Djokovic, Murray, Soderling Open Play Friday in Miami; Sharapova, Wozniacki Winners
Novak Djokovic puts his 20-match win-streak on the line Friday at the Sony Ericsson Miami against Denis Istomin. Also in second round play will be No. 4 Robin Soderling, No. 5 Andy Murray, No. 6 David Ferrer and No. 9 Fernando Verdasco.
“To be honest, I am playing great and I’m feeling good on the court,” Djokovic said today. “The results are coming with the hard work that I’m putting in with my team, so my priority for the next period and the continuation of this season is to try to stay healthy and try to continue on playing this well.”
For the women, No. 2 seed Kim Clijsters will test her injured right shoulder against Yakimova. No. 3 seed Vera Zvonareva plays countrywoman Dinara Safina and Ana Ivanovic meets 40-year-old Kimiko Date-Krumm.
Murray, who has lost his last three matches, opens the Miami event against qualifier Alex Bogomolov, Jr. Soderling faces the only man to take a set off Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open, Ivan Dodig.
In other matches, Milos Raonic meets Somdev Devvarman, Juan Martin Del Potro and Philllip Kolhschreiber tangle in an Indian Wells rematch and Americans Mardy Fish, Sam Querrey, John Isner and James Blake are also in action.
In play Thursday, World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki won her first match defeating Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-2, 7-5.
“Bethanie is a tough player to play,’ the Dane said. “You never know what to expect from her, and she’s going for her shots no matter where she’s standing on the court and it’s difficult to get the rhythm. Especially in the first match you want to get going, you want to have the rallies. But I really couldn’t get that today, so I just had to fight. I thought I did that pretty well.”
Also, playing in her first Miami event in four years, Maria Sharapova dominated Croatian Petra Martic 6-3, 6-2.
“This is one of my favorite events. I’m just so happy to get back on that court today and I love playing in front of the crowd,” Sharapova said. “They’re so enthusiastic. They love their sports and have that Latin flavor about them.”
For the men, WC Ryan Harrison fell to Germany’s Rainier Schuettler 7-5, 6-2. Fellow youngsters Grigor Dmitrov, Richard Berankis and Jack Sock joined Harrison at the exits.
But Japan’s Kei Nishikori won a date with World No. 1 Rafael Nadal in the second round after beating Frenchman Jeremy Chardy 7-6(5), 6-2.
“He’s No. 1 right now, and it’s going to be my challenge match,” said Nishikori about playing Nadal. “I’m really excited to play. Always I’m excited to play like Rafa and top players. I will do my best. I have to do something different in my game, a little bit, of course. But I guess more aggressive than usual.”
Janko Tipsarevic and Radek Stepanek, who now plays Roger Federer, were other winners on the men’s side.
ORDER OF PLAY – FRIDAY, 25 MARCH, 2011
STADIUM start 11:00 am
I Dodig (CRO) vs  R Soderling (SWE) – ATP
[Q] A Yakimova (BLR) vs  K Clijsters (BEL) – WTA
 A Murray (GBR) vs [Q] A Bogomolov Jr. (USA) – ATP
[WC] D Safina (RUS) vs  V Zvonareva (RUS) – WTA
Not Before 7:30 PM
D Istomin (UZB) vs  N Djokovic (SRB) – ATP
K Date-Krumm (JPN) vs  A Ivanovic (SRB) – WTA
GRANDSTAND start 11:00 am
S Devvarman (IND) vs  M Raonic (CAN) – ATP
P Andujar (ESP) vs  F Verdasco (ESP) – ATP
 F Schiavone (ITA) vs A Kerber (GER) – WTA
 D Ferrer (ESP) vs [Q] I Kunitsyn (RUS) – ATP
Not Before 5:00 PM
 P Kohlschreiber (GER) vs J Del Potro (ARG) – ATP
 M Fyrstenberg (POL) / M Matkowski (POL) vs J Erlich (ISR) / A Ram (ISR) – ATP
COURT 1 start 11:00 am
B Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) vs  A Radwanska (POL) – WTA
 M Kirilenko (RUS) vs [Q] S Mirza (IND) – WTA
 M Bartoli (FRA) vs A Morita (JPN) – WTA
[Q] P Lorenzi (ITA) vs  R Gasquet (FRA) – ATP
 V Azarenka (BLR) vs [Q] L Hradecka (CZE) – WTA
 L Huber (USA) / N Petrova (RUS) vs [WC] P Martic (CRO) / A Tomljanovic (CRO) – WTA
COURT 2 start 11:00 am
 M Fish (USA) vs J Benneteau (FRA) – ATP
 T Bellucci (BRA) vs [WC] J Blake (USA) – ATP
M Granollers (ESP) vs  S Wawrinka (SUI) – ATP
M Kukushkin (KAZ) vs  S Querrey (USA) – ATP
Not Before 6:00 PM
I Andreev (RUS) vs  J Isner (USA) – ATP
Also Check Out:
Sharapova Overwhelms Wozniacki For Second Indian Wells Win And First Title Since The French Open
Shocker as Sharapova Withdraws from Miami, Fine on the Way?
Radwanska Needs to Get in Sharapova’s Face: Sony Miami Women’s Final Preview
Sharapova Faces Moonballin’ Wozniacki For Indian Wells Women’s Title Sunday
Sharapova Shrieked-Down by Azarenka in Miami Final