Federer, Nadal, Wawrinka Lead Masters 1000 Field In Miami
An executive summary of what every fan should know about the coming week on the ATP World Tour
Miami Open presented by Itau: The 33rd edition of the Miami Open presented by Itau gets underway on Wednesday. The second of nine ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments of the season takes place at the Tennis Center at Crandon Park. The 96-player draw features seven of the Top 10 and 16 of the Top 20 players in the Emirates ATP Rankings. Two-time (2005-06) champion Roger Federer, who captured his 90th career title in Indian Wells, is the lone former winner in the field.
Indian Wells, Miami Title Sweep: Since 1991, seven players have won the first two ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events of the season (11 times) in Indian Wells and Miami. Federer, who won both titles in 2005-06, and Djokovic, who has accomplished the feat a record four times (2011, ’14-15-16), are the only active players to pull off the double ATP World Tour Masters 1000 sweep in the same year:
Stan Top Seed: World No. 3 Stan Wawrinka is the top seed in an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament for the first time in his career. The 31-year-old top Swiss player (turns 32 on 28 March) on the ATP World Tour is making his ninth Miami Open appearance (7-8 record). His best result was the 4R in 2009 (l. to No. 1 Nadal) and 2014 (l. to Dolgopolov).
He is off to a 12-4 start this season and on Sunday he lost to countryman Federer 64 75 in the final at ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Indian Wells. It was his fourth career Masters 100 final (1-3). He also reached the semi-finals in Brisbane and Australian Open (l. to Federer in five sets) in the opening month.
Roger the Great Returns: All eyes will be on World No. 6 (No. 4 seed) and 2005-06 champion Roger Federer, who is playing in Miami for the first time since 2014. The 35-year-old superstar comes in after capturing his 90th career title and fifth at ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Indian Wells on Sunday (d. No. 3 Wawrinka).
He also beat No. 6 Nadal in the 4R. Federer’s flawless performance in the desert lifted him from No. 10 to No. 6 in the Emirates ATP Rankings. He did not drop a set and he held serve 47 of 48 games in his five-match title run. Last year Federer was in the Miami draw but withdrew due to a stomach virus. He has a 44-13 record in Miami and he’s making his 16th appearance. In his last visit three years ago, he reached the quarter-finals (l. to Nishikori). He made his tournament debut in 1999 (l. to Carlsen in 1R) and his first win came over Justin Gimelstob in 2000.
Federer is off to a 13-1 start this season. He captured his 18th career Grand Slam crown at the Australian Open on Jan. 29 (d. Nadal in five sets). He became the second player to win a Grand Slam crown defeating four Top 10 opponents en route (Mats Wilander in 1982 Roland Garros). He then played in Dubai and lost in the 2R (l. to Donskoy in third set TB after holding 3 MPs) before turning in his record-tying fifth Indian Wells title (w/Djokovic). At 35 years, seven months, he became the oldest ATP World Tour Masters 1000 champion.
Rafa Looks For First Title: World No. 7 (No. 5 seed) Rafael Nadal is making his 13th tournament appearance (35-11 record, W/O in ‘12). He is a four-time finalist (2005, ’08, ’10, ’14) and this is the only tournament he’s not won with the most attempts. He also was a SF in 2010 and 2012 and QF in 2007 and 2009. Last year he retired in the third set (down 0-3 vs. Dzumhur) in his opening round match due to illness/dizziness.
Nadal comes in with a 14-4 match record on the season and in his last tournament in Indian Wells, he fell to eventual champion Federer 62 63 in the 4R. The 30-year-old Spaniard has reached finals at the Australian Open (l. to Federer in five sets) and Acapulco (l. to Querrey). He opened the season by reaching the quarter-finals in Brisbane (l. to Raonic). Nadal is not only trying to capture his 70th career title, he is also aiming to earn his first hard court title since Doha in January 2014 (d. Monfils). He has played in 31 hard court tournaments since the Doha title.
