If Roger Federer is going to back up his fifth Indian Wells title with a third Miami Open title, he’s going to have to do it the hard way. The Swiss star, who last played in Miami in 2014, will have to find a way past Juan Martin del Potro in the third round if he is to win a trophy he last lifted in 2006. Federer is 15-5 in the head to head with Delpo, although the pair last played in 2013.
It doesn’t get much easier for Federer after the third round, with Bautista Agut and Thiem in his quarter, and a potential re-match with Stan Wawrinka in the semifinal.
But for Wawrinka to get that far, he has to negotiate his way out of a quarter that includes Alexander Zverev and Nick Kyrgios. Kyrgios, in particular, will be looking to capitalise on his recent run of impressive form, but will have to beat David Goffin if he is to set up a quarterfinal clash with Wawrinka.
On the other side of the draw, Kei Nishikori has once again landed in a relatively ’comfortable’ quarter of the draw. The Japanese superstar faces a tricky third round against Verdasco, before tackling Indian Wells semifinalist Carreno Busta, and then Marin Cilic.
Rafael Nadal, meanwhile, will have to be on top form if he is going to claim one of the few Masters 1000 trophies missing from his collection. The Spaniard, a four-time runner-up in Miami, has been drawn in the same quarter as Milos Raonic, Jack Sock and Grigor Dimitrov.
On the women’s side of the draw, new world No.1 Angelique Kerber will need to re-discover her form of 2016 if she is celebrate her return to the to of the WTA tree with a maiden Miami title. The German has landed in a loaded top quarter of the draw, that includes Venus Williams, Indian Wells semifinalist Kristina Mladenovic, and Indian Wells runner-up Svetlana Kuznetsova. Before she even gets to them, though, she faces a potential banana skin in the form of Laura Siegemund.
Misfiring Romanian Simona Halep could well struggle once again, with streaky Russian Ekaterina Makarova her likely third round opponent. The No.3 seed, who has struggled with form and fitness all season, is in a quarter alongside Jo Konta and Madison Keys, who made a successful return from injury at Indian Wells.
On the other side of the draw, Karolina Pliskova faces a potential second round re-run of her epic Australian Open clash against Jelena Ostapenko. The Czech No.2 seed, who is slowly closing the gap to Serena and Kerber at the top of the rankings, has landed in a tricky quarter containing Aga Radwanksa, Elina Svitolina and CoCo Vandeweghe.
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