Miami Draw Preview: Federer, Del Potro, Djokovic Lead Way
by Sean Randall | March 21st, 2018, 12:05 pm
  • 62 Comments

The tour goes from the left coast to the right coast, shifting from the dry desert air of California to the tropical humidity of Miami, site of the final Miami Open to be held in Key Biscayne.

After their thrilling final Sunday at Indian Wells, defending champion Roger Federer and Juan Martin Del Potro are back, along with Novak Djokovic, Alexander Zverev, Marin Cilic and Grigor Dimitrov.

Once again, though, many big names are not here – Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka, JW Tsonga and Gael Monfils – so like Indian Wells, expect some surprising results.

On to the draw…

ROGER FEDERER QUARTER
The 3-time champion Federer is again the favorite to win the title, but he’s got some tricky opposition in his section. The returning Thanasi Kokkinakis could be his first foe, then the dangerous Fernando Verdasco who always seems to push the top guys. Maybe Adrian Mannarino in the fourth then could come a big test with Tomas Berdych in the quarters. Berdych had matchpoints against the Swiss a year ago in Miami, though the Czech may not make it that far. In a tough section, he’s grouped with the feisty Australian Alex De Minaur, Melbourne semifinalist Kyle Edmund and then in the fourth round either Kevin Anderson or Karen Khachanov. I think Anderson, who’s been in form, makes it through in the end but falls to Federer in another Masters quarterfinal loss.
The Pick: Roger Federer

ALEXANDER ZVEREV QUARTER
When will Alex Zverev get back on track? What about Jack Sock? Is Born Coric the real deal? Is Nick Kyrgios OK? I guess we’ll learn more because all are stuffed in this second quarter. Just going by the eye test, someone like David Ferrer could get through, but he’s just too past his prime for my liking. After his breakthrough last week, Coric I think will flame out, maybe to Sock. I don’t trust Kyrgios yet, Zverev has been shaky, but I like Sam Querrey. Good draw early, then he beats Sock and Ferrer who makes Zverev work too much (or maybe Fognini!). Sam gets his first Masters semifinal.
The Pick: Sam Querrey

GRIGOR DIMITROV QUARTER
By far the toughest quadrant of the draw is the Dimitrov quarter. The Bulgarian, who once won the ATP Finals, is joined by Del Potro, Kei Nishikori, Djokovic and Milos Raonic. The “Quarter of Death”? Yeah, you could call it that. Del Potro is probably the slight favorite. If there’s a “home” Masters for him, this is it because of the Latin support he’ll receive in South Florida. But coming in on an 11-match win streak, how much will he have in the tank? The draw doesn’t help either with former finalist Nishikori in the third round, 6-time winner Djokovic in the fourth, then Dimitrov in the quarters. That’s brutal if it happens. Nishikori is just coming back from injury – otherwise I would take him here – Djokovic is awfully unsteady and could just as well lose to countryman Filip Krajinovic. I also like Raonic’s draw. The Canadian should be able to serve his way to a fourth round against Dimitrov. But I’ll lean to Dimitrov to beat Raonic, then beat a wary Del Potro in a nighttime thriller to make the semifinals.
The Pick: Grigor Dimitrov

MARIN CILIC QUARTER
Former quarterfinalist Marin Cilic is the small favorite to make his first semi in Miami in this section. The Croat who has made two Grand Slam finals in the last nine months, faces a difficult path, though. The improving Taylor Fritz at the open, the Russian Andrey Rublev followed by big-serving American John Isner. In the quarters, David Goffin is coming back from an eye injury, Roberto Bautista Agut is in the mix but I like this Hyeon Chung. In heavy, humid conditions, I think the Korean can hit through the court, beat RBA, beat Jared Donaldson in the fourth then take out Isner.
The Pick: Hyeon Chung

Semifinals
Federer d Querrey: Another final for Federer!
Chung d Dimitrov: The Korean sets the rematch.

Finals
Federer d Chung: Chungs gets closer to beating the legend, but not close enough.

