ATP Miami Preview and Predictions

QUARTER 1 – Novak Djokovic (1) v David Ferrer (5)
Juan Martin Del Potro
Novak Djokovic was outplayed by John Isner in the Indian Wells semi-finals and looked to have lost the air of invincibility that he had for so much of last year.  His route through the draw is likely to include Viktor Troicki and Richard Gasquet; Gasquet suffered a disappointing defeat to Albert Ramos in Indian Wells and it is possible they could meet again in the 4th round.  Ramos would have to take out Feliciano Lopez in the third round, but his recent form would suggest he has a definite shot.
David Ferrer suffered a surprising early exit in Indian Wells to Denis Istomin and will be wary of the big Argentine, Juan Martin Del Potro in his section.  Del Potro will open up against Lukas Kubot or Ivo Karlovic before a potential third round clash with Marin Cilic, who has just recently returned from injury. 
Prediction – Although Djokovic has dipped slightly in 2012, his form is still extremely strong and consistent and he should comfortably reach the quarter-finals.  I fancy Del Potro to wrack up another quarter-final and push the Serb hard in a pulsating quarter-final…
QUARTER 2 – Roger Federer (3) v Mardy Fish (8)
Roger Federer
Roger Federer won the Indian Wells title finishing off the tournament with two exemplary performances against Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals and John Isner in the final.  He could meet the promising American youngster, Ryan Harrison in round two before another showdown with Andy Roddick in Round 3.  His draw is likely then to ease up; in the 4th round he is projected to meet Gael Monfils who pulled out of Indian Wells last week, and then Mardy Fish in the quarter-finals.
The American, Fish seems to have lost all belief he belongs in the top 10 after a stellar 2011 and is scheduled to meet Kevin Anderson in the third round, who is a decent enough player to take out the number eight seed.  Nicolas Almagro and Fernando Verdasco are likely to meet in the other third round match.  Almagro has been continually improving on the hard courts after a 4th round showing in the Australian Open and quarter-final appearance at Indian Wells so I expect him to reach at least the 4th round.
Prediction Federer is a dead cert for me to reach the quarter-finals, where as the other position is more up for grabs.  I did put Almagro, but I have now changed my mind and gone for a surprise in Kevin Anderson.
QUARTER 3Tomas Berdych (7) v Andy Murray (4)
David Nalbandian
Tomas Berdych‘s first two seeded opponents are Juan Ignacio Chela and Janko Tipsarevic; however there are a number of dangerous players in this section.  Grigor Dimitrov continues to threaten but is yet to have a breakthrough, meanwhile David Nalbandian looked back to his best at Indian Wells where he pushed Rafael Nadal in a tough three-set quarter-final.  If Nalbandian overcomes his opener against Steve Darcis, he will face off against Tipsarevic for the second week in a row.  Alexandr Dolgopolov is also in the section and will be wildly unpredictable as ever.
Andy Murray has a tough draw to contend with as he looks to put his early exit in Indian Wells fully behind him.  In the second round, he could face Denis Istomin, before a potential third round encounter with Milos Raonic.  The other section of this draw is much more wide open with Jurgen Melzer and Giles Simon the seeded players and both vulnerable to early upsets.
Prediction – This is the toughest section to predict because there are various dangers lurking for both Berdych and Murray.  I think at least one of them will fall early; Murray will lose a set to Raonic but I think his superb return game will get him through and into the quarter-finals.  I’m going for Dolgopolov as the other quarter-finalist…
QUARTER 4 – Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (6) v Rafael Nadal (2)
Rafael Nadal
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga continued his throughly disappointing start to 2012 as he wasted a match point in a 4th round loss to David Nalbandian at Indian Wells.  He is likely to have to get past the tricky German, Philipp Kohlschreiber and newly appointed top 10 player and Indian Wells finalist, John Isner.  Isner will play the winner of an entertaining first round encounter between Nikolay Davdyenko and James Blake.
Rafael Nadal was very impressive throughout the first rounds of Indian Wells but struggled to impose himself against Federer in the semi-finals.  He has a straightforward draw to the quarter-finals with Radek Stepanek and Kei Nishikori his seeded opponents.  Nishikori suffered an early exit in Indian Wells and I like the look of another upset here with Ryan Sweeting or Lukas Rosol reaching the 4th round.
Prediction Nadal is nailed on to the reach the quarter-finals and I think he will face the in-form Isner who will take out Tsonga in the 4th round
FINAL – Rafael Nadal d. Roger Federer
I’m going for Nadal this week to take the Miami title beating Roger Federer in the final.  I’ve lost a bit of faith in Djokovic and i’m waiting for Del Potro to have a big performance, which I think will happen in the quarter-finals over the Serb.  Murray will reach the semi-finals this week, but will be ousted by an in-form Nadal.  It is a tough one to call, but Nadal it is!

My full predictions for Indian Wells can be found here.

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