Оne of the most beautiful places on earth is the second stop of the men’s Masters Series. Inspiring beaches and stripes are not the main reason why tennis players have gathered. Their goal is good performance in Florida and a strong finish before the clay season. All top players return to Miami, with no exceptions. After a short break, all eyes are focused on No. 3 seed and 2-time champion Roger Federer. He will be playing his first tournament since Australian open.
World number 1 and absolute favorite for Miami title, which will be his sixth of the tournament is Novak Djokovic. After slight doubts about his condition with an eye infection received in Dubai and affect his play in Davis Cup, Djokovic came back strongly in Indian Wells and won his third title of the season. Winner from Doha, Australian open and Indian Wells, the Serbian will be focused to make double victory and became a champion from both tournaments. Djokovic 2-nd round opponent could be British Kyle Edmund or young Czech Jiri Vesely, which has only 1 win in 7 matches from the start of the year. Most closely seeded player that Djokovic might face is 25th in the scheme – Martin Klizan.
The Slovak, which won his biggest title in Rotterdam in February, didn’t make good performance in Indian Wells and was forced to retire in his second round match against Verdasco. After those players in uncertain form, the world number 1 could meet in round 4 Feliciano Lopez or non-stop progressor Dominic Thiem. With a chance to meet for the third time this year, Djokovic and Lopez have exchanged victories, but the serb won their last meeting in Indian Wells a week аgo while 14-th seed Thiem is on really good form. He won 2 titles last month and reached 4-th round in Indian Wells.
Thomas Berdych is those of top 8, who could meet Djokovic in quarters. The best Czech player lost in 4-th round in the desert last week against the future finalist Milos Raonic. To reach quarters in Miami he have to pass one of Steve Johnson and Alexander Zverev on 3-rd round. Born in 1997, the German didn’t realize a couple match points against Rafael Nadal in the 4-th round and lost his match. Possible opponents in the 4-th round for Berdych are Benoit Paire or 10-th seed Richard Gasquet. These two Frenchmen are hesitant so far this year.
Gasquet didn’t play in Melbourne and return to the tour with title in Monpelier, but last week he lost 3-sets battle in 4-th round match against Cilic in Indian Wells. With 2 semifinals this year Paire was eliminated early in the desert.
Leader in the second part of top half is Roger Federer. 17-th time Grand Slam winner didn’t play since his semifinal in Melbourne due to injury and it looks interesting what form will Roger shows. Miami champion from 2005 and 2006 may face,even in the 2-nd round, return from a long absence and trying to achieve better results – Juan Martin Del Potro.
After that blockbuster possible opponent, for 3-rd round is 28-th seed Jeremy Chardy or Spanish strong hitting Fernando Verdasco. In 4-th round Federer could face Serbian Viktor Troicki or 15-th seed David Goffin. With 1 title and 1 final the Serbian start 2016 positive, but in his last tournaments he couldn’t come with good results. Goffin made strong performance last week in Indian Wells. He beat Marin Cilic and Stan Wawrinka before he lost to Milos Raonic in the semifinal.
Possible opponent for quarterfinal match against Federer is 8-th seed David Ferrer. The Spanish veteran skip Indian Wells last two weeks and he also didn’t reached final in any 250 or 500 tournament he played this year. In 3-rd round Ferrer might face last seed in the draw Garcia Lopez and in 4-th – Marin Cilic or Gilles Simon. The Croatian started this season slow and lost early in Australian open, but after that he reached final in Marseille. In Indian Wells Cilic lost his quarterfinal match against David Goffin but now he is in good part of the draw and can make strong performance. 18-th seed Simon is not in good shape this season and looks a little slow.
First quarterfinal of the bottom half might oppose Murray and Nishikori. 2-nd seed and most high-ranked player in the second half is Andy Murray. Miami champion from 2009 and 2013, this year AO finalist is back in Florida to make first good appearance after he became a father. In Indian Wells Murray lost early. He was defeated by player out of top 50 – Federico Dellbonis, and he definitely will search for revenge for his bad appearance.
Now on Murray’s way is 2-nd round challenge coming from Borna Coric or Denis Istomin, in 3-rd he could meet 26-th seed Grigor Dimitrov or Dellbonis, again. 4-th round challenge for Murray might be Gael Monfils or Pablo Cuevas. The French makes a good year. He reached quarterfinal in Melbourne, final in Rotterdam. Last week he lost against the future finalist Milos Raonic in the quarters in Indian Wells. Cuevas is 2 time tournament champion this season but lost early last week.
6-th seed is Japanese Kei Nishikori. He makes a good year after reaching ¼ Final in Melbourne and won the title in Memphis. In the desert last week,the US Open 2014 finalist, made another ¼ Final,but lost to Nadal in straight sets. The First seeded player that Kei could face is Alexandr Dolgopolov, 4th round opponent might be 9th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or R. Bautista Agut. Starting the year slowly, Tsonga made a good run in Indian Wells and reached ¼. In that stage he played really well against future champion Novak Djokovic, but lost in 2 tiebreak sets.
The last quarter crowd together 4-th seed Stan Wawrinka and 5-th Rafael Nadal. Wawrinka is champion this year in Chennai and Dubai, but he lost dramatic battle in 4-th round last week against David Goffin. Stan’s potential 3-rd round opponent is Delray Beach champion Sam Querry. If he reaches 4-th round the swiss could face “old friend” Nick Kyrgios or big server John Isner.
The young Australian lost his first match in the previous tournament and now he definitely will strive for better performance. Isner has been defeated in 4th round in Indian Wells. He won easily first set against Nishikori, but after that, lost two consecutive tiebreaks .
Rafael Nadal is seeded as number 5. The former number 1 started season 2016 with final in Doha, but left Australian open early. February was tough month too. Indian Wells was a a breath of fresh air for Rafa so he made revenge against Verdasco for Australian open loss and reached ½ Final but Djokovic stopped him.
Rafa potential 3-rd round opponent is Thomas Belucci, in 4-th round he could play against Jack Sock or 12-th seed Milos Raonic. He played his first tournament after Australian open last week in the desert and he made a great comeback. Raonic reached the final, but he didn’t realize full potential against Djokovic and lost in a blowout. However The Canadian looks fresh and ready for new battles.
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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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