Unlike Indian Wells, I think anything could happen in this event. Federer is 36, he could have one of his “senior moments” at any time. He’s due. That wouldn’t surprise me. Though this could be his last event for a while until the grass in June, so might that be some extra motivation?

Del Potro could be gassed. Years ago – back in 2008/2009 – once he got on a run he was extremely dangerous. But I wonder if at 29, after all he’s been through, after the high of winning Indian Wells and Acapulco, how much will have to give? Still, he’s the clear No. 2 favorite after Federer here.

The youngsters are a random sort. Zverev we don’t know anymore, but more than capable of breaking out. One of the Russian kids could make a run, maybe a young American like Fritz gets on a roll again or Denis Shapovlov. De Minaur could surprise Berdych and course my guy Chung.

There are several guys returning form injury. Djokovic, Kyrgios and Nishikori would be viable semifinal or even final picks, but they remain question marks until they can prove otherwise – and I want to see how Djokovic does here. He looked so bad at Indian Wells, he’s got to show up better in Miami.

And then you have the big men like Berdych, Raonic, Anderson or Isner. All will be tough outs.

So again, with many big names again absent, we are going to see some strange names come the final few days. But in the end, I think old guys still rule.

By the way, the tournament has already announced that Djokovic will play Friday afternoon, Del Potro Friday night, Federer Saturday afternoon and Kyrgios Saturday night.

WEDNESDAY MIAMI SCHEDULE
STADIUM start 11:00 am
ATP – R. Harrison (USA) vs J. Sousa (POR)
ATP – P. Herbert (FRA) vs T. Fritz (USA)

Not Before 3:00 pm
WTA – C. Bellis (USA) vs [WC] V. Azarenka (BLR)
WTA – [WC] S. Williams (USA) vs N. Osaka (JPN)

Not Before 7:30 pm
ATP – J. Donaldson (USA) vs [WC] M. Baghdatis (CYP)

Not Before 9:00 pm
WTA – M. Puig (PUR) vs S. Stosur (AUS)


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62 Comments for Miami Draw Preview: Federer, Del Potro, Djokovic Lead Way

chofer Says:

Well, that’s a more considerable thought than Tignor’s. That’s for sure.

I’m hesitant to pick Querrey on that quarter; but it could happen.

Of course, Delpo gets the brutal draw. It’s his karma. Randall it’s Ok picking Dimitrov here, I think. He has the most riddle-free draw. Raonic is not there yet. Too many pounds to move. Needs more training.

I’m happy he selected Chung. He’s by far the next-genner that is enough match-tough to get far here. If he wasn’t THAT intimidated with Roger…

I think I read somewhere he’s like Djokovic-lite. The same they were saying about Nishikori. I think Chung is the real deal, people. In terms of tennis, I mean. He has yet to graduate as a champion. He reminds of Nole a lot, in a way that he manages to play the “transition” of defense to offense in the blink of an eye. He needs a better second serve, but it will come.

Nishikori, on the other hand, it’s not that good a defender to me. He’s similar to Novak in that offensive BHDTL, because he likes to play inside the baseline, but in no way he’s on his same defensive level. His short reach is makes him weak, especially on his FH side.

I see Chung moves better than the Japanese, too. He’s a keen strategist for his age.

He needs to get rid off his “startruck” completely. Seems too nice! And fix his second serve. He’s my dark horse to get far at the French, too.

Well thought, Randall.

I don’t have a clue how is Nole. One thing is getting rid off the pain on training. Another is to play match after match with that on the back on your mind.

Just ask Delpo.


Van Persie Says:

Just for fun, my picks: Semifinal 1: Fed vs Kyrgios, Semifinal 2: DelPo vs Cilic.
Not in the mood to think about the winner, have to see how it goes until then…


Van Persie Says:

Let’s take a shot, hehe; Kyrgios vs Cilic in Final, would like to have DelPo, but I think he will be tired. Hope not, though.
Kyrgios wins this all


chofer Says:

VP

Randall is right about Delpo. I wish I could say something different, but hem was never the kind of player to get hot enough for three tournaments back to back. He suffers the humidity of Miami like the extreme heat in Oz. His record at Miami is apalling.

