ATP Miami Masters 1000: Day 5 Preview

Four time finalist Rafael Nadal and the reigning French Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka have exited from the second ATP 1000 event of the year as second seeded Andy Murray, a two time champion in Miami entered the round of 32 at this 12 day long event in Miami, Florida sponsored by Itau. Americans John Isner and Delray Beach champion Sam Querrey too bid farewell on Day 4.

The 2009 and 2013 champion Murray who has a home in Miami, where he trains during the year, won 6-3,7-5 against the tall Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan who has slipped to no. 76 in the world rankings. Istomin who recorded his first win in last six months against the Croatian teenager Borna Coric in the first round also dropped to 1-30 lifetime against top 10 opponents.

Murray will play the under achieving Grigor Dmitrov of Bulgaria, who as expected, struggled to beat Frederico Delbonis of Argentina in three sets 7-6(8),4-6,6-4. The left handed Delbonis had beaten Andy Murray in Indian Wells in a third set tie-break. Wawrinka, the top Swiss in the absence of Roger Federer, looked completely out of sorts as he fell to the Russian Andrey Kuznetsov 3-6,4-6.

Rafael Nadal conceded his match to Damir Dzumhur of Bosnia Herzegovina trailing 0-3 in the third set after the two had split the first two sets. On a hot and muggy day, the Spaniard began well against his 94th ranked opponent who had never beaten a top ten player previously. He faced 12 break points as the Spaniard took the first set 6-2. Dzumhur was the first of the two to request a trainer complaining dizziness.

Nadal failed to capitalize and dropped serve four times and requested a trainer twice, before finally retiring citing exhaustion. In the third round Dzumhur faces the Kazakh Mikhail Kukushkin who also advanced courtesy of a retirement. His opponent Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil conceded the match after the pair split the first two sets. The score was 7-5,3-6 with Bellucci losing the second set against the 90th ranked Kukushkin who had taken Novak Djokovic to five sets in the Davis Cup first round encounter three weeks ago.

No such problems for the sixth seeded Kei Nishikori of Japan who took out the Frenchman Pierre Hughes Herbert 6-2,7-6(4), while Jo Wilfred Tsonga easily beat Colombian Santiago Giraldo 6-3,6-1. The Indian Wells finalist Milos Raonic took out the American Denis Kudla 7-6(4),6-4 while the Marseille champion Nick Kyrgios defeated the veteran Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus 6-2,6-1.

Another retirement from the Russian Sergiy Stakhovsky saw the American Jack Sock advance. However the top American John Isner was beaten by fellow American Tim Smyczek. The 132nd ranked Smyczek who resides in Florida withstood 25 aces from Isner before winning 6-2,2-6,7-6(5). Other seeded winners include the Frenchman Gael Monfils, the Ukrainian Alexander Dolgopolov, the Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas who won the Rio De Janeiro and Sao Paolo titles in February.

Sam Querrey was upset by the left handed Frenchman Adrian Mannarino 7-6(5),2-6,4-6. The 34th ranked Querrey was a winner at Delray Beach, his 8th career title, but lost his way against the 64th ranked Mannarino. Another retirement from the Slovak born Briton Aijaz Bedene saw the Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut in the round of 32.

The following is the list of round of 32 matches in the top half of the draw with my pick mentioned first :-

Novak Djokovic (1) v. Joao Sousa (33)
Tomas Berdych (7) v. Steve Johnson (31)
David Ferrer (8) v. Lucas Pouille
Fernando Verdasco (-) v. Horacio Zeballos (-)
Richard Gasquet (10) v. Benoit Paire (20)
Marin Cilic (11) v. Giles Simon (18)
Dominic Thiem (14) v. Yoshihito Nishioka (-)
David Goffin (15) v. Victor Troicki (19)

– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy. You can reach him at the email: sportzcosmos@gmail.com]

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