MIAMI OPEN – 2016
World No.1’s Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams have dominated at Miami in the past few years with the Serbian being successful in 4 out of the last 5 years and Serena winning three in row and looking to continue the good streak.
A brief look at the favourites,outsiders and dark horses of the 2016 Miami Open…
Serena Williams, Azarenka and Halep
The three obvious favourites for me, it is highly unlikely someone else will win this time at Miami. I am forced to include Halep as even though she lost to Serena at Indian Wells in straight sets, the Romanian did break Serena’s serve a few times and looked quite aggressive throughout the tournament.
Radwanska, Bencic and Muguruza
Radwanska has lost just three times this entire season. Two of them were to Serena while the other was to Suarez Navarro at Qatar, who went on to win the title there. Simply put, she is not losing to bad players and remains consistent in her game. Her problem this time, she is yet again drawn in the same half as Serena Williams!
Bencic could be one of the best outsider bets in Miami as she is drawn in the bottom quarter which includes an inconsistent Kerber as the number 2 seed.
Muguruza’s form isn’t great but if she ends up shocking Azarenka from her draw, the Spaniard could sneak into the semi-finals!
Konta, Suarez Navarro and Errani
I would have included Bacsinszky in this list had the Swiss been in the bottom section of the draw which doesn’t have Serena or Halep. The best dark horses could therefore come from Azarenka’s half with an in-form Konta who served brilliantly at Indian Wells, Suarez Navarro who won at Qatar and the Italian Sara Errani who ended up winning in Dubai!
If Serena is to lose somehow in her draw, I would pick Halep to win this year’s Miami title. However, that would seem unlikely as the American is playing at home and would be desperate to set things straight after missing a ton of opportunities against Azarenka last week.
Have to say, this looks like a Serena v Azarenka Final again, which the American would likely end up winning this time!
WINNER: SERENA WILLIAMS
Djokovic, Federer, Wawrinka and Murray
The obvious big 3 favourites on paper are Djoko, Fed and Murray. However, Wawrinka hasn’t played too bad this season and is on the top half of the bottom draw. He should be good enough to reach the quarter-final at least!
Nadal, Tsonga, Raonic and Isner
Rafa didn’t play too well against Zverev but was extremely impressive against Nishikori and also showed a ton of character against Djokovic even though he got beaten in 2 sets.
Tsonga is placed in the bottom half of the draw which doesn’t have Federer or Djokovic. The Frenchman was more than impressive last week at Indian Wells losing to eventual champ Djokovic in a two set tie-breaker loss. If he can continue that sort of momentum, he is bound to reach the quarter finals in Miami. His biggest threat is Murray.
Raonic has to be one of the best outsider bets as like Radwanska in the Women’s draw, he is showing a lot of consistency and not losing to bad players. But there could be an injury concern.
John Isner came quite close to knocking out Nishikori at Indian Wells and was a semi-finalist at Miami in 2015, losing only to Djokovic. Again with no Djokovic or Federer to worry about in his side of the draw, he has a good chance especially if he can sneak past Nadal.
From this list, my best pick would be Jo-Wilfred Tsonga!
Thiem, Dolgoplov and Kyrgios
Dominic Thiem got an early advantage against Andy Murray in the same tournament last year. His performance at Indian Wells last week was quite consistent so I’m considering him as a very good bet here.
Dolgopolov should have beaten Djokovic last year in Miami as he was a set and a break up against the Serbian. If he can somehow contain his emotions this time, the Ukranian is going to be a major threat to some top seeds in his draw.
Kyrgios has looked in extremely good form the past couple of months. If he can sneak into the quarter finals, the doors could be wide open for the Australian.
My best pick from this list would be Dolgopolov..
Djokovic should be good enough to reach at least the Semi-Finals in Miami. His obvious threat, Roger Federer. If he gets past the Swiss, he should win the title. If he doesn’t, I would go for Roger.
From the bottom half, it’s worth noting that Andy Murray was the runner-up last year to Novak and even took a set off the Serbian. After a devastating defeat to Delbonis at Indian Wells, the Scot must be pumped up to win this one as the conditions are likely to favour his defensive style of game.
Since Federer is coming into this tournament after a break, he must be fresher than Novak or Murray. I am therefore opting for a Federer/Murray final and Roger going on to win eventually to win his 3rd Miami title, the last one coming 10 years ago in 2006!
WINNER: ROGER FEDERER!
Thanks for reading!