Saturday, March 28, 2009

Nadal, Murray, and Williams Sisters lead top seeds in Miami

Greetings OCTF's,

As the action heats up in Miami, it is easy to see how successive events in Indian Wells and Miami can provide a great opportunity for players on both tours to make significant climbs in the rankings.  Four quick weeks where, if you are on your game, you can earn up to 2,000 rankings points.  

For hard-court specialists who aren't overly thrilled that the spectre of clay courts is looming on the horizon, this 4-week period is a last chance to create some Rankings security before the grueling clay court season begins.

Now to the news...

A pair of Andy's: Andy Roddick and Andy Murray, two happy hard-courters, appear destined to make the most of their opportunities in Miami, as both are playing strong tennis at the moment, and both have their sights set on the # 3 spot that has been occupied by Novak Djokovic for quite some time. The Joker has been #3 since August 6, 2007.  A long run for Murray and an early exit for Novak could supplant Djokovic this week. 

Murray fought off a stubborn Juan Monaco in 3 sets today; now the pressure will shift to Novak as he prepares to do battle with Frenchman Paul-Henri Matthieu Sunday.

Meanwhile, a vastly improved and surprisingly fit Roddick will Face #25 seed Dimitry Tursonov on Sunday.  Roddick is once again staring at a QF match with Federer. He Stunned Federer in Miami last year.

BTW: We are down to 32 men and women now.

Nalbandian -  The Mystery Continues: We all know David Nalbandian is capable of mind blowing tennis, we just don't know when. He was cast aside by 6'4" Serbian Viktor Troicki today in straight sets.

Sister Act: Serena looked unprepared at times, but in the end she had far too much game for American Wildcard Alexa Glatch. Next up for Serena  (the two-time defending champion - 5 titles in Miami overall) is # 32 seed, Shuai Peng of China.

Venus a.k.a. Big Sis, meanwhile, used 5 breaks to coast to an easy win over Shahar Peer, 6-3, 6-3. 

Bye Bye Miss American Pie:  Unfortunately for the American women, all besides the Williams sisters have been eliminated.  As it stands now,  only two others are ranked in the top 100. NGANTI. Not good and needs to improve.

Nadal on Form:  Rafa used 5 breaks and won 75% of points in which he faced a 2nd serve against Russian Teimuraz Gabashvili.  The two-time runner-up in Miami has never won this event.  He'll face, and likely dismantle, Portugese Qualifier Frederico Gil in the 3rd round.  

Jelena's Free fall continues:  Tom Petty might like free falling but I'm sure Jelena Jankovic would prefer a win to her current trend.  It has been a struggle (and that's putting it mildly) for the enigmatic Serb this year.   After making the U.S. Open final last year (and achieving the # 1 ranking) her game has disappeared.  She is now  9-5 on the year with no titles.  She fell to Argentinian Giselle Dulko, 6-4, 7-6 (5).  Jankovic has managed only one win in Dubai, Indian Wells, and Miami combined.  

Verdasco gets 200:  Continuing with his inspired tennis, Verdasco pushed his 2009 record to 13-3, getting his 200th tour-level victory over Qualifier Benjamin Becker 6-3, 6-4.  In a match of lefty Spaniards, Verdasco will face Feliciano Lopez in the 3rd round.  Lopez upended American Sam Querrey today, 6-7(5), 7-5, 6-2.  The country mates have split 4 previous matches.  


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