One thing I noticed always about him is that he’s like a Nadal-case, just on reverse. Whereas Nadal like sunny-hot and dry conditions to make his tops spin hit heavier and deeper, so Delpo needs cloudy-cooler or night matches because he just can’t stand the heat and light! Did you see every time he served at Indian Wells how many times he simulated the toss, so the sun won’t hit him in the eyes?

Humidity is a poison plus to his wrists, too. I hope you’re right and I’m wrong, though.

But I don’t see it.

On the other hand, Federer, Djokovic or Murray couldn’t care much about weather or court conditions. They’re more adaptable.


chofer Says:

Cilic has a good draw. I’m confident in him just on the latter stages.
Kyrgios is fun to watch, always. When he learns how to compete or how to play percentages, then I’ll be behind him.

He thinks he can get away with his serve only. One of these days, his serving arm will fall off!!


Van Persie Says:

Was just thinking: adrenaline from IW might push DP far in the tournament….and Kyrgios, do not know, he’s crazy enough to beat them all, if he feels better. Do not know exactly, how his injury is now


chofer Says:

The preview photo of this Miami topic is Nadal with a scarf under the snow.

Is that an editor’s joke?

Does tennis-x need editors? I’m offering!


chofer Says:

VP

I’m more confident in elephats flying. But anything goes with Nick:))


chofer Says:

Soory! It’s not Nadal with scarf, it’s Roger. But the game remains the same!:))


Van Persie Says:

Hey Chofer, I think it is possible to bring elephants in airplanes, so, Kyrgios has a chance :D


chofer Says:

Kyrgios has a chance if he let him be coached:))

But, hey, I like your boldness!!:))


chofer Says:

Watching Giles Simon. I’ve always wonder hown can anyone be that skinny. He’s not an ounce of fat or muscle. Pure fiber. I don’t think he’s ever injured in 10 years. I hate him so much.


Van Persie Says:

Chofer, it is not like I put money on him :).


Tennis Vagabond Says:

There is no way Kyrgios is coming back from injury fit. He’s going nowhere.

I think Fed is safely through to the finals. None of the guys on his side of the draw should trouble him, with the shape they’re in.

2nd quarter is interesting though. Expect Zverev to make it through.

The quarter of death, I wouldn’t make a guess at. Only Nishikori would surprise me, really. Would love to see Novak make it through, but I think it will be Dmitrov, Del Potro or Raonic.

Last quarter, Cilic. Chung is due for a letdown, and Cilic should be on the upswing of his up-and-down pendulum.


chofer Says:

VP

I know!!:))

TV

I picked Chung at the dark horse. I like Cilic, but he needs his serve pumping a lot more. Something he’ve got with Ivanisevic but now seems DOA. I dunno.


Okiegal Says:

I’m picking Roger the Artful Dodger……….a minor hiccup in IW……he’ll be back with a vengeance………He will not lose anymore tiebreakers…….


Margot Says:

In the challenge some of us do, I’ve picked Chung to win! So that’s a double jinx!


Margot Says:

chofer: Simon has had knee and hamstring injuries and at one time was out of the game for quite a while.


Markus Says:

I’m just curious to see how Djokovic plays his first match. If it looks like he is anywhere his pre-injury form, then I’ll pick him behind Federer bunched up with Cilic, del Potro and one unexpected player (not a NextGen).


chofer Says:

@Margot

I didn’t know! He’s like Ferrer to me. Unbreakable!:-

Doble jinx, indeed. I think the Korean, at least, is the “next consistent performer” I don’t know if he’s yet to win a Biggie; but I’m sure he’ll perform his seeding and maybe beyond. He doesn’t look to me like a one who’ll take bad losses. Looking at Zverev and Thiem, here.


j-kath Says:

Markus: Djokovic has been totally pain free for the last few days – said how happy and relieved he is. See how far he can go.

Not sure del Potro or Federer will win/make the final – think they’ll both be fatigued…their last match was not simply physical but mentally draining.


