Rafael Nadal and Stanislas Wawrinka have been sensationally knocked out of the Miami ATP 1000 by Itau on Day 6 of the tournament in Key Biscayne, Florida. The second seeded Spaniard who had won 13 matches in a row to fellow countryman Fernando Verdasco was handed his second consecutive loss in as many matches by the left handed Verdasco who is seeded 29th in three sets, 6-4,2-6,6-3. The last time the two met was on the blue clay of Madrid where Ferdasco prevailed also in three sets. The top Swiss player Stanislas Wawrinka lost to the in-form Frenchman Adrien Mannarino in two tie-breakers 6-7(4), 6-7(5). Another seed in the bottom half of the draw, Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic staved off four match points against the Davis Cup hero Bernard Tomic before winning 6-7(4), 7-6(3), 6-1 to enter the round of 32. No such problems for Andy Murray though as he easily beat the Colombian Santiago Giraldo 6-3, 6-4. He now faces the South African Kevin Anderson in what will be the 500th win at tour level should he win on Tuesday.
In the remaining matches on Day 5, Gael Monfils took advantage of Jo Wilfred Tsonga’s lack of match play in a battle of two seeded Frenchmen, while the Argentine Juan Monaco continued his strong comeback as he upset another Spaniard Guillermo Garcia Lopez in straight sets. The top Argentine Leonardo Mayer was less fortunate as he lost to Kevin Anderson. There was disappointment for the home crowd as the American Jack Sock went out tamely to the Austrian Dominic Thiem also in straight sets.
The defending champion Djokovic and Ferrer remain on course for a quarter final showdown as they face Steve Darcis of Belgium and Lucas Rosol of the Czech Republic respectively. Japan’s Kei Nishikori plays another Serb Victor Troicki, while the Canadian Milos Raonic faces the stylish Frenchman Jeremy Chardy. In a battle of two possible future stars David Goffin of Belgium takes on the 2013 Wimbledon semi-finalist Jersy Janowicz of Poland but the match of the day involves the top American John Isner as he takes on the promising Bulgarian Grigor Dmitrov. Ukraine’s Alexander Dolgopolov faces the left handed Brazilan Thomaz Belluci in a battle of two players who were ranked inside the top 20 in the past. Gilles Simon who is currently ranked 14th in the world plays the Colombian left hander Alejandro Falla.
The remaining eight matches in the round of 32 will be played on Day 6 as the top half of the men’s draw will play for a place in the round of 16. Top seed and four time champion Novak Djokovic, the two young guns of tennis Kei Nishikori and Milos Raonic alongwith the Spaniard David Ferrer who like Djokovic has a tour best 20-2 record in 2015 will be in action on Monday.
The line-up in the top half is under with my picks mentioned first :-
Novak Djokovic (1) v. Steve Darcis
Alexander Dolgopolov v. Thomaz Belluci
Gilles Simon (12) v. Alejandro Falla
David Ferrer (6) v. Lucas Rosol (26)
Kei Nishikori (4) v. Victor Troicki (32)
David Goffin (18) v. Jersy Janowicz
Grigor Dmitrov (9) v. John Isner (22)
Milos Raonic (5) v. Jeremy Chardy (31)
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy.You can reach him at the email: firstname.lastname@example.org]