Miami Tennis Masters: Will Roddick, Serena Reign Supreme?
by Abe Kuijl | March 28th, 2008, 12:14 pm

Over the past three-four years, has there been a major men’s tournament harder to predict than this year’s Sony Ericsson Open? Novak Djokovic, as defending champion and winner of this year’s two big hard court events is now undoubtedly the favorite to win the crown. But we all know that for the Djoker fatigue tends to kick in after a series of matches, and despite his excellent form, it’s too soon to consider the Serb anything near a lock to win the title.

I’m a little late, but let’s have a look at the draws nonetheless.


First Quarter

When Andy Roddick played one of the best matches of his career but still went down to Roger Federer in straight sets at last year’s US Open, I was sure. Andy was never going to stand another chance against Federer. The Fed seems to thrive in his encounters against Roddick, and the American’s game just isn’t gifted enough to knock off the No. 1.

But then the King got sick, and he suffers a loss to the US’ third player. In a way, that must have hurt Roddick, but it surely will have inspired him as well. In Dubai, Andy showed that he can still play with the big boys, as he defeated both Nadal and Djokovic en route to the title. Considering how much Federer is struggling, I tend to expect the unexpected from Roddick in Key Biscayne.

Semifinalist: Andy Roddick

Second Quarter

I was a little shocked to see Andy Murray go down to Tommy Haas in Indian Wells. I would be surprised if Murray wouldn’t reach the Top 5 this year and he has a good draw in Miami, where facing Mario Ancic in the second round could be his biggest test en route to the quarters, at least. There he could face Ferrer, Youzhny, or, who knows, Fish. If Murray wants to prove he belongs at the top, he should get through here.

Semifinalist: Andy Murray

Third Quarter

It is getting a little old to say this, but Richard Gasquet is having a disappointing season so far. He could face Dubai-finalist Feliciano Lopez in the third round, and Juan Carlos Ferrero, Tomas Berdych or Sam Querrey in the fourth. It’s time for Richie to put up some results after a shocking performance against James Blake in Indian Wells last week and early exits in Marseille and Dubai. If he makes the quarters, Gasquet will most likely face Djokovic. That’s where the fun ends.

Semifinalist: Novak Djokovic

Fourth Quarter

There is no hard court tournament better suited to Rafael Nadal than Indian Wells. But a worn-down Rafa went down hard to Djokovic in the semis and now returns to the tougher conditions in Miami, where the balls don’t bounce as high as the Spaniard likes. He never reached his ’07 Indian Wells form in the desert last week and I expect Nadal to struggle at Key Biscayne. Nalbandian is a threat in this quarter but I’m not sold on his form in ’08 either. That leaves James Blake, who played very well in IW, but respectfully fell to Nadal in the quarters. Unless Nalbandian finds his A-game, Blake looks in good shape to put up a nice run.

Semifinalist: James Blake

Closing stages

Roddick – Murray could go either way, but if A-Rod indeed beats Federer, I’m not betting against his momentum. In the other semi, I believe Djokovic’ energy level will probably be down a notch by this point, but I believe his game is too solid for Blake to succumb to an upset.

In the final, I’ll pick an energized Roddick over a deflated Djoker in three.

Champion: Andy Roddick


First Quarter

Just as her male counterpart, Justine Henin is vulnerable on top of the women’s game. She is in Serena Williams’ quarter (surprise, surprise), but owns three consecutive wins over the defending champion in Miami. Henin blew two match points in last year’s final as she served for the match in the second set. Serena needs a win over the struggling Belgian to prove she is still a contender at the majors. She might not get a better chance than here on her home turf.

Semifinalist: Serena Williams

Second Quarter

Serena and Venus recently played a hard-fought, three-set battle in Bangalore, where Serena prevailed 7-6 in the third before she won the title over Patty Schnyder in the final. Venus is in Kuznetsova’s quarter, with Radwanska, Peer and Bartoli as the dark horses. The Polish girl could mean trouble, but she needs to go through Kuzy before possibly facing Venus. I don’t think she’ll do that, and I don’t think Venus loses to the Russian in a US tournament.

Semifinalist: Venus Williams

Third Quarter

Neither Anna Chakvetadze, nor Elena Dementieva featured in Indian Wells last week, which was a little surprising to me. Chakvetadze has been erratic in 2008 so far, winning in Paris but playing mediocre in other events. Dementieva played exceptionally well to win in Dubai earlier this month. Both Russians are in Jankovic’ quarter, who really needs to start planning a smarter schedule if she wants to do well in the big events. Jankovic keeps complaining about her fitness and small injuries. I’m going with the in-form veteran in this quarter to come through.

