Breadsticks And Bagels

Miami Open Preview & Predictions

After a thrilling week & a half in Indian Wells, the ATP Tour shifts to the second-half of the ‘Sunshine Double’ this week at the Miami Open. Almost a two-week spell in the desert resulted in a tournament largely filled with upsets, all over the place. Many players will be looking for a bounce back here in Miami Gardens, where the tournament will make its debut at the new home of tennis in Miami. 

Draw Analysis – Top Half – 1st Quarter

The top quarter of the draw is headed up by the world number one, Novak Djokovic. Djokovic has been given an incredibly favourable draw here. Djokovic’s projected run to the final is Berdych-Millman-Fognini-Isner-Thiem, of which he has a H2H record of 49-7 overall. His early loss last week to Kohlschreiber should not ring any alarm bells, it was Novak’s first tournament in over a month and his path to the quarter final & arguably the semi final seems quite comfortable, on paper.

This next section becomes a little fun. John Isner, Milos Raonic & Kyle Edmund could all come out of here and reach the quarter final. A fourth round appearance in Indian Wells, preceded by 3 consecutive semi finals, sees the 7th-seed & defending champion, John Isner in good form. Milos Raonic awaits the winner of what should be a fun first round match between Max Marterer & Taylor Fritz. Whilst the top-ranked Brit, Kyle Edmund will play either Thomas Fabbiano or Ilya Ivashka.

Draw Analysis – Top Half – 2nd Quarter

Fresh off the biggest title of his career, #3 seed Dominic Thiem will look to continue his momentum here. A potentially dangerous second-round opponent could spell trouble however, with both players bringing in some momentum also. Hubert Hurkacz reached the quarter finals in Indian Wells, his best ATP Tour result to date, whilst Matteo Berrettini won the Phoenix Challenger this past week against a stacked field.

Gael Monfils will be looking to pick up where he left off in Indian Wells (before the retirement). The Frenchman is in blistering form & is arguably playing as well as anyone on the tour right now. I think he makes the fourth round comfortably here, barring any injury problems.

Borna Coric is coming off a disappointing defeat in the desert & has been drawn in a tough section of the draw. A likely fourth round match between Nick Kyrgios or Kei Nishikori would make for great viewing, however he has some potential obstacles to overcome first. Jeremy Chardy & Gilles Simon have both enjoyed various amounts of success here & they will most likely meet in the second round.

As mentioned above, Nick Kyrgios and Kei Nishikori are projected to meet in the third round, with Nishikori owning a 4-0 H2H record in that matchup. Kyrgios will be facing Tennys Sandgren or a qualifier & Nishikori will play the winner of Dusan Lajovic and a qualifier.

Draw Analysis – Bottom Half – 3rd Quarter

The bottom half of the draw begins with Kevin Anderson, who has withdrawn from 4 straight tournaments. Anderson reached the quarter final here last year before falling in a 3rd-set tiebreak. He’ll play the winner of young Spaniard, Jaume Munar & a qualifier.

Grigor Dimitrov is another man looking to return from injury here. The Bulgarian has struggled with injury ever since the Australian Open and was also forced to withdraw last week. Dimitrov has won just 9 out of 17 matches in Miami, with a best result of the fourth round (2012 & 2016). A second round match against Feliciano Lopez or Benoit Paire should be a great test of form coming back in.

The projected third round opponent of Dimitrov, is the big-hitting Russian, Karen Khachanov. The 22-year-old was finally able to find some form this past week after a dismal start to the year. It’s worth noting that he has switched back to his old Wilson racquet, which he found career-best success with last season.

Someone who has dipped in form after a sensational start to the year is Daniil Medvedev. Medvedev suffered a surprising straight-sets drubbing to Krajinovic in the third round last week & has an interesting draw here. A second round match between Mannarino or Bedene should pose no problems, but from there it gets a little tricky. Jan-Lennard Struff disposed of Sascha Zverev with ease last week on his way to the fourth round, whilst the #21 seed, Diego Schwartzman, can prove trouble.

It’s worth noting that both Swiss stars, Roger Federer & Stan Wawrinka are projected to meet in the third round for the second straight week. As stated last week, it would be no problems to Federer, as he now boasts a 17-0 H2H record over Wawrinka on hard courts.

Whomever Wawrinka meets in the second round, whether it be Filip Krajinovic or Pierre Hugues Herbert, it will be their first career matchup. Roger Federer will meet the winner of Matthew Ebden & a qualifier. One thing to look out for & hope for, is a projected fourth round of Daniil Medvedev & Roger Federer.

Draw Analysis – Bottom Half – 4th Quarter

There is a chance that Stefanos Tsitspas faces another up-and-comer that is bursting on to the scene here, Ugo Humbert. Tsitsipas will be wanting an improved result this tournament, after suffering an early loss in Indian Wells.

In Tsitsipas’ mini-section is Marin Cilic & Denis Shapovalov, both whom are projected to meet in the third round for the second straight week. Shapovalov came away with a comfortable 4&2 win against the Croatian, and will be hoping for a similar result to set up a potentially huge match against Tsitsipas.

Looking for a bounce back here is last year’s finalist, Alexander Zverev. Zverev suffered a shock third-round loss to countryman, Jan-Lennard Struff last week, in which he lost convincingly. A nice projected draw to the quarter finals should see him get there, he just needs to be on his game.

Upset Alert

On Upset Alert in Miami are two matches. Miomir Kecmanovic made a great run to the quarter finals last week and will take all that momentum with him against Ernests Gulbis in the first round. If Pierre Hugues Herbert can get past Filip Krajinovic in the first round, I would not be surprised for him to go on and defeat Stan Wawrinka in the second.

One To Watch

Our One To Watch at the Miami Open is Karen Khachanov. Whilst a change of racquet may not mean much to many, Khachanov was able to win his first match in over a month & made a run to the quarter finals. This might have been just what he needed to gain some much-needed confidence back and he has a very nice path to the quarter finals here.

Prediction

Whilst it may not be as fun to pick the favourite, it’s pretty logical in this case as he has been given an incredible draw. An early round loss doesn’t happen very often to Novak Djokovic, however this was his first tournament back. How’s this for a fun stat: Whenever Djokovic has lost before the final in Miami, every year following, he has reached the final, winning 3 of them out of 4. I’m going with the favourite.

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