The Miami Vice Open is here, so reach for that cold Margarita and take a drive down the strip! (in reverse order)
Federer skips the event and has not enjoyed much success here in the last 7 years since winning last in 2006. Nadal too, is skipping to wisely rest the old knees after his skirmishes last week in Indian Wells. Juan ‘Thunderball’ Del Potro‘s win over Murray puts him into the conversation to win the title.
Conditions here can get hot and humid, so stamina is a plus. Coming off the back of Indian Wells, it’s also a chance for players who exited there early and re-charged, to make some noise. Indian Wells saw the top 8 (sans Ferrer) play to their seeding and it’s hard to not see that happening in Miami too. Of the outliers that could cause upsets this week, my picks include Kevin Anderson, Quisner*, Jerzy Janowicz and Richard Gasquet.
*Sam Querry & John Isner
Let’s break it down:
ATP Level: 1000
Surface: Outdoor Hard
Defending Champion: Novak Djokovic – The Djoker loves Miami and is a 3-time winner. Favorite for a fourth.
Floater: Lleyton ‘Rusty’ Hewitt – Took down Isner last week and still a threat to most in the game.
Veteran Watch: Tommy ‘The Hitman’ Haas – No one wants to play him, even at 34 years of age.
Youngblood: Marinko Matosevic – The #2 Aussie has been playing great with wins over Robredo, Monaco and pushing Querry to 3 close sets.
Slumping: Janko Tipsarevic – Fed a bagel by Ernests ‘Lights Out’ Gulbis last week and needs to live up to his seeding here.
On Fire: Juan ‘Thunderball’ Del Potro – With wins over Djokovic and Murray in Indian Wells, the big man is officially part of the Big 5.
Wildcards: Rhyne Williams, Christian Harrison, Guido Pella, Lleyton Hewitt, James Blake – Blake squares off against Ryan Harrison in an all-American skirmish. Pella gets fellow Argie Carlos ‘The Jackal’ Berlocq.
My pick: Andy ‘The Murricane’ Murray – Won here in ’09, has a home in the City of Miami and has had more recuperation time than Djokovic.
Did You Know?: The tournament broke its all-time attendance record in 2012, with 326, 131 fans turning out for the two week event.