Murray Heads Miami Saturday Action
ATPWorldTour.com previews Day 4 play at the Miami Open presented by Itau
Second round action concludes on Saturday with the bottom half of the draw being played. World No. 2 and two-time Miami Open champion Andy Murray, World No. 4 Stan Wawrinka, No. 5/four-time finalist Rafael Nadal, No. 6 Kei Nishikori and No. 9 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga headline the order of play. In addition, the top two Americans, No. 13 John Isner and No. 22 seed Jack Sock, play their opening round matches.
In the opening match on Stadium, Nishikori, who reached the semi-finals two years ago, takes on French qualifier Pierre-Hugues Herbert for the first time. Nishikori is off to a 14-5 start this season and last month he won his fourth straight title in Memphis. He comes in after reaching the quarter-finals at ATP Masters 1000 Indian Wells (l. to Nadal). Herbert, who reached his maiden ATP World Tour singles final in Winston-Salem (l. to Anderson) last August, is ranked No. 107 in the Emirates ATP Rankings. He and countryman Nicolas Mahut won the doubles title in Indian Wells last weekend.
In the third match, Nadal makes his 12th appearance in Miami as he faces Damir Dzumhur of Bosnia-Herzegovina for the first time. The 29-year-old Spaniard is a four-time runner-up in Miami (2005, ’08, ’11, ’14). This is the only tournament he has not won with this many attempts. The No. 94-ranked Dzumhur is looking for his first career Top 10 win (0-5).
In the evening session, Murray brings a 2-0 head-to-head record against Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan. Both of Murray’s wins came in 2013 (Brisbane, US Open). The 28-year-old Brit, who won the title in 2009 (d. Djokovic) and 2013 (d. Ferrer), has reached the final in three of the last four years. He was runner-up in 2012 and last year (l. to Djokovic both times). Istomin won his first match of the season (1-7) on Thursday in three sets over Borna Coric. Istomin is trying to break a 19-match losing streak against Top 10 opponents. He is 1-29 lifetime against Top 10 foes and his lone win came over No. 5 David Ferrer in the third round of Indian Wells in 2012.
In the second match on Grandstand, Russian Andrey Kuznetsov and Wawrinka meet for the second straight tournament. In the third round of Indian Wells, Wawrinka won 64 76. In the next match on, No. 26 Grigor Dimitrov takes on Federico Delbonis for the second time. In their previous meeting in the first round of Wimbledon last year, the Bulgarian won in straight sets. In the third men’s match on, Isner and fellow Tampa resident qualifier Tim Smyczek square off for the first time. Isner reached the semi-finals here last year (l. to Djokovic). In the final match on, Santiago Giraldo of Colombia and Tsonga meet for the third time (tied 1-1), the first on hard courts.
On Court 1, Denis Kudla plays No. 12 Milos Raonic, who is coming off his third career ATP Masters 1000 final in Indian Wells. This is a first-time meeting. In the next match, Sock and Sergiy Stakhovsky meet for the first time in a main draw. Sock won the previous qualifying meeting here in 2013. In the final match, Marcos Baghdatis and No. 24 Nick Kyrgios square off for the first time. Both lost to eventual champion Wawrinka in Dubai: Baghdatis in final, Kyrgios in semi-final.