Big Four Domination: The ‘Big Four’ of Murray, Djokovic, Nadal and Federer have won 57 of the past 62 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments, which dates back to Nadal’s triumph at Monte-Carlo in 2010. The only other players to emerge with an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title during that time are Robin Soderling (2010 Paris), David Ferrer (2012 Paris), Stan Wawrinka (2014 Monte-Carlo), Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (2014 Toronto) and Marin Cilic (2016 Cincinnati). Here is a breakdown of the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles won by the Big Four during that span: Djokovic (25), Nadal (13), Murray (10) and Federer (9). The foursome are also among the Top 5 in ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles:1) Djokovic 30; 2) Nadal 28; 3) Federer 25; 4) Agassi 17; 5) Murray 14.
Raonic Returns: World No. 5 (No. 3 seed) Milos Raonic, who has reached the quarter-finals in two of the past three years, is making his return after suffering a right leg injury in Delray Beach last month. The 26-year-old Canadian conceded a walkover in the final vs Sock on 26 February, then withdrew from Acapulco and Indian Wells.
He has a 10-2 record on the season. He opened the season with a SF in Brisbane (d. Nadal in 3 sets, l. to eventual champion Dimitrov) and reached QFs at Australian Open for 3rd time and Grand Slam QF for sixth time overall (d. Bautista Agut, l. to Nadal).
Top 20 Breakthrough: The newest member of the Top 20 in the Emirates ATP Rankings is 25-year-old Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta, who is No. 19 this week after reaching his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 semi-final in Indian Wells (l. to Wawrinka). Carreno Busta enters Miami with a 15-7 match record on the season and he has reached the semi-finals (or better) in his past four tournaments – Buenos Aires (SF), Rio de Janeiro (Finalist), Sao Paulo (SF) and Indian Wells (SF).
Carreno Busta also is ranked No. 18 in doubles (12-4 record). He won the Rio doubles title (w/Cuevas) and he is the only player ranked in the Top 20 in singles and doubles this week. He is looking for his first win in Miami after first-round losses the past three years.
Former Finalists in Draw: While Federer is the only Miami Open champion (also 2002 finalist) in the draw, there are four other players who have reached the final:
Final (Opponent) Miami W-L
Kei Nishikori 2016 (l. to Dlokovic) 17-6
Rafael Nadal 2014 (l. to Djokovic) 35-11
2011 (l. to Djokovic)
2008 (l. to Davydenko)
2005 (l. to Federer)
David Ferrer 2013 (l. to Murray) 31-14
Tomas Berdych 2010 (l. to Roddick) 30-11
Back Again in South Florida: There are eight players in the singles draw who are playing in Miami for at least the 10th consecutive year. David Ferrer and Fernando Verdasco lead the way with their 15th consecutive Miami Open appearance. Here are the longest current streaks (including this year):
Streak W-L Best Result (Year)
David Ferrer 15 31-14 Finalist (2013)
Fernando Verdasco 15 16-14 QF (2009-10)
Juan Monaco 14 16-13 SF (2012)
Tomas Berdych 12 30-11 Finalist (2010)
Gilles Simon 12 16-11 QF (2011, ‘13, ’16)
Sam Querrey 12 8-11 4R (2013)
Ivo Karlovic 12 3-11 3R (2010)
John Isner 10 12-9 SF (2015)
Note: Feliciano Lopez has played in 15 of last 16 years (except 2013).
#NextGenATP Stars: There are eight #NextGenATP players in the main draw, including five teenagers (not including possible qualifiers). Here’s a look at the talented 21 & under group listed in ranking order (not including qualifiers):
Main Draw Rank Age
Alexander Zverev No. 20 19
Karen Khachanov No. 52 20
Borna Coric No. 62 20
Hyeon Chung No. 92 20
Taylor Fritz No. 126 19
Casper Ruud (WC) No. 128 18
Andrey Rublev (WC) No. 130 19
Michael Mmoh (WC) No. 179 19
Wild Cards: The five main draw wild cards are from five different countries: Thomaz Bellucci (Brazil), Michael Mmoh (U.S.), Andrey Rublev (Russia), Casper Ruud (Norway) and Mikael Ymer (Sweden). Ruud and Ymer, both 18, are making their tournament main draw debut.