Markus Says:

A pain-free Djokovic will always be a threat. That loss to Daniel was very unexpected if Novak was really without pain because Daniel did not really play exceptionally.

You may be right about Federer and del Potro. I forgot Roger is already 36. He would have been the top pick to win it if only he were younger, like 35.


j-kath Says:

Markus – re. Djok. pain – he stated free of pain over last 2-3 days and is on a “high” because of that.


chofer Says:

Very funny, Markus

Djoko not only lost to Daniel. He couldn’t handle one BDTL in all the match. If he’s to find his mojo all of a sudden, it would be some kind of miracle. Nobody gets back from that kind of injury with his tennis intact. It’s wishful thinking, really. Then again, we all know he’ll be a pain in the ass for some time. It took Nadal and Federer awhile to get their best form. And they didn’t have half-less that kind of injury. Novak needs rythm and confidence. I expect him to find it by the spring. It’s too early.


chofer Says:

Osaka has wiped out the floor with the Mighty Serena. Coming back is never easy.


Markus Says:

Had Serena played against somebody in the caliber of Daniel, I think it likely that she would have won. Unfortunately, she faced Osaka who has recently been wiping out the floor with everybody, current number 1 included.


Humble Rafa Says:

Beaten by a Japanese. Wow. The Asians are really taking over now.

We We Beats You You is not good for tennis.


Kimberly Says:

Greetings all from Miami. Been to both days of qualifying and day 1 and watched a lot of practice and Colin of course got a lot of selfies with playersand authographs.

So far he has selfies/ photos with Ostapenko (who took his phone and wanted to do it herself since she didn’t think he was doing a good job!) sam querrey, sock, raonic, azarenka, cic bellis, dimitorov, goffin, nishikori, petkovic, kerber, sandgren, bedene, f. lopez, gasquet, kyle Edmund, paire, m. zverev, errani, fritz, vesnina, gavrilova, mladenovic, strycova, bautista agut, Mueller, steve Johnson, chung and prob more I don’t remember!

He got authographs as well but no photo with Kyrgios, Serena, Osaka karlovic pliskova lisicki vania king

Bourchard lost in qualifying and refused to sign and Djokovic and Verdasco crowd after their shirtless match was too large. Federer has been practicing in the stadium and we have not seen venus.

The temperature will drop tomorrow which should help the players as a lot seemed to be struggling in the heat. But next few days will be cool.

Loooooove Miami Open.


chofer Says:

It’s already “cool”. Federer’s using a scarf.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Thanks for the report, Kimberly. Always great to hear from fans on site.


Kimberly Says:

goffin, dimitrov, halep and gasquet all putting in a lot of practice at Crandon. doesn’t mean the others aren’t elsewhere but onsite those are doing ALOT.

So some of the practice pairings
Sock v. Kyrgios
Sock v. Fritz
Djokovic Verdasco
Djokovic Troicki
Sandgren Bedene
Querrey v. Edmund
Nishikori v. Goffin
Zverev (a) v. Fognini
Zverev (m) v. Schwartzman
MLadenovic v. Kerber


Kimberly Says:

Federer was practicing instead the stadium on Tuesday, I didn’t see, of course the matches started today


Markus Says:

I’m looking forward to reading your first person accounts, Kimberly. They’re fun to read because they give us some personal connection to the event. Thank you.


Markus Says:

My comments are under moderation. I must be getting controversial.


Margot Says:

Have a great time Kimberley and Colin. Always good to have a first hand account! Lucky old you :)
So sad Andy isn’t playing in his other back yard :( In the warmth….


Willow Says:

Shame Kimberly doesnt post more often, she is very much missed ….


Willow Says:

Markus i think of some that should be under moderation, but never yours lol ….


Daniel Says:

Kimberly,

You as an insider, do you know if the next venue Hard Rock Stadium is gonna be better?

My cousin and unlce went 2 times to Crandon and they love it.


