WTA Miami Open 2017: A Sweeping Preview

The manic March of tennis moves to Miami for the next two weeks with the second Premier Mandatory tournament of the year. Serena Williams will be missing again but nine of the world’s top ten are in attendance. Once again, this is just a sweeping preview looking at the key takeaways of the draw with all 32 seeds having a bye into the second round and therefore, their first opponents are not yet known. I’m looking forward to Miami with the time difference being much more agreeable for me compared to Indian Wells. Let’s take a look at the draw…

The full draw for the Miami Open can be found HERE.

Draw Highlights

A tough draw for Kerber – Overall this looks a pretty balanced draw with no sections jumping out of the drawsheet. The world number one, Kerber faces a tricky draw in Miami with either Duan Ying-Ying or Laura Siegemund up first. She struggled in Indian Wells although granted, the conditions are not favourable to Kerber’s game. There is the potential for a third match-up in 2017 in the third round against Daria Kasatkina with the Russian player having won both their previous encounters this year. Perhaps more dangerous, based on recent form, is Shelby Rogers who isn’t afraid of a big upset after defeating Simona Halep in Melbourne.

Tracking youth in Miami – This tournament is a great one for offering opportunities to up-and-coming players and the 2017 edition is no different. Main draw wild cards have been awarded to the likes of Beatriz Haddad Maia, Ashleigh Barty, Natalia Vikhlyantseva, Paula Badosa Gibert and Amanda Anisimova, the latter who at 15 years old, will make her WTA main tour debut against a qualifier. Anisimova reached the final of Roland Garros last year in juniors. Furthermore, the qualifying also features the likes of Anastasia Potapova, Kayla Day, Katie Swan, Jaqueline Cristian and Sofya Zhuk, who have all received wildcards.

Rematches galore – This draw could yield many rematches from match-ups we’ve already seen in 2017. To name a few – Kerber-Kasatkina (R3), V.Williams/Tsurenko-Mladenovic (R3), Vinci-Kuznetsova (R3), Muguruza-Zhang Shuai (R3), Sevastova/Puig-Wozniacki (R3), Wickmayer-Safarova (R1), Radwanska-Lucic-Baroni (R3), Pavlyuchenkova-Svitolina (R3), Petkovic-Vandeweghe (R2) and Ka. Pliskova-Ostapenko (R2). Of all the ones listed, i’d be down with a Venus v Kiki rematch – the Frenchwoman won comfortably in St. Petersburg but the American had arrived in Russia with barely any time to prepare following the Australian Open final.

Dark horses – There’s definitely a sense that no seed is ‘safe’ in this draw. Players that have decent draws (on paper!) and that I will be tracking closely as I think that they have a good chance to outdo their seeding/ranking include Shelby Rogers, Carla Suárez Navarro, Kristina Mladenovic, Peng Shuai, Ana Konjuh, Lucie Safarova and Monica Niculescu.

Records in Miami

Of the 16 seeds in Miami, all but one (Barbora Strycova) have a positive record in Miami. Garbiñe Muguruza is the only top eight seed never have to reached the quarter-finals although she has reached the fourth round on three occasions including her first appearance in 2012 as a wildcard. Former champions, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Agnieszka Radwanska have both amassed a heap of wins in Miami; Venus Williams has the best record though with 57 match wins (!) and three championships to her name in 1998, 1999 and 2001. Johanna Konta will be making just her second appearance in Miami, while Elena Vesnina and Sam Stosur have identical W-L records.

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W-L records include results from qualifying (Data from WTA and Tennis Abstract)

 First Round Polls

WWW Miami Poll

Miami Media

Final thoughts

It is apparent just from the tournament poll (already up on the predictions page) that there is no clear favourite for this draw as, at the time of writing, there is a pretty even spread of votes across many players. From the top half, I like Konta to come through. The Brit had arguably her poorest match of the year against Caroline Garcia in Indian Wells; however, the more regular conditions in Miami will likely suit her game and she has been one of the consistent players on hard court over the past year. I’d fancy her to find that groove again following several weeks away from the tour to rest a foot injury before Indian Wells.

The bottom half is much trickier for me – players I liked pre-draw are on collision course in the third round; for example, Wozniacki and Puig, and Svitolina and Pavlyuchenkova. I wasn’t feeling as high on Pliskova for this tournament but she has been remarkably consistent so far this year and if she were to get past potential second round opponent, Jelena Ostapenko, I think she’d be good to go for another deep run.

Final Prediction: Konta d. Ka. Pliskova

Photos in this post by mootennis.com

6 thoughts on “WTA Miami Open 2017: A Sweeping Preview

  1. I am glad that the time difference is better for me in this. It would not surpise me if Jo Konta wins from her draw. I’d like to see Aga win this again and I think that the courts here suit her but she has not played well since the final in Sydney and she may need more time to get used to her new racquet ( or go back to the old one ! ). This looks very open but I am going with the improving Elina Svitolina to win. She has moved up the world rankings to number 10 and has already won two WTA titles this year. She lost her latest match in the last 16 stage at Indian Wells but she will have benefited from the rest before competing here as she had played a lot of matches this year before Indian Wells and her draw does appear to be a reasonable one.

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    • Svitolina’s a good shout. I was keen to see where she was in the draw but was put off a little by her tricky draw. I have Svitolina to the QFs in my draw. This is actually the best time difference for me of all tournaments as it starts when i’m leaving work. I’ll miss the first matches this week (until our clocks change!) but happy with tonight’s schedule with Bencic-Errani second on so should get to see it.

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  2. The two first round matches I’ll be interested in, will be the Barty v Bouchard match and The Vik v The Arr match. In the B v B match, one player is trending upward the other downward. I thought The Vik was going to be the next star until the other players found her weakness in returning drop shots.

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