Miami Masters: Smooth Progress For Nadal, Federer
Top seed Rafa Nadal has started the Miami Masters with a straight-set win over Kei Nishikori to meet Feliciano Lopez in the third term. Roger Federer has also made the progress after easing past Radek Stepanek.
World champion Nadal passed Nishikori 6-4, 6-4 thanks to a superb service-play that troubled the Japanese who was following a pretty comfortable victory over Jeremy Chardy whom he defeated in two sets in the opener. Nishikori’s good start allowed him to go 2-1 adrift and serve for a two-game advantage. But instead of converting the break-point, it was Nadal who left him one game behind and grab a 3-2 lead that helped him clinch the opener in less than one hour.
As for the second set, it found the same Spaniard breaking the Japanese from the very beginning and go 2-0. That was also the turning point that brought Nadal more confidence and eventually a well-deserved, though scary, victory. “I’m very happy about how I played. I think I played at a high level tonight. The feeling was better than last week, so that’s important. My serve worked very well at the end of the match,” said world No. 1.
Nadal’s next opponent is compatriot Feliciano Lopez who also managed to reach the third term after grabbing a struggling victory over Juan Ignacio Chela. Lopez edged the Argentine in three sets, 7-6, 3-6, 6-4 to set his ninth meeting with Nadal, who leads the head to head confrontations 6-2. Rafa last beat him at the 2010 US Open.
On the same half of the table, Roger Federer marched over Czech Radek Stepanek whom he ousted in two similar sets, 6-3, 6-3 to face Juan Monaco in the next round. The Argentine, who lacks trophies this season, passed Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-4, 6-7, 6-4 and will meet the Swiss for the second time. Roger eliminated Monaco from the Hamburg Masters back in 2007.
On of the bioggest surprises of the tournament came from Pablo Cuevas. The Uruguayan ousted crowd favorite Andy Roddick in straight sets, 6-4, 7-6 to play Gilles Simon in the third round and for the first time in their career. The French came into the third round after beating Rainer Schuttler of Germany 6-4, 6-3 and will start tomorrow’s meeting as favorite.
Second favorite, Novak Djokovic is to meet American James Blake in the third term. The Serb, winner of the 2011 Australian Open, thwarted Denis Istomin 6-0, 6-1, while Blake reached the next phase thanks to a struggling win over Thomaz Belluci of Brazil whom he edged 2-6, 6-4, 7-6. Still, one of the toughest clashes will be brought by Robin Soderling and this year’s Delray Beach champion Juan Martin Del Potro.
The Swede ousted this year’s Zagreb Indoors champion Ivan Dodig in three sets, 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 to set his fourth meeting with the Argentine who reached the third term thanks to another three-set victory over Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany whom he edged 6-7, 6-4, 7-5. Del Potro last defeated Soderling at the 2009 World Tour Finals in a three-set epic.
Tomas Berych is to fight Carlos Berlocq for a place into the fourth round. The Czech beat Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo 6-1, 6-7, 6-0 in the second round to approach his first success of the year. On the other side, the Argentine passed Latvian Ernests Gulbis 6-1, 2-6, 6-4, the winner between the two being expected to face either Nicolas Almagro, winner of the Buenos Aires and Costa do Sauipe, or Florian Mayer.
Almagro came into the third round after grabbing a very hard win over Frederico Gil, whom the Spaniard edged 6-4, 3-6, 6-2. As for Mayer, the German reached the term after his previous opponent Albert Montanes was forced to abandon at 6-4, 3-1 due to injury. Alexandr Dolgopolov has also taken advantage of Andreas Seppi’s abandon and will next meet Jo-Wilfried Tsonga who managed to beat Teymuraz Gabashvili in three sets, 6-3, 6-7, 6-3.
The same first half of the table will bring Mikhail Youznhy and Olivier Rochus face to face for the fifth time. Youzhny, who smashed Yen-Hsun Lu 6-1, 6-0, leads the head to head meetings 4-0, having last defeated the Belgian at the 2007 Rome Masters. The 89th-ranked Rochus brought a pretty big surprise, defeating Marcos Baghdatis in three sets, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4.
Sam Querrey is to meet Viktor Troicki in the third round. The American beat Mikhail Kukushkin 6-3, 6-2, while the Serb passed Marsel Ilhan 6-3, 6-3 to set a third meeting with Querrey whom he last defeated at the 2009 Belgrade event. Kevin Anderson and Pablo Andujar will also fight for a spot into the fourth phase. The South African edged Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in three sets, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4. On the other side, the Spaniard has also grabbed a struggling victory over compatriot and favorite Fernando Verdasco whom he ousted 3-6, 7-6, 6-4.
The winner between Andujar and Anderson will next play either John Isner or Alex Bogomolov, Andy Murray’s second round killer. Isner ousted Igor Andreev 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 and will meet compatriot Bogomolov Jr. for the first time. Michael Llodra is to face Marcel Granollers who follows a three-set victory over the 2011 Chennai champion Stanislas Wawrinka, while Mardy Fish is expected to meet another French opponent, Richard Gasquet. Fish passed Julien Benneteau 6-4, 6-3, while Gasquet eased past Paolo Lorenzi 6-2, 6-3.
Finally, Acapulco winner David Ferrer will play Indian Somdev Devvarman in the third round. The Spaniard reached the third round after his previous opponent Igor Kunitsyn pulled over due to injury.
Miami Masters Prize money and points:
Winner – $611,000 and 1000 points ATP
Runner-up – $298,200 and 600 points ATP
Semi finalist – $149,450 and 360 points ATP
Quarter finalist – $76,195 and 180 points ATP
R16 – $40,160 and 90 points ATP
R32 – $21,495 and 45 points ATP
R64 – $11,605 and 25 points ATP
R96 – $7,115 and 10 points ATP11