The dust has barely settled in Indian Wells but the Sunshine Double waits for no man and the Miami Open draw has just taken place at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens.
Roger will be en route to Florida as we speak and the draw has thrown up a likely repeat of last week's third round clash against Stan Wawrinka. You can see Federer's projected opponents below.
Roger Federer's Projected Opponents in Miami 2019
- Round 1: Bye
- Round 2: Matthew Ebden / Radu Albot
- Round 3: Stan Wawrinka
- Round 4: Daniil Medvedev
- Quarter Final: Kevin Anderson
- Semi Final: Alexander Zverev
- Final: Novak Djokovic
Thoughts on the Draw
I feel good, I'm healthy, that is also like a victory, a lot of people underestimate this, so I'm happy. I will fly to Miami on Monday, could use some humidity my skin is extremely dry!
After the standard bye, Roger will face either Matthew Ebden or Radu Albot in the first round. The Moldovan came through qualifying and he's a great last few weeks winning the Delray Beach tournament.
At least it's not Kokkinakis this year though which can only be a good thing 😀 but I do expect Albot to come through and he's a solid player winning 4 matches over at Indian Wells where he again came through qualifying. No huge weapons but a test for Roger.
Round three could then be a repeat of Indian Wells with Wawrinka as the seeded opponent. Stan has a bye this time and will face either Pierre-Hugues Herbert or Filip Krajinović in the second round. The Serbian will likely come through that as he looked in pretty good form in the Coachella Valley last week before running into Nadal.
Should Roger play Stan I'd expect it to be closer than the match in Indian Wells but still pick Roger to come through. Statistically, Miami is Wawrinka's worst Masters 1000 for % of match wins but a new venue does reset things slightly.
Round four sees Medvedev as the projected opponent. The Russian is coming in off a bit of a surprise loss to Krajinovic in Indian Wells and his section is quite open with Schwartzman, Mannarino and Struff all capable of making it to the last 16.
I think the Argentine might come through and that could be an interesting match should Roger make it. Fed leads the H2H 4-0 but diminutive Diego is a tough competitor and should like the conditions.
The quarter-final has Kevin Anderson as the top seed but after he withdrew from Indian Wells I have no idea where he's at game wise. The South African usually plays well in Miami given he's based just up the coast at Gulf Stream but a lack of match practice doesn't help his cause.
Dimitrov is in this section too after also missing Indian Wells with a shoulder problem and so is Khachanov who finally found some form last week after a woeful start to the season. I'd pick Karen to come through here and like Thiem he has the firepower to hurt Roger should they meet.
The semi-final has third seed Sascha Zverev as the projected opponent but he's been up and down of late. Bombing in Australia, making the final in Mexico then struggling with illness in Indian Wells.
However, I think the German will play well in Miami. He was last years runner up, spends the offseason at the Saddlebrook Resort in Tampa and the conditions suit his game style so he should be able to put another run together.
The final, of course, has Djokovic as the top seed and he's already at the venue practicing. The Serb should be fresh after losing early in Indian Wells and he's usually tough to beat here. Isner, Thiem and Nishikori are all in his half though so assuming the draw keeps some semblance of how it looks on paper he won't go untested should he make the final.
So overall tricky to predict with the venue change here and I imagine the projections will all fall by the wayside in a few day times.
How different will the conditions be? It's still Laykold Plus and it's still in Miami but a completely new arena and the court will be laid differently to how it was at Crandon Park so I'm interested to see how it plays.
I'm also looking forward to seeing how the tournament is received by the players and fans. Miami has historically been one of my least favourite events in the Calendar, can it move up the ladder?
As for Fed, he lost his first match here last year after losing the Indian Wells final so avoiding a repeat of that is his first MO.
From there I think it's just continuing to play how he did in Indian Wells and seeing what happens in his last tournament before his clay comeback in Madrid.
As always let me know your thoughts on the draw in the comments. Are you looking forward to the new venue?