Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Who can stop Federer in Miami ?

Over this week and the next the Miami Open is being contested - a Masters 1000 event on the ATP Tour and a Premier Mandatory event on the WTA Tour.

In a major blow for tournament organisers and for the public, the world numbers one and two, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic will be missing, as too will world number two Serena Williams.
However, the fields remain strong, with the finalists from last week's Indian Wells tournament among many with reasonable claims for success in Florida.

Stan Wawrinka, disappointed runner-up in California, finds himself the top seed in Miami, and won't be happy that he is drawn to meet his vanquisher, Roger Federer in the semi final.  Before that possible match, though,  there are other likely hurdles, including Alexander Zverev in the round of sixteen, and either of Nick Kyrgios or David Goffin in the quarter finals.

Federer is playing some wonderful tennis at the moment, but even his path to Miami success is not smooth.  It should be del Potro in the third round, and Bautista Agut or Querrey won't be easy fourth round tasks.  Still, hurdles expected to be cleared with not too much stress.

One part of the draw which is particularly intriguing is the Nadal / Raonic quarter.  Rafa will be hurting from his thrashing at the hands of Federer in Indian Wells and happy not to have to meet him here unless it is the final.
First he will need to overcome Philipp Kohlschreiber in round three and probably Grigor Dimitrov in the round of sixteen.
A Raonic / Nadal quarter final depends on the Canadian third seed more than likely having to pass tests from Mischa Zverev and Jack Sock.

Second seed Kei Nishikori, 2016 finalist, has on paper, a somewhat lightweight section of the draw to navigate.  However, Fernando Verdasco is a dangerous prospect early in tournaments for top seeds, and Pablo Carreno Busta is potentially problematic if Nishikori meets him in the fourth round, given the Spaniard's excellent performance in Indian Wells.

The Draw Gods have allowed the possibility of another Fedal final, but I suspect that it may be Federer v Nishikori.

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