He may have added fuel to a raging controversy, but that surely won’t be on Novak Djokovic’s mind as he readies himself to try and complete another Indian Wells-Miami double. The defending champion will be joined by two-time former champion Roger Federer, who’s making a return back to competitive action after a month-long layoff due to surgery alongside the other bigger names namely Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka and Rafael Nadal.
Here’s then breaking down the men’s draw for the 2016 Miami Open:
The world no. 1, who will open against the winner between Jiri Vesely and Kyle Edmund, could play 25th seed Martin Klizan in the third round. The Serb was in impressive form in California and will be expected to carry his momentum through to Miami, where he’s the favourite. There could be a potential match-up against 21st seed Feliciano Lopez in the fourth round in what would be a rematch of their Indian Wells pre-quarter-final clash. The Spaniard meanwhile could play 14th seed Dominic Thiem in the third round.
Richard Gasquet and Benoit Paire, seeded 10th and 20th respectively could set up a clash of compatriots with a potential third round clash drawn for the two Frenchmen. Paire was upset in the second round in Indian Wells by yet another countryman, Adrian Mannarino and as such would be looking to improve his performance in Miami. Seventh seed Tomas Berdych, who’s Djokovic’s drawn quarter-finalist will open against either Rajeev Ram or Evgeny Donskoy. The Czech could play Steve Johnson in the third round, before a possible fourth round clash against Gasquet.
Quarter-finalists: Novak Djokovic and Tomas Berdych
The most exciting match-ups in the top-half come from this section. For starters, there’s the opening round clash of Federer against Juan Martin del Potro. On the face of it, the world no. 3 is the favourite to win. Nonetheless, it’s one of the toughest matches in the tourney to predict. Del Potro has had two good showings – in Delray Beach and Indian Wells while Federer’s form is yet to be tested coming back from injury. Del Potro could have some slight advantage – despite his weakened backhand – though he will need to be consistent in order to maintain it throughout. Jeremy Chardy could be Federer’s third round opponent while he could face Indian Wells semi-finalist David Goffin or Viktor Troicki in the fourth round.
David Ferrer, Federer’s drawn quarter-finalist could play either Simone Bolelli or a qualifier in the second round. The Spaniard’s also making a return after an injury setback that forced him to miss Indian Wells, and he could meet compatriot Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in the third round. The winner between Marin Cilic and Gilles Simon will await the seventh seed in the fourth round.
Quarter-finalists: Roger Federer and Marin Cilic
Semi-finalists: Novak Djokovic def. Marin Cilic
Rafael Nadal and Stan Wawrinka are the top-seeds slated to meet each other in the quarter-finals. The Spaniard will play the winner between Damir Dzumhur and Leonardo Mayer in the second round. Though Nadal lost in the Indian Wells semi-finals to Djokovic, he had nonetheless put up a spirited performance and it’s expected that this strong showing of his will extend to Miami as well. But standing in his way is Indian Wells finalist Milos Raonic, who he could encounter in the pre-quarter-finals. The Canadian will open against either Hyeon Chung or Denis Kudla in the second round, before potentially playing Jack Sock in the third round.
Nick Kyrgios and Wawrinka have been drawn to play each other for the second time this year, in the fourth round in Miami. Kyrgios’ lost in the second round in Indian Wells to Albert Ramos, after having pulled out of Australia’s first round clash against the USA in the Davis Cup with illness and will be keen to put the bad patch behind him. However, it’s easier said than done as he could face a relatively in-form Marcos Baghdatis in the second round. John Isner could be the Australian’s potential third round opponent. Wawrinka will open against either a qualifier or Andrey Kuznetsov in the second round, with a drawn third round against Sam Querrey.
Quarter-finalists: Milos Raonic and Stan Wawrinka
It promises to be an interesting fourth round draw featuring Kei Nishikori and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the last quarter in Miami. The Japanese could play Alexandr Dolgopolov in the third round after having opened against either a qualifier or Lukas Rosol, while the Frenchman could play Roberto Bautista Agut in the third round. The winner between Paul-Henri Mathieu and Santiago Giraldo will meet Tsonga in the second round.
Second seed Andy Murray who beat a hasty retreat in Indian Wells will be hoping for a favourable turnaround in Miami, the place where he routinely trains. The Scot has been drawn to play Gael Monfils in the fourth round and will play either Borna Coric or Denis Istomin in the second round, with a possible third round against Grigor Dimitrov. Monfils could meet fellow countryman Nicolas Mahut in the second round, while Pablo Cuevas could be the 16th seed’s possible third round opponent.
Quarter-finalists: Kei Nishikori and Andy Murray
Semi-finalists: Milos Raonic def. Andy Murray
Finalists: Novak Djokovic def. Milos Raonic