Andy Murray has clinched a berth in the last eight of the Miami Open ATP 1000 by Itau on Day 7 of the tournament in Key Biscayne, Florida, and he also becomes the 46th man in the Open Era to register 500 match wins on the ATP tour. He is only the ninth among all active players to reach the milestone which he attained by defeating the unheralded Austrian Dominic Thiem who ended the run of the in-form Frenchman Adrien Mannarino, the 28th seed in three sets 7-6(5), 4-6, 7-5. The other match up on Wednesday will be between the Argentine Juan Monaco who easily defeated the Spaniard Fernando Verdasco, the conqueror of Rafael Nadal. The scoreline was an emphatic 6-3, 6-3 as Verdasco was brought down to earth by the Argentine who continued his wonderful return to form. Monaco next plays the 8th seeded Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic whose opponent Gael Monfils of France retired trailing 3-6, 2-3 as he sustained a heavy fall in the fifth game of the second set. Murray has a 1-0 record against Thiem, while Berdych is a perfect 6-0 against Monaco.
The line-up for the last 8 is as under with my picks mentioned first :-
Novak Djokovic (1) v. David Ferrer (6)
John Isner (22) v. Kei Nishikori (4)
Andy Murray (3) v. Dominic Thiem
Tomas Berdych (8) v. Juan Monaco
The defending champion Djokovic who is going for an unprecedented triple-double of winning both the Indian Wells by BNP Paribas and the Miami Open rallied from the brink of defeat as he trailed by a set and a break of service in the second set to eliminate the Ukrainian Alexander Dolgopolov in three sets 6-7(3), 7-5, 6-0. He now faces the Spaniard David Ferrer in one of the two quarter-finals to be played on Thursday in a match which will decide the owner of the best record in 2015 as both have an identical 22-2 mark for the year. While Ferrer has won in Doha, Rio De Janeiro and Acapulco: Djokovic has won the more prestigious Australian Open the Indian Wells ATP 1000. Djokovic leads Ferrer 13-5 in career meetings but the latter looked in ominous form as he beat the last remaining Frenchman Gilles Simon 7-6(5), 6-0.
In what was the best match of the tournament so far the crowd were treated to a home win as the only American left in the draw John Isner won in three tie-breaks against Canada’s Milos Raonic. Isner fired 25 aces as he won 6-7(3), 7-6(6), 7-6(5) and next faces Kei Nishikori of Japan who routed the Belgian David Goffin, 6-1, 6-2. Surprisingly this would be their first ever career meeting in what would be the second quarter-final on Thursday. The semi-finals are scheduled on Friday and the winner will be decided on Sunday in this 96 player field in a tournament spread over 12 days.
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy.You can reach him at the email: firstname.lastname@example.org]