2017 ATP Miami Preview and Predictions from R32 Onwards
Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
Two rounds of the 2017 ATP Masters 1000 in Miami are in the books, the top 5 players in the draw remain, but with Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic notably absent due to injury, we could see a new winner in Miami. Here is a look at the remaining rounds of the tournament.
Miami Open presented by Itau
ATP World Tour Masters 1000
Miami, FL, USA
March 22-April 2, 2017
Prize Money: $6,993,450
Last week’s Indian Wells finalist Stan Wawrinka got the top seed spot in Miami and posted a routine win over Horacio Zeballos in round 2, with Tunisia’s Malek Jaziri up next. Jaziri is in-form, having won five of his last six matches, but Wawrinka has been a consistent performer this season and should overpower his rival shotmaker. John Isner has been struggling, but he did pick up a round 2 win over Thomaz Bellucci. With the young gun Alexander Zverev opposite him in round 3, it should be Zverev picking up the win (after defeating Rendy Lu in round 2), to face off with Wawrinka in the round of 16. Wawrinka will be the favorite in that one.
Nick Kyrgios continued his good form from Indian Wells, the Aussie picked up a win against Damir Dzumhur, and now has to face Ivo Karlovic, who was a winner over Andrey Kuznetsov round 2. Karlovic’s big serve is dangerous, but Kyrgios should be able to string together comfortable holds and win tiebreaks to reach the fourth round. David Goffin’s draw opened up after Diego Schwartzman scored wins over Karen Khachanov and David Ferrer, Goffin looks set to beat the Argentine before falling to Kyrgios.
Sam Querrey will have a winnable match against another Spaniard, Roberto Bautista Agut, after defeating Tommy Robredo in round 2. The American is a solid competitor, but RBA, who beat Mikhail Kukushkin round 2, should be the favorite. IW champion Roger Federer put away Frances Tiafoe, while Juan Martin Del Potro ended Robin Haase’s run to setup a huge third round clash. Del Potro has the ability to defeat Federer, but Federer remains extremely formidable right now and should prevail to face Querrey/RBA.
Tomas Berdych has been struggling all year, but a win over Andrey Rublev has setup a winnable contest with Gilles Muller for him in round 3, after Muller defeated Andreas Seppi. Berdych should make an even deeper run as long as he beat Borna Coric or Adrian Mannarino. This section opened up after Coric took top 10 player Dominic Thiem to the woodshed, playing his best tennis since coming back from injury, and again putting himself on the young gun radar. Federer or Del Potro are heavy favorites in this section.
Kei Nishikori badly needs a strong result in this tournament as the #2 seed, the Japanese #1 will face Fernando Verdasco after Verdasco defeated Ernesto Escobedo, and Nishikori eased past Kevin Anderson. In round 4 it will be J.L. Struff or Federico Delbonis, a surprising pair who face off in round 3 after Struff upset Gilles Simon and Delbonis upset IW semifinalist Pablo Carreno Busta. Struff mentally struggles at times, and it should be Nishikori over Delbonis for a spot in the quarterfinals.
One of Jeremy Chardy, Fabio Fognini, Benoit Paire, and Donald Young will be a Masters quarterfinalist after Chardy upset a struggling Marin Cilic, Fognini beat Joao Sousa, Paire defeated Pablo Cuevas, and Young upset Lucas Pouille. Paire and Chardy are slight favorites to advance, with Paire my pick to make the quarterfinals. He has the talent, but has lacked focus.
After Milos Raonic defeated Viktor Troicki in round 2, he looks set for a big clash with Jack Sock, as long as Sock beats Jiri Vesely, and Raonic beats American Jared Donaldson. Sock reached the semis in IW and is in-form, while Raonic is still just returning from injury and has rust, making Sock the favorite.
Rafael Nadal has a clear path to the quarterfinals, he dispatched Dudi Sela, should do the same against Philipp Kohlschreiber, who barely survived Taylor Fritz, neither Nicolas Mahut, who upset Steve Johnson in round 2, or Guido Pella, who stunned Grigor Dimitrov after narrowly defeating Tim Smyczek, is formidable, and Nadal should be able to win out and make a run.
Wawrinka d. Kyrgios
Federer d. Berdych
Nadal d. Sock
Nishikori d. Paire
Kyrgios at his best can beat a player of Wawrinka’s caliber, but Stan is more consistent. Federer and Nadal have relatively clear paths, and Nishikori should be in the semis with his draw.
Federer d. Wawrinka
Nadal d. Nishikori
Despite the opportunity for a new pair of finalists, a Federer vs. Nadal final makes sense. Nadal has never won in Miami, while Federer last won it over ten years ago.
Federer d. Nadal
Federer proved he has cracked Nadal’s code after two straight wins on hard courts against his Spanish rival this year. Nadal is much improved from last year, but Federer is on an even higher level and has everything to play for.