Miami Draw Analysis

The humid is very, very hard (Photo by JOE KLAMAR/AFP/Getty Images)

The humid is very, very hard (Photo by JOE KLAMAR/AFP/Getty Images)

The Miami draw is out, and to me it doesn’t actually look that bad. The advantage of having a lot of tough players in Rafa’s half rather than more evenly spread out (yes, there is one) is that they tend to beat up on each other instead of being matched up against lesser players and presenting a steady diet of tough matches for Rafa.

Round One: bye.  no problem! :)

Round Two: Bolelli or Gabashvilli. I honestly don’t feel either of these guys poses any significant threat unless both Rafa’s wheels totally come off AND they play the match of their lives. Possible? Sure. But not likely.

Round Three: Probably Karlovic. Karlovic could of course be tough because of his big serve. He’s not going to hang with Rafa if there are any rallies. They’ve played twice, once on grass and once on carpet, each three sets, and five of those sets were tiebreakers. Karlovic won two of the tiebreakers. The one set that wasn’t a tiebreaker went 6-1 to Rafa. Of course that was in 2004 and both men are different players, but Rafa’s still that much better overall. Rafa needs to be vigilant about his own serve and not let second serve opportunities pass him by, and I think he’ll come through again.

Round Four: Probably Andreev or Wawrinka.  I like both of these guys but I don’t imagine Rafa will have a great deal of problems. Andreev has beaten Rafa once, that lone clay court victory that was his last loss before his record-breaking clay court match winning streak. The other four times and he’s rarely had trouble with him. As for Wawrinka, he’s been playing well and can be a dangerous player if he’s on form, but Rafa has never so much as dropped a set to him. Still, I predict that if he should meet Wawrinka, it will be his toughest match on the way to the semis.

Quarterfinals: My guess is on Ferrer, Del Potro, or Tipsarevic. Possibly Cilic. Ferrer, sadly, has never quite gotten back to being the player he was during his big run in 2007, and I wouldn’t anticipate a great deal of worry from him. Del Potro either. A lot of people seem to dislike Del Potro (and some people have better reasons than “he’s freaky tall,” miri! ;) ) but I think if he buckles down and works on his game, he could really be trouble later.  He’s already improved a lot in the last couple of years, so only time will tell.  I don’t think he’s anything to worry much about this week, however. Of the remaining possibilities, I’m actually more concerned about Cilic than Tipsarevic. Tipsy can be explosive but seems unable to ever really sustain anything. Perhaps he grows tired, laboring under his own ego (oooh, was that catty?), and can’t keep up his energy. Regardless, I think Cilic has a greater potential to be worrisome. Though not in Miami. I don’t think he has the experience to handle Rafa in the quarters of a Masters tournament just yet.

Semifinals: I really don’t see anyone getting past Andy Murray. If he should stumble, I think it could be Verdasco or Lopez. If it’s the latter two, Australian Open marathon aside, I think Rafa will go to the final.  Lopez isn’t beating him. He’s five years older than Rafa and has only beaten him once, back in 2003 when Rafa was only 17, and Feli was about 22. On carpet. And it still took three sets and a third set tiebreaker to do it. Verdasco could be tough if he maintains his form but Rafa is not going to make the mistake of underestimating him again. I do think that was at least part of the problem at the Australian.  Most of it was Nando being fabulous, but I think Rafa kept expecting him to fade as Nando is apt to do.  Rafa has beaten him seven times.  A few of those were utterly brutal defeats. Nando got bageled in the second set of their French Open match last year, and only managed 3 games in the other two sets.  I think the only person Rafa has a realistic chance of losing to in a semifinal is Murray. Maybe Nalbandian but Rafa learned a lot from that match in Indian Wells, I guarantee it. He isn’t going to be afraid of him anymore.

Final: My guess? Simon or Federer. Yes, Simon. I don’t know, I’m just feeling it.  No guesses on what happens in a final, it depends on a lot of things.  I think Rafa’s got a good chance, regardless.

So, my predictions:

Quarterfinals: Nadal def Ferrer, Murray def Verdasco, Simon def Djokovic, Federer def Roddick.
Semifinals: Nadal def Murray, Simon def Federer.
Finals: Nadal def Simon.

:)   Yes, I am way out on this limb. Come on and join me, it’s not that scary. What do you guys think?

6 Responses

  1. miri says:

    “A lot of people seem to dislike Del Potro (and some people have better reasons than “he’s freaky tall,” miri! ;)” – people need more reason than that? Weirdos.

  2. reza says:

    very nice analysis. I am one of those people who don’t like Del Potro. He’s just not competitive enough against say top 4-5 players (for example AO this year against Federer). Let’s hope Nadal can reproduce the same level against Murray if both get to the semis.

  3. tiemyshoe says:

    Good breakdown! You’re going with Rafa getting the IW-Miami double? Brave girl. Make some room for me on that limb!

    Miami’s weird, I feel like the seeds will have more of a shakeup. I can totally see someone like Federer getting kicked out roundabouts Round 4 … or going the distance. The winner might be someone unexpected (like, wtf, Davydenko last year?). But Rafa is, as I like to repeat to myself every morning, DOMINATING ON HARDCOURT right now. (Oh it feels so good to say that.) Anything’s possible?

    Draw-wise, I think he has a nice chance of being in the semis unless there’s a hot-streaker in his draw somewhere. Muzz has got the scary quarter once again – I am so excited for him to meet Verdasco if that happens, should be an awesome match.

    If Nando meets Rafa in the semis, I still give him a middling chance of springing the upset, just ’cause his lefty hard-hitting weapons, if used right, can cancel Rafa’s weapons out. But you’re right about AO, in that I think Rafa was surprised by how damn accurate he was with his shotmaking. I’m thinking the next time Rafa meets him, he’s not gonna let him control the points like that.

    Should be a lot of fun matches in this draw! Also, is it wrong that I’ve totally been listening to Will Smith’s “Miami,” getting all psyched up for this tournie? It’s like seventh grade all over again. :D

    • tiemyshoe says:

      P.S. I’ll be sad if Nando meets Feli and totally destroys him. Feli’s form has been bad lately. No DC mojo for him. :( Maybe he needs a few sessions with Gil Reyes, too.

      • Kalliopeia says:

        It does feel a little nuts to pick Rafa for the win, but I don’t know. I’m probably horribly wrong.

        I feel sort of bad for Feli. First he had to sit and watch Rafa completely eclipse him (which admittedly wasn’t all that hard) but you know, he could have just said “Eh, he’s just that much better than me” and been okay. But now his best buddy Nando is making some noise, too. And not long ago it was Ferrer. He’s gotta be wondering if it’ll ever be his turn.

        • Heninesque says:

          I agree, too bad for Feli. But then it’s not like he didn’t get his chances when Rafa & Nando weren’t yet the powerhouse players they are now. At least Nando’s making the most of it. If Feli doesn’t try a strong comeback now, it may be over before he knows it.

          I haven’t seen Simon play recently, so I’d probably go with a Nadal def. Murray final, 3 sets.