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Miami Open: What's at stake?

Sky Sports logo Sky Sports 22-03-2016


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Andy Murray will be aiming to put a disappointing Indian Wells campaign behind him as he prepares for the Miami Open. 

The conditions will suit the British No 1 who has used Miami as a warm-weather training camp for years. But with Novak Djokovic in his usual fine form and Roger Federer back in the fold, what should we expect at the Miami Open?

Sky Sports expert Mark Petchey has assessed five major players...

Andy Murray

Seeded in the opposite half of the draw to Djokovic, Murray will aim to bounce back from an early Indian Wells exit with an early tie against Borna Coric.

He could then face his Indian Wells conqueror Federico Delbonis before either Kei Nishikori or Jo-Wilfried Tsonga await. If he progresses to the semi-finals, familiar faces in Federer and Djokovic lie in wait.

Petchey said: Murray had a great run to the final last year and I think he's in a good place this year. The difference in conditions between Indian Wells and Miami is probably one of the greatest we have on the tour, apart from literally changing surfaces.

He has got to play up-and-coming players with Coric possibly in the second round, or Grigor Dimitrov. Rafa Nadal is also in his half. John Isner is there, who has been playing well recently.

It's not an easy section. Coric is coming through and, if he gets through his first match, will be really up for playing Murray. So he'll have to be ready to go from the very first match.

His focus, after last week, will be on getting his campaign off to a positive note. Most of the top guys' mentalities is that they would like to prove losses are a fluke but, having said that, it will be tough to play Delbonis again when he's feeling good about his tennis.

If you watch Murray and Djokovic's matches in Miami over the years, they're very physical and it's difficult to hit winners. It's punishing tennis they play against each other in Miami.

Novak Djokovic

The 2015 champion is coming off an Indian Wells success and a 28th Masters win next week would be a record. He could play Britain's Kyle Edmund followed by Dominic Thiem.

In the quarter-finals, Richard Gasquet or Tomas Berdych look likely, while Federer may await in the semi-final.

Petchey said: From the Brit perspective, Edmund potentially taking on Novak in the second round is something to look forward to. It will be a great opportunity for Kyle to test himself against the very best player in the world.

It's not possible to identify a weakness in his game with the confidence and health that he has. Trying to hit him hard and fast in rallies is not the way to go - up the middle is the place to go at him.

His continued dominance is testament to the fact that there aren't any holes in his game, because if there were, the guys are ruthless enough to exploit them. The reality of the situation is that he has to have an off-day for somebody to get past him.

He finished Indian Wells immaculately against Milos Raonic so, after a few days' rest, he'll be back to his invincible best from the first round onwards. It's hard to look past him.

Rafael Nadal

The Spaniard is in Murray's quarter of the draw, but a daunting tie against Indian Wells runner-up Milos Raonic awaits in the fourth round.

Stan Wawrinka is a likely quarter-final opponent while Nadal could meet Murray to contest a place in the final.

Petchey said: He had set point against Djokovic at Indian Wells which is encouraging because he hasn't been particularly close in their last few matches. For Rafa, that will be a consolation.

It underlines that Nadal is hitting the ball better than he was, and he looked like he was moving well in Indian Wells too. I think the signs are all good in terms of the next few weeks until he gets back onto his beloved clay where he shines.

In Miami, he can show the continuing improvements from his perspective. It's an important tournament to keep building his momentum.

Roger Federer

A swift recovery from a knee injury poses interesting questions of the Swiss legend, who may face a fascinating second-round tie against Juan Martin Del Potro.

Jeremy Chardy or David Goffin may then await Federer, followed by Marin Cilic or David Ferrer in the last eight. He is in the same half of the draw as Djokovic meaning they would meet in the semi-final.

Petchey said: For Roger, this is about getting matches under his belt because he hasn't played since the Australian Open. He needs to get back playing on the clay towards the French Open, that's the stage of his career that he's at.

He would love to do well in Miami, he would love to win it, but ultimately he will want to get matches ahead of the clay court season.

Roger has a tough draw but there will be a lot of interest in the Del Potro match. Roger will be excited to play him again due to his love of the game. He won't look at that as a negative, he'll see a positive in that he gets to play Del Potro.

Juan Martin Del Potro

The last two years have been wrecked by a wrist injury but Del Potro, whose ranking has plummeted to No 366, returns in Miami with an early clash against Federer looming. But can we ever expect to see Del Potro reach the heights of his heyday?

Petchey said: If his wrist is 100 per cent, it's not impossible to get back to his best.

What we're seeing at the moment is Del Potro slicing his two-handers and not driving with the same venom as he did during his pomp. Until he's confident in his own mind, I can't imagine he will challenge the guys who are fully fit.

But service-wise and movement-wise there don't seem to be any issues there. I just think if you have a small weakness in your game, which he does, it will be interesting to see how he masks that. It's a tough draw if he gets past Guido Pella in the first round, to be honest.

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