The round of 16 matches will be played today at the Miami Open by Itau on Day 7 of the tournament in Key Biscayne, Florida, with only 8 out of the 16 players taking their appointed places in the 96 player draw. However the only notable absentees are the second seeded Spaniard Rafael Nadal and the Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka as six out of the top eight seeds are still in contention for the second of nine Super Series events for the year 2015. Led by the top seed and four time champion Novak Djokovic, third seeded Andy Murray who would reach the career milestone of 500 wins on the ATP tour with a win on Tueaday over the South African Kevin Anderson, the two young guns of men’s tennis Kei Nishikori and Milos Raonic, the Spaniard David Ferrer who like Djokovic has a tour best 21-2 record in 2015 and Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic who too has 21 wins for the year ( with five losses) will be in action on Day 7.
The line-up for the pre-quarter final is as under with my picks mentioned first :-
Novak Djokovic (1) v. Alexander Dolgopolov
David Ferrer (6) v. Gilles Simon (12)
Kei Nishikori (4) v. David Goffin (18)
Milos Raonic (5) v. John Isner (22)
Adrien Mannarino (28) v. Dominic Thiem
Andy Murray (3) v. Kevin Anderson (15)
Tomas Berdych (8) v. Gael Monfils (17)
Fernando Verdasco (29) v. Juan Monaco
The defending champion Djokovic who also won in Indian Wells will have to deal with the wicked topspin game of the Ukrainian Alexander Dolgopolov, nicknamed “The Dog” on the ATP tour, while his projected quarter-final opponent Ferrer takes on the stylish Frenchman Gilles Simon whose in-form compatriot Adrien Mannarino faces the unheralded Austrian Dominic Thiem. The match of the day would be between Canada’s Milos Raonic and the lone American left in the draw John Isner as the two ferocious servers in the men’s game battle it out to likely face Japan’s Kei Nishikori who plays the little Belgian David Goffin. The line up is completed by two players who were ranked inside the top ten in the past as the conqueror of Rafael Nadal; Fernando Verdasco takes on the last remaining Argentine in the draw Juan Monaco.
On day six, the top ranked American John Isner produced the upset of the day as he defeated the promising Bulgarian Grigor Dmitrov in straight sets, 7-6(2), 6-2. His next opponent Milos Raonic was extended to a third set tie-break winning 6-1, 5-7, 7-6 (3) against the Frenchman Jeremy Chardy. On an otherwise uneventfull day after the shocking exits of Nadal and Wawrinka on Sunday, there were comfortable wins for Novak Djokovic, Kei Nishikori, David Ferrer, Alexander Dolgopolov, Gilles Simon and David Goffin.
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy.You can reach him at the email: firstname.lastname@example.org]