SONY OPEN TENNIS 2014
Big Four Feature In Star-Studded Miami Field
by ATP Staff|
World No. 1 Rafael Nadal leads the 96-man field at the Sony Open Tennis, where 19 of the Top 20 players in the Emirates ATP Rankings are competing, including last week’s Indian Wells champion Novak Djokovic, runner-up Roger Federer and defending Miami champion Andy Murray.
Nadal is looking to add the elusive Miami crown to his collection of a record 26 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 trophies. He is a three-time runner-up at the Crandon Park Tennis Center, most recently in 2011 (l. to Djokovic).
Nadal is set to open his campaign against either Robin Haase or Lleyton Hewitt, who is chasing his 600th tour-level victory. The 33-year-old Australian, who won the Brisbane International title in January, is bidding to become the third active player, behind Nadal and Roger Federer, to achieve the career milestone.
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The 27-year-old Nadal is in the top quarter of the draw, which features 12th seed Milos Raonic and No. 19 Jerzy Janowicz - two of the four players born in the 1990s to feature in the Top 30 of the Emirates ATP Rankings - with Gael Monfils and Juan Martin del Potro also in contention. After withdrawing from the BNP Paribas Open due to concerns over his left wrist, del Potro will open his Miami bid against either Federico Delbonis or Ryan Harrison. He is projected to meet Nadal in the quarter-finals.
Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka and 2010 Miami finalist Tomas Berdych headline the second quarter of the draw. The third-seeded Wawrinka could face a third-round contest with the in-form Marin Cilic, who leads the ATP World Tour this season with 20 match wins and two titles. Also in Wawrinka’s section, as a potential fourth-round opponent, is Alexandr Dolgopolov, who knocked out Nadal en route to the Indian Wells semi-finals last week (l. to Federer).
Berdych finds himself in the same section as American No. 1 John Isner, who returned to the Top 10 this week after a run to the Indian Wells semi-finals.
Last week’s Indian Wells finalists Djokovic and Federer and defending champion Murray are the players to beat in the bottom half of the draw.
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World No. 2 Djokovic is looking to win the Indian Wells-Miami double for the second time, having first done so during his stellar 2011 campaign. He is one of seven players since 1991 to have won both titles in the same year, with Federer the only player to have achieved it twice. Djokovic, who is a three-time champion in Miami (2007, ’11-12), faces either Jeremy Chardy or Juan Monaco in his opener and could be troubled by Ernests Gulbis in the fourth round. The Latvian reached the quarter-finals in Indian Wells, taking out Grigor Dimitrov en route.
Murray is on a quarter-final collision course with Djokovic. The Scot won the Miami title for the second time last year with victory over David Ferrer and is searching for a return to top form, having returned from back surgery at the start of the season. The sixth-seeded Scot has a 19-6 event record and opens his bid against either Matthew Ebden or Lukasz Kubot.
In the third round, Murray could face another intriguing contest with the 2013 Emirates ATP Star Of Tomorrow Jiri Vesely, who pushed the Scot to three sets in the Indian Wells third round last week. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is his projected fourth-round opponent.
Chasing his third Miami crown, and first since back-to-back triumphs in 2005-06, Federer could face a tricky opener in Ivo Karlovic, should the big-serving Croatian get by a qualifier in the first round. Federer is seeded to meet last year’s runner-up Ferrer in the quarter-finals, but could face obstacles in the form of Richard Gasquet, Dimitrov, Kei Nishikori and Kevin Anderson.