Semifinalist: Elena Dementieva

Fourth Quarter

As always, we find the second seed in the bottom quarter of the draw. It’s still a little awkward to see Ana Ivanovic’ name as No. 2 seed in a major tournament, though obviously she was the top seed in Indian Wells last week. Also in this quarter is Nicole Vaidisova, who for me is one of the biggest letdowns of the season so far. Ivanovic is scheduled to face Hantuchova in the quarters, or maybe Vaidisova, if she finds her form. Ivanovic has been playing too well not to come through this section.

Semifinalist: Ana Ivanovic

Closing stages

When Serena and Venus played in Bangalore a few weeks ago, I believed Venus would win. Both players held match points in India, but despite the close scoreline, the quality of the match was hardly impressive. The sisters played some exciting points, but they were easily outnumbered by the number of head-scratching misses. I’ll pick Serena to win again in Miami. Dementieva beat Ivanovic in Dubai recently and holds a 3-0 edge over the Serb. Of course Ivanovic has made great strides in recent months and she should be able to outhit Lena D. from the baseline. However, the emotions of winning Indian Wells could catch up with Ana here in Miami and Dementieva is still high on confidence of winning Dubai. I’ll go with the Russian in this one, before she falls to Serena in the final.

Champion: Serena Williams 

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8 Comments for Miami Tennis Masters: Will Roddick, Serena Reign Supreme?

Denise Says:

From your lips to God’s ears……..that would be an awesome tournament to watch (even on crappy old FSN)!

(TD) Tam Says:

Why are tennis-x bloggers suddenly jumping on Roddick’s bandwagon after having written him off as a one dimensional no talent jerk for years? This makes me nervous. Please get off the Roddick bandwagon and go back to mooning over Federer.

On that note does anyone have a good explanation why Djokovic lost in the first round to qualifier Anderson? Ouch what a way to lose 500 points.

jane Says:


Anderson’s serve seemed to trouble Djoko throughout the first set, and then he seemed to get a handle on things in the second set and was up a break in the third. However, there is some talk about him getting a time violation from the umpire and then he lost focus and his serve – twice. Anderson’s serve was great though, and I don’t believe Djoko is blaming the umpire. He’s saying he wasn’t focused enough and was tired and didn’t know what to expect as he’d never seen his game before. So it sounds like a reasonable fair-and-square loss.

I’ve always liked Roddick – I would love to see him do well here!

Von Says:

TD and jane:

The following might be a partial answer re Djoko’s loss:

“Djokovic, leading 2-0 but facing break point, was dribbling before a serve when umpire Norm Chryst warned him for taking too much time. Djokovic whacked a forehand winner to end that point, then screamed in the umpire’s direction and shook both fists. The crowd hooted at the Serbian.

Two points later, when Djokovic hit a first serve into the net, several fans cheers [sic]. He glared toward the stands, then lost the point and the game when he blew an easy volley.”

Sounds like an exact repeat of the AO final. When is the boy going to learn that he can’t bully people into submission, let alone adulation (actually, he can only bully them into the exact opposite reaction)? I’m beginning to think that when he says he’s an emotional person and shows his emotions on court, that translates as “I’m an angry person and I have anger management issues.” I guess he can at least be glad that Kevin Anderson’s mom isn’t named Dijana….”

Here’s the link.

Von Says:

Sean Randall:

FYI: It seems that there’s a font problem with this thread — don’t know if it shows up on your PC, but the font shows up as ‘italics’ on mine. The change ocurred at “Champion Serena Williams.

Von Says:

Sean Randall:

It never rains but it pours. I hardly ever post to you and guess what, today you hit the jackpot, two (2) posts from me — all problems. Anyway, without further ado, is Tennis.X’s computer clock set for Central Time – 1 hour behind Standard time, that’s how it has been showing up on my posts, since the daylight savings time change.

On another topic, the Tennis Channel is worthy of some credit, as they are picking up delayed broadcasts of the Miami matches, for four (4) hours per day. I would assume they’ll be showing the American players’ matches, which is fine by me. Maybe, this is a positive indication of them stepping up to the plate to help out FSN, and make us tennis starved viewers somewhat happier. I’ll take any additional morsels of coverage — I’m not picky. I hope this is an indication that the moratorium is abating.

FoT Says:

Hey Abe, your predictions:

1st Q: Roddick (well, so far he’s still in the tournament)

2nd Q: Murray (OUT)

3rd Q: Djokovic (OUT)

4th Q: Blake (still in so far)

50% so far… I do hope you are wrong on at lest one more quarter as I’m pulling for Roger. I wouldn’t mind seeing Blake do great but I want Roger as the Champion.

jane Says:


I believe Serena will “reign supreme” judging by the beating she put on Henin. As for A-Rod, his test is Federer; if he can win today, then his confidence will be soaring and he may just win the title. But honestly, if he beats Federer and still loses the title, he will still “reign supreme,” in a way, for getting the Swiss champ.

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