Me and the blog and looking ahead to Miami

Hiiii there. It’s been a while! This is my first post since the Australian Open. I think it’s safe to say that I have become a part-time blogger 😂. After many years of intense blogging, I finally realised it was time to take a step back and be kinder to myself.

I can’t comprehend the amount of time that I used to devote to the blog back in the day. I’ve had so many incredible highlights that I am very grateful for including connecting with other tennis fans. There has been an unhealthy side to it as welI. I became obsessive about how many people were reading and chasing the likes on Twitter. Any remotely negative comments would always get to me.

Having spent so much time and effort in establishing the blog, I put pressure on myself to maintain it and keep growing. Anything less felt like I was failing. While a part of me is sad that I don’t have the motivation and enthusiasm that I had at the start of all this, I have developed a much healthier balance now. I’m proud of what I have achieved and I’ve accepted that I will never get back to my previous highs and moved on from that. I no longer feel guilty or FOMO for not posting when there is tennis is going on. My mindset is to be more flexible depending on how I am feeling and that when I write, it’s because I want to and it’s for me. So that’s where I am with the blog.

US Open

Miami starts on Tuesday and I feel like writing again! I considered writing last week for Indian Wells but pfff it’s not one of my favourite tournaments. The time difference with the UK isn’t ideal, the conditions are weird and the courts are like treacle. And the draws too although it’s the same in Miami granted. I don’t like the seeds having byes in the first round which always contributes to a rather low-key start to the tournament. And with Miami, we won’t know the qualifiers until main draw action has already started which is another pet peeve. The time difference is much more conducive for watching live tennis in the UK so here I am, at least for today 😂.

The draw for the 2022 Miami Open came out on Sunday night. Barbora Krejcikova is out again with the elbow injury so Aryna Sabalenka tops the draw. I don’t know where I stand with Sabalenka. I was actually encouraged by her form in Doha, so much so that I picked Sabalenka as my Indian Wells champ. Yeah, that didn’t go so well (sidenote – Paolini was fantastic).

Sabalenka’s opening match in Miami will be against Hailey Baptiste or Irina-Camelia Begu. Both tricky opponents and they have had some excellent results in 2022 so far. One of those matches though you would expect Sabalenka to win. Sabalenka could then play Daria Kasatkina or Aliaksandra Sasnovich in the third round and Elina Svitolina or Belinda Bencic in the fourth round. I’m willing to look past Indian Wells with its weird and wacky vibes and look more to how Sabalenka scrapped in Oz and looked much steadier on serve in Doha.

Sabalenka

The draw gods are desperate for it. Simona Halep and Emma Raducanu are seeded to meet in the third round. I swear they’ve been a match or two away from playing each other about three times since Raducanu’s US Open triumph. Once again, it’s not a given that it will actually happen. Raducanu will play Katerina Siniakova or a qualifier in the second round, while Halep could face Daria Saville (née Gavrilova), who looks back to her best form. Hopefully Saville is recovered from her exploits in Indian Wells which was one of my highlights from the two weeks in the desert. It’s so refreshing to have Dasha back and playing so well.

My favourite thing about this draw is the return of Karolina Muchova! I knew Muchova was training again after an extended period on the sidelines to recover from a persistent abdominal injury but I wasn’t expecting to see her in this draw. Of course, Muchova landed into the most perilous section of the entire draw. Muchova opens against fellow Czech, Tereza Martincova. If she wins that, her reward would be a second round date with the in-form, Leylah Fernandez. The winner of that could then play Angelique Kerber or Naomi Osaka who could be on course for a pretty tantalising second rounder. A few other players coming back in this draw. Danielle Collins is here for the first time since retiring in Dubai. Laura Siegemund too who will play her first WTA level main draw singles tournament since the Tokyo Olympics.

There’s a pair of potential second rounders to circle in the third quarter with Jessica Pegula and Sloane Stephens, and Madison Keys and Sofia Kenin on course to meet. That’s of course presuming that Stephens and Kenin win their openers – hate this damn draw set-up! Kenin started brightly down under but has struggled in recent weeks. I’d say she’s probably the underdog against Anhelina Kalinina in the first round.

Sofia Kenin-7

Garbiñe Muguruza and Petra Kvitova could meet in the third round. Always a fun match-up. Petra doesn’t like the humidity in Miami and Mugu has been out-of-sorts in 2022. If they get that far, this could be a real opportunity for the winner to build some momentum.

One of the most intriguing first round matches features Amanda Anisimova and Shelby Rogers. That’s got 50-50 written all over it. Winner gets Ostapenko in the second round. Oof.

And finally, the Indian Wells and Doha champion, Iga Swiatek rounds off the draw. Considering her form, it’s hard to see where Swiatek falls. The Indian Wells-Miami double is one of the toughest asks in tennis so I would be surprised if Swiatek can go all the way again. Gauff, Samsonova, Tauson and Golubic are all in that bottom eighth.

Swiatek

Here goes my draw chal. It’s a quick turnaround and i’ve not had a chance to think about it too much so perhaps that’s for the best. If my champ gets through R2 then we’re winning 😁.

QFs: Halep d. Sabalenka, Kontaveit d. Collins, Vondrousova d. Pegula and Muguruza d. Swiatek

SFs: Kontaveit d. Halep, Muguruza d. Vondrousova

F: Kontaveit d. Muguruza

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4 thoughts on “Me and the blog and looking ahead to Miami

  1. Welcome back, James! I’m glad to hear that you’ve enjoyed your time off and that you’ll cover the Miami Open. You did the right thing. You shouldn’t burn yourself out. Always follow your emotions. We can’t be 100% productive all the time.

    Regarding Iga, I’ve featured a guest post by Yaseen Hijazi which states that she is among favorites for the Miami Open title this time and mentions some reasons why it is the case.

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    • Thanks, Marija. I hope you are well! You’re so right. I think Swiatek is going to be one of the favourites for every tournament now! I think mentally, the IW-Miami double is such a tough ask.

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  2. Wow, crazy that 3 of your 4 semifinalists are already out. 1 by loss, and 2 by withdraw. This tournament has fallen apart on the women’s side already.

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    • Yep that’s my champ out in their first match for the last two tournaments 😫. Even for WTA standards, that top quarter is carnage. I don’t think the set-up is favourable for the seeds in Indian Wells and Miami and having to play their first match against someone who has already played a match and got used to the court, conditions etc.

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