time remains the question – Can Serena be defeated in an earlier round or make another good run and win her first title for 2016? Serena’s journey on this year’s Miami tournament start with a match against young American Christina Mchale or this week champion of 125K in San Antonio Misaki Doi. Her possible 3rd round opponent is Daria Gavrilova, and 4th round – Doha semifinalist Andrea Petkovic or 2006 champion and 2-time Grand Slam winner Svetlana Kuznetsova.
The top seed player, which Serena Williams could face in quarterfinals is 8-th seed Petra Kvitova. After a slow start of the year, she began to improve her shape after several three-sets won matches in Indian Wells. Unfortunately Kvitova lost her 1/4 match against Agnieszka Radwanska. Аs well as in Indian Wells, she has no points to defend, because last year she didnn’t participate due to injury, and she looks well positioned for a good run. Kvitova’s possible 3-rd round opponent is Makarova, 4-th round might be former number 1 Wozniacki or rising star Svitolina. Wozniacki is now outside the top 20 in the rankings and looks far of her best. Svitolina seems that she is a tough opponent for the second round in the face of China’s Zhang, 1/4 from Australian open, and who also beat Wozniacki in the early stage of Indian Wells.
The other one quarterfinal of the top half of the draw could oppose 3-rd seed and 2012 winner Aga Radwanska and 5-th seed Simona Halep. Radwanska started the year stable as always while winning the title in Shenzhen, then played ½ Final in AO and last week in Indian Wells, but in both tournaments she was stopped by Serena Williams. First high-ranked player Radwanska could meet is Slovak Schmiedlova, and after that, 16-th seed Ana Ivanovic or 19-th seed Timea Baczinzsky. Both, Ivanovic and Baczinzsky didn’t make the start of the year they wanted,and will look to keep moving forward.
After 3 consecutive losses in first round in tournaments, last week Halep made good run in Indian Wells, where she lost the ¼ Final by Serena Williams. Now on her way in Miami stands hard players from the start. Her second round opponent will be one between the young star Daria Kasatkina, quarterfinalist from Indian Wells last week, or Kateryna Bondarenko. Halep’s possible 3-rd round is always unpredictable Samantha Stosur, and possible 4-th round opponent could be 2-time tournament champion of the early season Sloane Stephens or Lucie Safarova. Miami is going to be the 3-rd tournament so far for 2016 for Lucie , because the Czech was unable to play due to injury, but she remains in the top of the rankings mostly due to her clay court season from last year.
Top seed in the bottom half is Angelique Kerber. After she became Australian open champion, the German looks like a little bit more relieved than she should and made shocking losses in her first matches in Doha by Zheng and in Indian Wells by Allertova. Kerber met with Graff and Agassi a few days ago, here in Miami, and it is no doubt she’ll be looking for positive continuation of thе season. Her 2-nd round opponent could be against the variety of Barbora Strycova, 3-rd round – the 25-th seed Pavluychenkova or Zheng, player that defeated Kerber in Doha. If the German reaches the 4-th round, her opponent on that stage might be the veteran Sara Erani or the in good form Czech – Karolina Pliskova. The Italian, winner from Dubai, lost early in Indian Wells and will look forward for some good tennis here, but on her way stands big server Pliskova – semifinalist from Indian Wells, where she lost from the future champion Azarenka. The Czech is also last year Miami quarterfinalist and with her powerful game and form right now makes that part of the draw really interesting.
Belinda Bencic is the possible opponent of Kerber in quarters. The teenager lost her second match in Indian Wells, but she looks in good part of the draw. She could face last year quarterfinalist Sabine Lisicki in the 3-rd round. The German looks a little slow in the start of 2016, but we never know when her serve is going to hit ace after ace. Belinda’s 4-th round possible rival is one of Keys, Vinci or Bouchard. The Italian retired in her 4-th round match in the second set against Rybarikova in Indian Wells and now she could meet a good form Eugenie Bouchard if she beats Czech’s Lucie Hradecka.
In the last quarter is Indian Wells champion Victoria Azarenka. The former number one won her second title for 2016 and second title at BNPPO. She is definitely in big form and shows good tennis from the start of the season. Miami champion from 2009 and 2011 she has confidence after beating her biggest opponent Serena Williams in the Indian Wells’ final. Could Vika make another strong performance in Miami? We will see. Azarenka potential 2-nd round opponent is Sydney runner-up Monica Puig, potential 3-rd round against former finalist here Jelena Jankovic
The best Spanish players making company to Azarenka in that part of the draw – last year finalist Carla Suarez Navaro, seeded as number 6 but not playing well this year, Garbine Muguruza. Last one still waiting for her time in 2016 after many disappointments these months. Her 2-nd round opponent could be the always dangerous Cibulkova, and 3-rd round – Mladenovic. If she reaches 4-th round there might be a meeting with Vika.
Carla Suarez didn’t participate in Indian Wells due to injury but now she must be focused, because of the many points she have to defend. Possible 3-rd round for her is match against Niculescu, 4-th round – against constant playing semifinalist from Melbourne Johanna Konta or 3-time Miami champion and 10-th seed Venus Williams.
Don’t miss second Premier Mandatory tournament of the year and the upcoming battles!
Unfortunately, everything tennis wise is cancelled to at least 13th of July. Let's hope this corona virus goes away as soon as possible and this is the last date the tour is pushed back to. Stay safe people!
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