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Djokovic Faces Early Challenges At Sony Open Tennis

Miami, USA

Djokovic© Getty ImagesNovak Djokovic is bidding to retain his Sony Open Tennis title.

World No. 1 and two-time defending champion Novak Djokovic could face some tough opposition in the early stages of his campaign at the Sony Open Tennis in Miami. The Serb is the top seed at the second ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event of the season and is bidding to win his third title of 2013. He has suffered just one loss this year, falling in the semi-finals of the BNP Paribas Open (l. to del Potro) in Indian Wells last week. 

Djokovic opens his bid against either Gilles Muller or Lukas Rosol and is seeded to face 30th-seeded Spaniard Feliciano Lopez in the third round. He is in the same section of the draw as German No. 16 seed Tommy Haas, who has a 10-5 record in 2013, and 19th seed Alexandr Dolgopolov of the Ukraine. 

In the same quarter as Djokovic is his fellow Serb, Janko Tipsarevic, the No. 7 seed, who will look to snap a five-match losing run when he faces either Australian Marinko Matosevic or a qualifier in his opening second-round match. South Africa’s Kevin Anderson, a quarter-finalist last week in Indian Wells, is a potential third-round opponent for Tipsarevic, with 11th seed Gilles Simon, wild card Lleyton Hewitt and No. 23 seed Florian Mayer also in that section.

Third seed David Ferrer joins Djokovic in the top half and is the Serb’s projected semi-final opponent. The Spaniard is looking to bounce back from an upset second-round defeat in Indian Wells (l. to Anderson) and will open against a qualifier. He could face No. 32 seed Fabio Fognini in the third round and is seeded to meet Japanese No. 13 seed Kei Nishikori in the fourth round.

Sixth seed Juan Martin del Potro could be a quarter-final opponent for Ferrer. The in-form Argentine is coming off a runner-up showing in Indian Wells and begins his Miami campaign against either Tobias Kamke or Blaz Kavcic. He is in a section of the draw that features an all-American first-round clash between James Blake and Ryan Harrison.

Andy Murray headlines the bottom half of the draw as the No. 2 seed. The Scot, a quarter-finalist in Indian Wells (l. to del Potro), finished runner-up at Crandon Park last year and won the title in 2009, beating Djokovic. He could face Bernard Tomic in his first match, should the upcoming Australian beat a qualifier in the first round. Indeed, Murray is in a section of the draw that boasts more young talent, with Grigor Dimitrov a possible third-round opponent and Jerzy Janowicz a potential rival in the fourth round. No. 18 seed Andreas Seppi of Italy is also in that section.

The 25-year-old Murray, who has a training base in Miami, is seeded to meet No. 8 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the quarter-finals. Tsonga, a three-time quarter-finalist in Miami, will open against either Pablo Andujar of Spain or Serbia’s Viktor Troicki. He could run into David Nalbandian or No. 27 seed Martin Klizan in the third round, with American No. 2 John Isner and ninth-seeded Croatian Marin Cilic also in his section.

Fourth seed Tomas Berdych could meet Murray in the semi-finals. The Czech, who reached the Miami final in 2010 (l. to Roddick), faces Daniel Gimeno-Traver or Denis Istomin in his opening second-round match and could face Spanish No. 26 seed Fernando Verdasco in the third round. Also in that section, Canadian No. 1 Milos Raonic could challenge new American No. 1 Sam Querrey in a big-serving third-round clash.

Richard Gasquet, the eighth seed, is projected to meet Berdych in the quarter-finals, but will be challenged by the likes of No. 28 seed Mikhail Youzhny, No. 18 Philipp Kohlschreiber, No. 10 Nicolas Almagro and upcoming Belgian David Goffin.

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