Miami Tennis Preview

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The main draw of the 2016 Miami Open commences on Wednesday March 23rd, and the men’s world number one Novak Djokovic is the firm favourite at decimal odds of 1.61 to add another ATP 1000 title to his trophy cabinet following his success at Indian Wells last week. The defending five-time champion is already running away with first place in the race to the November World Tour Finals in London, but despite still dominating the ATP scene, he has fallen short of his usually unerring standards recently. With Swiss maestro Roger Federer returning to action in Miami for the first time since his injury at the Australian Open, things are unlikely to get easier for the Serb. Unfortunately it may prove too soon for Federer to really challenge Djokovic so soon into his comeback (as bookmakers are aware of with odds of 6.50), however second seed Andy Murray (6.00) will be particularly determined to succeed at Crandon Park following a disappointing third round loss to Federico Delbonis at Indian Wells, and after narrowly losing in three sets to Djokovic during last year’s Miami Open final.
This second Masters event of 2016 provides Rafael Nadal with the chance to continue his return to form. The Spaniard will be hoping to reach the latter stages of the competition as he did in California, much like Indian Wells finalist Milos Raonic who has enjoyed an excellent start to the new season with a top four finish in the first major of the year, and victory in Brisbane in January. Both men failed to find a way past Djokovic, and going off those performances, it looks improbable that they would be able to do so in Miami – Nadal is placed at odds of 18.00 and Raonic at 26.00.
18-year old Alexander Zverev has taken the ATP tour by storm, and nearly produced the biggest shockwave of all in his game against Nadal. The teenager was left devastated as he wasted a golden opportunity on match point, and went on to lose the match 7-5 in the final set. At such a tender age, this could take its toll on Zverev, but he certainly remains a player to watch out for, and one with a potential ability to upset the big-name players.
Whilst it’s hard to see past Djokovic for the Miami crown, big-serving American John Isner holds an outside chance at inviting odds of 71.00. Although born in the state of Georgia, Isner resides in Florida, and is somewhat of a home favourite. The Miami conditions suit his hard-hitting style of play, and twelve months ago he managed a semi-final finish – who knows if he can better that this time round.
On the women’s circuit, Serena Williams is seeded at number one, and odds stand at 2.50 for her to retain the title she has won a remarkable eight times. Arguably her biggest competition for the tournament will be Victoria Azarenka, her conqueror in the Indian Wells final. Azarenka herself is no stranger to success in Miami as a two-time former champion of the event, and is undoubtedly the second favourite for the 2016 Miami Open at 5.00.
Maria Sharapova is still unable to play due to her failed drugs test, and given that Williams has now tasted defeat in the first two significant finals so far this year (the Australian Open and Indian Wells), the door is wide open for a new champion. Floridian born and raised, Sloane Stephens (101.00) could be that person. At 23 years of age, she looks finally to be fulfilling her potential after tournament wins in Acapulco and Auckland. Madison Keys, often viewed as Williams’ successor, will also have the home crowd behind her. Keys is yet to win her maiden WTA title, but playing on the hard and fast courts in Key Biscayne suits her game entirely, and she will be hoping to kick-start her season come Wednesday.
Lastly, 2012 women’s winner Agnieszka Radwańska was at her best at Indian Wells with convincing wins over Petra Kvitová and Jelena Janković before falling to Serena Williams. Currently ranked number three in the world, Radwańska is certainly worth a bet at 12.50, as she may well build on the positives of last week’s performances in Miami.

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1 Comment

  1. John Appleby /Reply

    Looks like Djokovic will win yet another title! A shame that Federed pulled out of Miami, and Murray continues to underperform, I hope Nishikori can test Novak though because someone really needs to

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