ATP Tour: Miami Open Preview

Tennis player stands with racquet in hand

We preview the Miami Open set to take place at Crandon Park between 21 March and 2 April 2018.

The ‘Sunshine Double’ doesn’t leave much room for considerate contemplation, with players left with little room for recuperation following the exigencies of Indian Wells. The final between Federer and Del Potro was one for the ages, with Del Potro claiming his first ATP Masters 1000 title and resigning the Swiss maestro to his first defeat of the year. 

Federer strengthened his grip on the World Number One spot and will be hoping to further extend his lead with a positive showing this week. Novak Djokovic is the king in Miami, with six titles over the years highlighting how effectively he seized control of the men’s game, breaking the Federer-Nadal hegemony. He will be hoping for far more encouraging signs following a rather disastrous Indian Wells misadventure.

ATP Tour: Miami Open | 21 March - 2 April | Crandon Park, Key Biscayne, Miami

Past Winners
2017: Roger Federer
2016: Novak Djokovic 
2015: Novak Djokovic 
2014: Novak Djokovic
2013: Andy Murray

First Quarter- Projected Quarterfinalists- Roger Federer (1), Kevin Anderson (6)
I have to admit, Roger was starting to look quite fatigued in those final matches. Perhaps that impression was exacerbated by the facial hair, but maybe Federer could have shaved one of these events form his schedule, especially in light of the Rotterdam success. He is projected to play a qualifier and then Fernando Verdasco. That could be a tricky tie for Federer if he isn’t careful. Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta would await in the fourth round, while he is projected to play Anderson in the quarter. think that Anderson is a safe bet to get thorough his side of the draw. He played solidly in Indian Wells, only to be outdone by an inspired Coric in the third set. So Federer and Anderson makes a likely quarterfinal for me.

Likely to progress: Roger Federer

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Second Quarter- Projected Quarterfinalists- Alex Zverev (4), Jack Sock (8)
Just taking one quick look at the seeds here, this is a section for a shock. Alex Zverev has been middling this season while Sock has probably reached the zenith of his potential. In Zverev’s side of the draw, the man to watch for has to be the mercurial talent that is Nick Kyrgios. Pulling out of his last few tournaments due to injury, Kyrgios has already claimed a victory in Brisbane this year. He lost a tight Round of 16 match to Dimitrov at Melbourne, and lest we forget his tremendous semi-final with Federer last season. Outside of the slams, that match was probably the encounter of the season. In Sock’s end of the draw, it looks as if Borna Coric may once again have a chance of making the quarterfinals. In reality, I believe that Coric may actually have the beating of either Zverev or Kyrgios on present form. I’m going to stick my neck out on the young Croat. 

Likely to Progress: Borna Coric

Third Quarter- Projected Quarterfinalist- Juan Martin Del Potro (5), Grigor Dimitrov (3)
‘Delpo’s back-to-back wins in Acapulco and Indian Wells have catapulted him to number six in the current world rankings. How he manged to break back against Federer in that third set will forever remain a mystery to me. The main concern for him will be the hovering presence of six-time champion Novak Djokovic. One feels that Djokovic may benefit from the slightly slower conditions here, allowing him to get into those attrition-based points that he loves so much. Grigor Dimitrov desperately needs a performance on the back of some dismal showings of late. But he has a challenging draw, with a potential third round match against Gasquet followed by a potential fourth round clash with Schwartzmann or Raonic. Raonic may find the slower courts here less to his liking, so I except Schwartmann to likely face Dimitrov in the fourth Round. Overall though, Del Potro has got to be the man to get through this section. 

Likely to Progress: Juan Martin Del Potro

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Fourth Quarter- Projected Quarterfinalists- David Goffin (7), Marin Cilic (2)
Marin Cilic disappointed once again in Indian Wells while David Goffin returns from an injury absence this week, so this could be another quarter that’s begging to be hoodwinked. Goffin could go out as early as the second round, with the industrious Joao Sousa his likely second round opponent. Just like his hero Djokovic, Chung will benefit immeasurably from the slower nature of the court, allowing him to insert himself into long, grinding rallies. I’m looking towards him in the top half of this quarter, while Andrey Rublev could be the man to beat in the bottom half. Cilic may progress to the quarterfinal stage, but I really feel that Chung could finally reach his second semi-final of the year this week. 

Likely to Progress: Hyeon Chung 

Selected First Round Matches

Nicolas Kicker 28/10 | Francois Tiafoe 1/4
While the exciting prospect of Tiafoe is likely to progress here, I just think the price for Kicker is quite enticing as far as First Round matches go.

Mischa Zverev 11/10 | Benoit Paire 7/10
Alex’s older brother is something of a journeyman pro, and his notoriously high rate of serve and volley always makes him a prime candidate for an early upset; it seems to get under the skin of opponents not accustomed to such a barrage. 

Joao Sousa 21/20 | Ryan Harrison 7/10
I think that Sousa is one of the most underrated players on tour, and I think he may have the edge on Harrison this week. 

Written by Damien Kayat for @Hollywoodbets.net

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