Strong fields heading to Florida for the Miami Open
After an excellent couple of weeks of tennis in Indian Wells the two tours move to Miami this week for another important event.
Simona Halep and Novak Djokovic won the tournaments last week and will be amongst the favourites at Cranford Park over the next ten days or so. Keep reading for our preview of all this week’s tennis action.
Miami Open – Men
After a high quality tournament in Indian Wells over the last couple of weeks the ATP tour heads to Miami this week for another 1000 event As well as regularly attracting over 300,000 tennis fans it is also one of the most popular tournaments amongst players, winning the ATP World Tour Masters Tournament of the Year on six occasions.
Three of the ‘big four’ have won this tournament over the years and the man to beat, as ever, is Novak Djokovic. The Serb has won 18 of his last 19 matches at Crandon Park since 2011 and returns to Florida as the defending champion.
Djokovic beat Rafael Nadal in straight sets to win last year’s final and comes in having impressive seen off world number two Roger Federer in the final at Indian Wells.
Britain’s Andy Murray is a two time Miami champion and a win would give the Scot his tenth ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title. It has been a mixed year for Murray although the Scot reached the semis last week before being soundly beaten by the eventual champion.
The British Number one was ‘slimed’ by Nickelodeon when receiving an honorary Kids’ Choice Award from Nickelodeon on Sunday, hence the rather amusing trail pic to this this article!
Rafael Nadal is bidding for his first Miami title and 28th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament win having lost three times in the final. He lost a tense affair to Milos Raonic in last week’s quarter-final but, in truth, it is a match that could have gone either way with the Canadian saving three match points on the way to victory.
In a strong field it may also be worth keeping an eye on Kei Nishikori who has a 9-4 win record at this event and Milos Raonic whose excellent run in Indian Wells was only ended by Federer at the semi-final stage.
Miami Open – Women
With her win in 2014, Serena Williams become one of just four players in the Open era to win at least seven titles at one event. The world number one hasn’t lost at Crandon Park since her 6-4 6-4 defeat to Caroline Wozniacki in 2012 although her presence in Miami will depend on injury.
Williams withdrew from the semi-final last week because if an injury to her right knee. “I was just on the practice court two days ago and everything was going good,” she said.
“I went for a serve and just felt a super sharp pain in my knee.
When you get to a level of pain where you are at nine or a 10, or even an eight, you don’t want to push it because you can actually make it a lot worse.”
Maria Sharapova has conspired to lose each of the five Miami finals she has reached and was the runner-up in 2011, 2012 and 2013. The Russian went down to Flavia Pennetta in round four last week despite winning the first set and continues to lose matches she should really win.
Simona Halep comes into the tournament having won in Indian Wells last week while Petra Kvitova will play in Miami after missing the tournament last week.
There were plenty of upsets in Indian Wells last week proving that the women’s game is as competitive as it has been in years. Seventh seed and 2012 Miami champion Agnieska Radwanska was on the end of an upset to Britain’s Heather Watson whose run was ended in the last 16 with defeat to the 12th seed Carla Suarez-Navarro.
Fourth seed Caroline Wozniacki went down in straight sets to Belinda Bencic in round three while fifth seed Ana Ivanovic was beaten by the in-form Caroline Garcia who reached two WTA finals in February. Eugenie Bouchard also went out before the quarter-final stage to the unseeded Lesia Tsurenko of the Ukraine.
We’ve also been tipping Timea Bacsinszky over the last couple of weeks and the Swiss player boasts a 21-3 win record in 2015. She had a good run in Indian Wells, eventually losing to Serena Williams, and could go well again this week.