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Fans’ guide to the week ahead: March 23 2009

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Originally published on: 26/02/10 15:42

Sony Ericsson Open

When? March 25-April 4
Where? Miami, Florida, USA
Event type? WTA Premier and ATP World Tour Masters 1000 combined
Surface? Outdoor hard
Prize money? $4.5 million
ATP draw Size? 96 singles, 32 doubles
WTA draw Size? 96 singles, 32 doubles
Defending champs? Serena Williams and Nikolay Davydenko
Where to watch Have a look at our viewing guide
How to get there Check out our travel guide

Big names? The second consecutive combined event sees the top 77 men and top 76 women featuring. After some shock results in the womens event at the BNP Paribas Open last week, it promises to be a corker with the Williams sisters back in action after skipping Indian Wells and world No.1 and last weeks winner Rafael Nadal beginning his campaign to win his first ever Sony Ericsson Open title.

Sub-plots? With shock results and unexpected happenings being the running theme on the womens tour this season, it seems anyone ranked in the top 50 has a chance of doing well in Miami. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova was the surprise package in Cali last week and shell be keen to continue her form in Florida. However, with the in-form Williams sisters making a return, they are definitely the favourites, especially if they continue where they left off from last month (Aussie Open champ Serena was semi-finalist in Dubai and Paris while Venus won in Dubai and Acapulco). Last weeks champion and runner-up respectively, Vera Zvonareva and Ana Ivanovic, will no doubt again be there or thereabouts.

The mens draw seems less open with world No.1 Nadal as hot favourite, especially after last weeks BNP Paribas Open success. He seems sharper and fitter by the day although Roger Federer, Fernando Verdasco, Andy Roddick and Andy Murray will be snapping at his heels. Should Nadal win Miami he will have then won seven of the nine Masters events equalling record holder Andre Agassi.

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