Infosys ATP World Tour Wins Leaders: Here is a look at this season’s match wins leaders on the ATP World Tour:
Sock Leads American Title Hopes: Top American Jack Sock is a career-high No. 17 in the Emirates ATP Rankings after reaching his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 singles semi-final in Indian Wells (d. No. 5 Nishikori, l. to eventual champion Federer). The 24-year-old Kansas City, Kan. resident comes in with a 15-3 match record on the season.
He has a 4-4 record in Miami, reaching the third round in 2015-16. He is one of four players on the ATP World Tour with two titles this season (Dimitrov, Federer and Tsonga). Other American title winners this season are Ryan Harrison (Memphis) and Sam Querrey (Acapulco). The four titles is the most by a country this season on the ATP World Tour. The last American singles champion in Miami was Andy Roddick in 2010 (d. Berdych).
Milestone Watch: Last week Philipp Kohlschreiber notched his 400th career match win in Indian Wells. There are three players who could reach milestone match wins in Miami:
Haas Back in Action: Former World No. 2 Tommy Haas, the oldest player in the singles draw, is weeks away from his 39th birthday on 3 April. He is playing in his third tournament since October 2015 in Vienna. At the Australian Open, he retired (illness) in the first round after dropping the first two sets to Benoit Paire. In Delray Beach, Haas lost to Nikoloz Basilashvili in the first round.
Haas has been busy the past two weeks as tournament director at in Indian Wells. He has a protected ranking of No. 25. Haas has a 14-12 career record in Miami with his best result the semi-finals in his last visit in 2013 (d. No. 1 Djokovic in 4R, l. to No. 5 Ferrer). This is the 20th anniversary of his first Miami appearance when he reached the 3R (d. Forget, J. Sanchez, l. to eventual champion Muster).
Strong Doubles Field: The top eight teams in the Emirates ATP Doubles Team Rankings are entered in the draw, led by Australian Open champions Henri Kontinen and John Peers, who are top seeds in a Masters 1000 tournament for the first time. In last year’s final, Herbert/Mahut defeated Klaasen/Ram 57 61 10-7. Here is a look at the Top 8 teams entered:
1) Henri Kontinen & John Peers
2) Raven Klaasen & Rajeev Ram
3) Jamie Murray & Bruno Soares
4) Bob Bryan & Mike Bryan
5) Jean-Julien Rojer & Horia Tecau
6) Lukasz Kubot & Marcelo Melo
7) Ivan Dodig & Marcel Granollers
8) Juan Sebastian Cabal & Robert Farah
Former Champions in Draw: There are two teams playing together who are former champions in Miami, reigning champions Pierre-Hugues Herbert & Nicolas Mahut and four-time winners Bob Bryan & Mike Bryan (2007-08, ’14-15). There are four other players who have won the title playing with different partners:
-- Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi & Jean-Julien Rojer (2013)
-- Max Mirnyi (2003, ‘05-06, ’09)
-- Daniel Nestor (2002)
Note: Former three-time champion (2010-11-12) Leander Paes is on the alternate list (w/Paire)
Emirates ATP Race to Milan Leaders: Four of the top five #NextGenATP players who are among the Top 20 in the Emirates ATP Race to Milan (as of March 13) are in the main draw. Overall there are eight in the main draw and five in the qualifying draw listed below:
1 Alexander Zverev – Main Draw
2 Daniil Medvedev – Withdrew
3 Casper Ruud – Main Draw (WC)
4 Andrey Rublev – Main Draw (WC)
5 Taylor Fritz – Main Draw
6 Alexander Bublik – Qualifying
7 Noah Rubin
8 Hyeon Chung – Main Draw
9 Ernesto Escobedo – Qualifying
10 Frances Tiafoe – Qualifying
11 Quentin Halys – Qualifying
12 Borna Coric – Main Draw
13 Omar Jasika
14 Denis Shapovalov
15 Blake Mott
16 Karen Khachanov – Main Draw
17 Alex De Minaur
18 Jared Donaldson – Qualifying
19 Felix Auger-Aliassime
20 Michael Mmoh – Main Draw (WC)