Miami Open: An analysis of Roger Federer's draw
Before we go into the draw, the first thing that will be in all Federer fans' mind will be "What should Federer do to retain No.1 in Miami?"
The answer is, he has to reach the quarters to retain the No.1 at the end of Miami Open. But looking at the way Federer has started the year, just reaching the quarters will not be in his mind.
Let us have a look at Federer's draw and possible opponents he might face if he goes all the way to the finals like he did in Indian Wells.
This is how the draw looks like for Federer.
R3: F Verdasco
R4: Carreno Busta
QF: K Anderson
SF: A Zverev / Sock
F: Cilic / Del Potro
Juan Martin Del Potro:
He is the only player who has beaten Federer this year and he is in the other half of the draw. The Argentine is in red-hot form with a streak of 11 wins which includes his titles in Acapulco and Indian Wells. After his triumph in Indian Wells final, Federer and his legion of fans will be happy to see him in the other half which has Dimitrov and Cilic.
Juan Martin is projected to meet Grigor Dimitrov in the Quarters and Cilic in the Semis, both will be games to watch out for.
The Croat looked good in Australian Open but has since hit a lull losing to Monfils in Rio Open and losing to Kohlschreiber in the 3rd round at Indian Wells. He wants to turn it around here in Miami. Marin Cilic will possibly face David Goffin in Quarters who himself is coming back after a freak injury in his eye in Rotterdam against Dimitrov.
Cilic might want to have a strong tournament here as Del potro has a chance of overtaking his No.3 spot and that's another reason why the projected Semi between him and Del Potro is a must watch.
Alex Zverev :
The No.5 seed has had a tough start to the season crashing out early in Australia and just reaching one semi in Acapulco after playing 4 tournaments so far from the year beginning does not do justice to the talent he possesses. Maybe Miami is the tournament he gets his Mojo back before the clay seing where he has a lot of points to defend.
Fernando Verdasco and Kevin Anderson:
Verdasco and Anderson were both runners-up in Rio and Acapulco respectively and are in decent form. The reason they are threats is that they will not be overawed to face Federer. That seems to be the case with most of the next-gen players. Before they come into the match they seem to have lost it mentally because of the aura the Swiss maestro possesses.
The six-time champion at Miami cannot be overlooked in any draw even though he lost in the 2nd round in Indian Wells. Champions like Novak cannot be written off before the tournament. Djokovic has a tough draw with Krajinovic in the 3rd round and blockbuster 4th round showdown with Del Potro. Even if he gets through these matches his road isn't going to get easier as he has Dimitrov , Cilic and Federer lined up.
Maybe, this is the kind of draw he needed to bring out the best in him. As the saying goes "when the going gets tough the tough get going".
Borna Coric, Raonic both were beaten in the semi-finals at Indian Wells but they looked good throughout the week.
Hyeon Chung , Nick Kyrgios the former looked good until he played Federer and the latter is coming back from an Elbow injury and will have a point to prove.
Prediction: Roger Federer should be in the final, it is almost as if he has turned back the clock where he is in the business end of all the tournaments he plays. There is not much of them left on the tour to beat him, the newcomers are intimidated by his sheer presence and most importantly Federer has shown the grit of a true champion even at his age with all that he has achieved, not to give it away even if it is not his day like it was against Coric in the Semis at Indian Wells.
Having played two gruelling matches in the Semis and Finals within 24hrs at Indian Wells, that might be the only reason for Federer not to make it to the finals here in Miami.
If it is either Cilic or Del Potro in the final, it is once again going to be an "Arm wrestle" as Federer said before the Indian Wells finals.