Miami Masters: Stepanek Sets Federer Clash
The Czech beat Fognini 6-3, 7-6 after he had better start than the Italian which allowed him went three games adrift in the opener but only to get into more trouble in the second one. Fognini managed to push the second term into tie-break which he finally lost it to five. The head to head confrontation between the two goes now 1-1 after the Italian beat Stepanek at the Toronto Masters in 2010.
Stepanek needed one hour and 27 minutes to beat Fognini, but harder times wait for him. The former world No. 8 player is one step from his earlier exit in Miami. Stepanek has never packed from Miami earlier than the third term, but he could do it tomorrow as Roger Federer is his next opponent. The Swiss leads the head to head meetings 10-2.
The former world champion dropped third within the ATP rankings following his semi final elimination at the Indian Wells. Novak Djokovic climbed second after defeating Federer for the third times this year. Now that his hegemony era is about to set, the Swiss claimed that he does not feel un-dismayed by the third place. “I still think I’ve had a great six months. I feel like I’m playing really good tennis, and right now Novak Djokovic is just a bit better than the rest. And that’s okay.”
Federer is chasing his second title of the year after the one won in Doha earlier this season. The Swiss is placed on the same first half of the table where top-seeded is Rafa Nadal. The Spaniard will start his Master playing either Jeremy Chardy or Kei Nichikori of Japan.
Andreas Seppi has also qualified for the second term in Florida after beating Mischa Zverev in three sets, 6-2, 6-7, 6-1 to meet Alexandr Dolgopolov in the next round. Mikhail Youzhny’s next opponent is Yen-Hsun Lu who managed to overcome Spaniard Pere Riba in straight sets 6-3, 6-2. Still, on the toughest second round is to bring Janko Tipsarevic and Marin Cilic face to face for the sixth time in their career. The Croatian leads the head to head confrontation 5-0, having last beaten the Serb at the 2010 Washington event.
Finally, Pablo Cuevas is to play Andy Roddick. The Uruguayan passed German Michael Berrer 6-4, 7-6 yesterday, the two being expected to meet for the first time. Concerning the second half of the table, David Ferrer, winner of this season’s Auckland and Acapulco tournaments, will next face Igor Kunitsy. The Russian got into the second term after his opener opponent Robert Kendrick was forced to pull over due to injury at 5-4.
Indian Somdev Devvarman has also guaranteed a place into the next round after upsetting Potito Starace in two sets, 6-2, 6-4 to meet Milos Raonic who is already qualified into the second round. Xavier Malisse beat crowd favorite Ryan Sweeting in what was expected to be the toughest opener. The Belgian defated the American in straight sets, 7-6, 6-4 to play Michael Llodra in the second round, the two being expected to meet for the fourth time. The French leads the head to head confrontation 2-1, the last win belonging to the Belgian though, who defeated him at the 2009 Australian Open.
The 2011 Chennai champion Stanislas Wawrinka will next meet Marcel Granollers of Spain who just edged Benjamin Becker in three sets, 6-4, 6-7, 6-4. The Swiss has already grabbed a win from the 55th-ranked Granollers at the 2010 Madrid Masters. Julien Benneteau has reached the second round in Miami following a 6-4, 6-3 win over Daniel Gimeno to meet Mardy Fish in the next term.
Paolo Lorenzi brought the biggest surprise of the Masters after beating Ivan Ljubicic 7-6, 6-1 in the opener. Great-shaped Italian will next play Richard Gasquet in what will surely be an interesting clash. 2009 Us Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro has also moved on in Florida after defeating Ricardo Mello in straight similar sets, 6-4, 6-4 to play Philipp Kohlschreiber in the second term.
The Argentine is chasing his second title of the year after the one won at the Delray Beach last month. Del Potro is to meet the German for the fourth time tomorrow when he is expected to extend the head to head lead to 4-0. The 51st-ranked Argentine last beat the world’s 32 last week at the Indian Wells.
This year’s Zagreb champion Ivan Dodig and Robin Soderling will also bring an early tough confrontation after the Croatian managed to edge Andrey Golubev in three sets, 6-7, 6-4, 6-0 in the first day. The two are to meet for the first time. Andy Murray, who is still looking for his first title of the year, starts the Masters directly from the second round, the Scott being expected to meet Alex Bogomolov. The American has just defeated Romania’s Victor Hanescu 6-3, 4-6, 7-5.
Pablo Andujar set a Fernando Verdasco second round after ousting Bernard Tomic in three sets, 6-4, 3-6, 7-5, while James Blake is to meet Thomaz Belluci. Another interesting clash will be brought by John Isner and Igor Adreev. Finally, Guillermo Garcia-Lopez plays Kevin Anderson, while Viktor Troicki is to confront Marsel Ilhan in the second term.
Second favorite Novak Djokovic, who has grabbed 18 wins out of 18 games this season, is to make his debut against Denis Istomin.
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