Djokovic one step from Magnificent Seven
Originally published on: 26/02/10 14:11
All eyes will be on Novak Djokovic as he aims to become only the seventh man to win back-to-back titles in Indian Wells and Miami when the Sony Ericsson Open main draw kicks off in Key Biscayne, Florida, on Wednesday.
Djokovic, who remains the third best player in the world after beating Mardy Fish in the Pacific Life Open final on Sunday, hopes to join Roger Federer, Andre Agassi, Marcelo Rios, Pete Sampras, Michael Chang and Jim Courier as players who won both Indian Wells and Miami trophies in the same year.
Courier told ATPtennis.com how tough the double is to capture. “The fields at these events are equal to a Slam, although not played in five sets any longer (as Key Biscayne was initially). Without question winning those two events prepared me for future success and gave me a lot of belief in being able to push through against the best players,” the American former world No.1 said.
Djokovics draw in Miami has a familiar look to the one he faced in Indian Wells, in so much as Guillermo Canas could be a potential opponent in round three (he beat him in straight sets in California). World No.2 Rafael Nadal could again be waiting for him in the semi-finals after the Serb comfortably beat the Spaniard at the same stage last week.
As for Federer, the top seed will arrive in Miami still looking for his first trophy of 2008 and goes up against Gael Monfils or John Isner in his opener. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who is up to a career-best world ranking of No.12 today, is a possible quarter-final opponent, although sixth seed Andy Roddick is in the Frenchmans section and is a possible fourth round foe.
The womens Miami draw in some ways promises even more intrigue than the mens. Defending champion Serena Williams is back in action, as is Justine Henin, after both skipped Indian Wells, won by super Serb Ana Ivanovic when she beat Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova on Sunday.
Serena will be returning to what is a very happy hunting ground and will be going for an incredible fifth title a year after she came back from a first-set whitewash to beat Henin in the 2007 final.
Top seed Henin may come face to face with Serena once more as the two are potential quarter-final opponents in Florida. Kuznetsova and Venus Williams are also in the top half.
That leaves fifth seed Anna Chakvetadze and fourth seed Jelena Jankovic to fight it out in the third quarter, with second seed Ivanovic propping up the draw. Her expected quarter-final opponent is seventh seed Daniela Hantuchova. Ivanovic may first have to get past super-mum Lindsay Davenport in the third round, however.
The only big player missing from the women’s line-up is Aussie Open champ Maria Sharapova, who misses Miami with a thigh injury.
Sony Ericsson Open mens draw
Sony Ericsson Open womens draw
Official Sony Ericsson Open website