The Miami Open presented by Itau (March 20-31) is an ATP Masters 1000 event played on hardcourts. It is one of the most popular tennis tournaments in the world, attracting around 300,000 fans each year to watch it live, as well as a big TV audience.
One criticism of the tournament in recent years has been the slowness of the courts at the Tennis Center at Crandon Park, something which has played into the hands of six-times Miami Open champion Novak Djokovic when he’s been at the peak of his powers.
Because of those complaints by the players, the tournament has decided to swap venues for the 2019 edition. It will be played at the Hard Rock Stadium, and it will be interesting to see how the courts at this new location are received by the players.
The draw has been made, so check out our analysis and free tips for the 2019 Miami Open Tennis Tournament.
Novak Djokovic’s defeat by Phillip Kohlschreiber was a shocker at last week’s Indian Wells Masters but perhaps the world number one had left himself short of match practice after not playing since the Australian Open.
He might have to have sharpened his game this week too, as Roberto Bautista-Agut is also in the top-quarter and he’s won his last two matches on hardcourts against the Serb including in Doha this season.
Other seeds to note include the big-serving pair of Milos Raonic and John Isner but Djokovic has a 9-0 against Raonic and has won his last six matches against last year’s champion Isner.
If last week’s surprise champion Dominic Thiem hasn’t been celebrating his success too hard, he should be able to progress to the latter stages once more this week from a relatively easy looking draw. But there are some hurdles potentially lurking in later rounds in the quarter including Acapulco champion Nick Kyrgios, who also got beaten by an inspired Phillip Kohlschreiber last week.
Nishikori could be an even bigger danger, as he leads Thiem 3-2 in head-to-heads, but the younger Austrian did win their last match at the 2018 ATP World Tour Finals convincingly in straight sets.
Last week’s beaten finalist Roger Federer heads the third quarter and the number four seed may again have to deal with his fellow countryman Stan Wawrinka in the third round just like he did in Indian Wells last week. However, whilst Federer could go a long way in a weak-looking quarter, the old man of the party may not want to endure another tough week last week.
Despite that, it’s hard to pick who might take advantage if Federer does lapse, as the likes of Anderson and Dimitrov have shown no worthwhile form of late.
Ninth seed Marin Cilic is the experienced big-time player in the final quarter but, as he’s been nowhere near his best this season so far, this could be a great chance for some of the Nextgen Stars to make even bigger names for themselves.
The ever-improving Stefanos Tsitsipas could play Denis Shapovalov early doors and the Greek player won their last head to head in 2018. If he progresses, that could set up an intriguing clash with last year’s runner-up Alexander Zverev in the quarter-finals, whom he also beat last time they met in Canada last year.
Possible Semi-Finals & Final
6/4 looks a fair price about Novak Djokovic, considering his record here, but it’s hard to go overboard about his chances after last week’s early knockout. Even if he does meet Thiem in the quarter-finals, it will be an interesting clash as Thiem has beaten him the last twice they’ve played and that makes the Austrian look the value-bet in the top-half of the draw.
It could also be worth taking on Federer in the bottom-half of the draw, as he looks sure to be tired after last week’s exertions, and it will be impressive if he can muster the energy to go all the way here.
Even if Federer does make the semi-finals, he may face Tsitsipas who beat him at the Australian Open earlier this season. Admittedly, Federer has beaten him since in Dubai, but the 20-year-old is a quick learner and offers each-way value.
Hopefully, that scenario plays out to set up an interesting final between the two most improved players in men’s tennis in Thiem and Tsitsipas. The score between then currently stands at 3-2 to Thiem so, as it’s a close call, the recommendation is to back both players each-way.