Rafael Nadal is coming off another incredible tournament after winning his 13th Masters title at Indian Wells. Andy Murray, the finalist, also hada spectaclar week after he took out Roger Federer in the semfinals. Federer ahs now lost to Murray the last 4 times they have played,m but lucky for the Swiss, Andy Murray is on Rafa Nadal's half of the draw. Andy Roddick could meet Roger Federer in the Miami quarters for the second straight year. In Federer's half is world number 3 Novak Djokovic, who looks to rebound after a dissapointing Indian Wells.
Nadal, the world number 1, has never triumphed in Miami, but he has been a finalist twice before. Last year, Nadal was defeated by Nikolay Davydenko in the finals. This year, Nadal looks to go one match further and win his second straight Masters 1000. Nadal has a very easy road to the semis, as the highest seed in this quarter besides Rafa is Juan Martin del Potro. Nadal easily defeated the Argentine in Indian Wells and del Potro doesn't have any major weapon to defeat Rafa. One particular threat to Nadal though is fellow Spaniard, David Ferrer. Ferrer has beaten Rafa the last 2 time they have played on a hard court, but Nadal has improved drastically on the surface over the past 6 months. Stanislas Wawrinka, a native of Switzerland, coul pose a miniscule threat to Rafa, as could Croat Marin Cilic, but they both are hot and cold at times, as would need to consistently keep up their best tennis to have a chance to take out the Spaniard. Nadal's first seeded opponent could be 6"10 Croatian, Ivo Karlovic. Nadal has neer lost to Karlovic, but he has had some problems with his over-powering serve. Nadal will roll through his quarter, but his semis might not be so easy.
Quarterfinal Prediction: Nadal def. Ferrer
Andy Murray, the highest seed in the second quarter, was a semifinalist in Miami 2 years ago. He had a very succesful 2 weeks in Indian Wells, and he even said he didn't expect to reach the final. The second highest seed in Murray' section is Fernando Verdasco, who defeated Murray 2 months ago in the Australian Open. Murray has only 2 losses this season, one to Verdasco and one to Nadal. Murray's biggest problem though, could be Argentine David Nalbandian. Nalbandian had 5 match points in his Indian Wells match against Nadal, but couldn't seal the deal. Nalbandian is always a threat on hard courts and reached the semis in 2006 and could play Murray inthe Round of 16 this year. Another factor is that Murray has never beaten Nalbandian, posing an 0-2 record against him. Fernando Gonzalez, Richard Gasquet, Radek Stepanek and Mardy Fish are all looking to break through ans reach the semis as well, but Murray is at a high point in his career and looks to strong for any of his competitors in this section.
Quarterfinal Prediction: Murray def. Verdasco
Novak Djokovic put himself on the map when he won here in '07, but a recent slump is forcing spectators to doubt him. A dissapointing Australian Open, a controverial racquet change, and an embarrasing loss to Andy Roddick in the IW quarters are just a few problems surrounding Djoko right now. Nole did win in Dubai though, and the second highest seed n this quarter, Gilles Simon, was his victim in the semifinals. The match was exhilirating, as Simon served for the match in the second set. jokovic pulled it out though, wining the last 2 sets 7-5. Simon had a bad Indian Wells, as he was upset early. Jo Wilfried Tsonga, who has racked up 2 titles so far this year, is the number 10 seed looking to make a big run on his favorite surface. In IW, the hard courts are as slow as they get, but in Miami, they re faster and they fit Tsonga's style like a glove. James Blake, Thomas Berdych and Robin Soderling are a few of the most powerful guys on tour, and Blake will have a load of fan support in front of his own country. non-seeded player who ha made a huge leap through the rankings is Frenchman Jeremy Chardy, who could make a big run. I see Chardy defeating Blake to make a big run to the Round of 16, but his journey ends there when he runs into a more expierenced and better Djokovic.
Quarterfinal Prediction: Djokovic def. Tsonga
Roger Federer enters this tournament coming off a dissapointing semifinal loss to Andy Murray. Federer has not won an ATP title yet this year and needs a championship to prove doubters wrong. With all of the pressure on Nadal and Murray, Federer will come out with a chip on his shoulder and a will to fight like none other. A threat to Fed in this quarter is Andy Roddick, who has the most wins on tour this year. He has 2 trophies so far in his bag and defeated Novak Djokovic badly in IW. One problem for Roddick is his ugly record against Federer. He has beaten the Swiss just twice in there 18 meetings. World number 9, Gael Monfils is another star that is on the rise, having just recently enetered the top 10 for the first time. Monfils, Tommy Robredo, Nicolas Almagro, Dimitry Tursunov and Mart Safin are all potential threats, but Federer has a combined 30-2 record against them. 2006 Miami Finalist, Ivan Ljubicic had a great Indian Wells and he also looks to make some noise.
Quarterfinal Prediction: Federer def. Roddick
Nadal def. Murray
Federer def. Djokovic
Nadal def. Federer