Giles Says:

https://twitter.com/sittanyusha/status/976819681884590082?s=21
No Rafa thread so I’ll post here.
Rafa back practicing on the red stuff. 😄👍


Willow Says:

Thanks for the info Giles, i cant wait to see him back ;-)


Okiegal Says:

Thanks Giles…… I’ve been wondering about his progress…… this is great news!!!


skeezer Says:

Hola Kimberly in Miami! Thanks for the reporting there ;)


Okiegal Says:

Thanks Kimberly….. love your comments, Miss Roving Reporter, keep them coming!!


skeezer Says:

Enjoyed the write up by Sean here. Felt the same way after looking at the draw. After seeing Chung a few times, if he continues to play like he has been playing, it won’t be surprising to see him break through. A little shy about that though as many of us have seen the younger guys have a good streak in some tournaments and then fade away…….ugh.


j-kath Says:

Marcus: Take heart…..And Keep it up….it’s only the cutting edge posters that get moderated…..it happened to me and then they got bored and decided I wasn’t interesting enuf.


Okiegal Says:

&Markus……Regarding TX and moderation……I can’t believe some of the comments that are allowed…. the x-rated ones…..TB comes to mind……I always enjoy your comments so much…….stand firm!!


Humble Rafa Says:

the x-rated ones

Humble is all about keeping things family oriented. Also, no kids before marriage.


Margot Says:

Loving Denis Shapo BTW. Once he gets more match experience under his belt, as in what shot to play when, and learns to be just a little more patient, I reckon we are talking a No 1 Grand Slam winner here.
He’s like a bottle of champagne on court, so much fizz! And fantastic match temperament too, doesn’t waste time getting down on himself, just pumps himself up for the next point.


Daniel Says:

Miss the score, did he save MP Margot? Winnign 8-6 in final set tiebreak is huge.

Like his persona as well and his BH has so much power. Definetly one for a big future in 2-3 years.


j-kath Says:

Ditto, re Denis Shap. – lanky, similar physique to Andy at approx. same age.


Okiegal Says:

@Humble Rafa 11:37 ……….👍👍👍


Margot Says:

In the tie he did, Daniel. It was very see-saw. He also clawed back a break of serve in the 3rd. Great determination and his mother is the spitting image of Navratilova!


j-kath Says:

Chofer: Federer already wearing a scarf? – the pics. on UK junk press is Fed in his swimming gear majestically emerging from the water. Will see if I can find again – if interested.


Willow Says:

Majestically emerging from the water, only one man can do that , not talking about Daniel Craig in James Bond either, only Mr Jackman, that shouldve been JB lol ….


Willow Says:

Sorry for the Rafa posts Skeezer, as i know hes not a factor here, its just that theres no thread for him, so it was nice of Giles to give us fans an update is all ….


j-kath Says:

Ouch Willow – say what you want lassie, no need to apologise for
mentioning Rafa in your posts…doubt anyone is bothered. Come on Andy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Giles Says:

Why on earth is Willow apologising to old skeezer? This site is not run by him!!


Willow Says:

True Giles its just a Federer page though, which i didnt want to hyjack, anyway thanks for the Rafa update, its what i like about Tenngrand as there are players pages which is great, and i think they should also do that here, like they do with off topic stuff, anyway moving on ….


Giles Says:

https://twitter.com/rolandgarros/status/976895084347183106?s=21
Roland Garros 2018. Interesting.
Skeezer don’t read, it doesn’t affect you. Fed doesn’t play this anymore! Lol


rognadfan Says:

Giles at 6:12am-
Hmm… good for you, posting twitter links not from the darkside (like your buddy haterFernando).
I must say this was a welcomed.

And what’s up with aggression against skeezer even when he is absent? It seems your loathing instinct just kicks in? ;)

PS
Rafa is out of the picture for now, hence not in threads or news.
If I know anything watching Rafa for the last 14 years, he appreciates this. Still, on a TX thread like this one (on a tournament draw) every player can have posts from their fans. That’s actually better.

Willow you are awfully nice!


skeezer Says:

Giles-put that here:

“March Off Topic Thread”

And yes Giles, I am older than you (10)


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