The curtain has only just fallen on the rather enjoyable Indian Wells event but the Miami Open qualifying is already underway, and the main draw is now out. Federer is probably en route to Crandon Park as we speak and you can see his projected opponents below:
- Round 1: Bye
- Round 2: Konstantin Kravchuk
- Round 3: Juan Martin Del Potro
- Round 4: Roberto Bautista Agut
- Quarter Final: Dominic Thiem
- Semi Final: Stan Wawrinka
- Final: Kei Nishikori / Rafael Nadal
Thoughts on the Draw
First up is Konstantin Kravchuk in Round 2. The Russian has only won 2 matches this year, both on the challenger tour, so it's difficult to see him posing much of a threat.
Like Indian Wells Round 3 is where it gets interesting, and this time Del Potro is the likely opponent. The Argentine pushed Djokovic to three sets last week, and he's always tough to put away with his booming forehand and first serve. I make Roger the favourite but it's not a given, all five of Del Potro's wins against Fed have come on hard courts so if he has one of those days he can cause the upset.
The fourth round has the Royal Bank of Agut as the seeded opposition; he's been struggling with an injury of late, so I'm not sure what to expect from him. If he's fit, then he can grind like the best of them so at the very least you'll have to make a lot of balls. Tomic, Robredo and Querrey are also in that section. But again you fancy Roger to come through.
Into the Quarters and Thiem is a likely foe. Miami has been one of his better Masters 1000 events in his relatively short time on tour, so he'll be a tough proposition. The slow-ish hard courts should suit him, and he's got the stamina to go the distance along with the firepower to do damage from anywhere on the court.
The semi-finals could see Stan The Man with a chance to avenge his two losses at the hands of Roger this year, but both Kyrgios and Goffin are in that section, so it's not a given he comes through.
The final then sees Nadal and Nishikori as the top seeds. Nadal will be glad to land in the opposite half to Federer, but he's got some tricky matches in his way with Kohlschreiber, Dimitrov and Raonic in his quarter. An Aussie Open semifinal rematch between Rafa and Dimi is the match I want to happen. As for Kei, it's tough to say, he's just as likely to get injured as he is to make the final so who knows what happens on that one.
Projected Quarter Finals
- Quarter 1: Stan Wawrinka (1) vs. David Goffin (8)
- Quarter 2: Roger Federer (4) vs. Dominic Thiem (6)
- Quarter 3: Rafael Nadal (5) vs. Milos Raonic (3)
- Quarter 4: Marin Cilic (7) vs. Kei Nishikori (2)
My predictions for Federer? None really, I think this tournament is a bonus event where he might be able to pick up some more ranking points ahead of the clay season where is schedule looks sparse. He's had a ridiculous start to the year, so there's every chance he can win here, but historically it's not his best tournaments, and if you look at recent years it does favour players who can grind. I remember the Murray / Ferrer final a few years back which seemed to last a lifetime so I think it could be a battle of fitness rather than flair if the courts play as normal.
My Prediction: Zverev or Dimitrov to win their first Masters 1000 title!
What do you guys think of the draw? Let me know in the comments.