The two time Miami Champion Andy Murray has been bundled out of the second ATP 1000 event of the year by the Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov in the third round on Monday. The Frenchman Jo Wilfred Tsonga was also upset by the Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut in three sets but the two young guns Kei Nishikori and Milos Raonic have safely progressed to the round of 16 matches to be played on Tuesday.
Also advancing were the Australian Nick Kyrgios, the Russian Andrey Kuznetsov, the Frenchman Gael Monfils and Damir Dzumhur of Bosnia and Herzegovina who had earlier advanced at the expense of Rafael Nadal on Saturday.
The 2009 and 2013 champion and runner up in 2012 and 2015; Murray took the first set in a tie-break against the 26th seeded Dimitrov who rallied superbly and took a 4-0 lead in the second set. Murray would get one break back, but the Bulgarian held on and registered his biggest win of the year. The scoreline was 6-7(1),6-4,6-3.
There were no such problems for the sixth seeded Kei Nishikori who easily defeated the Ukrainian Alexander Dolgopolov 6-2,6-2. Nishikori next faces the Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut who came from a set down to upset the ninth seeded Tsonga 2-6,6-3,7-6(3).
Dimitrov will play Gael Monfils, one of the four remaining Frenchman in the round of 16 who easily beat the Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas 6-3,6-4. The 22nd seeded Cuevas, born in Argentina was a winner on two clay court events in the South American swing. He won the ATP 500 event in Rio De Janeiro and then went on to claim the ATP 250 event in Sao Paolo, Brazil.
There was disappointment for the home crowd as the two remaining Americans Jack Sock and Tim Smyczek lost in straight sets to Canada’s Milos Raonic and the Australian Nick Kyrgios. Raonic, the Indian Wells finalist took the first set in a tie-break but then took command of the match as he won 7-6(3),6-4. Next up he will play Damir Dzumhur who had a good win over Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan 4-6,6-1,6-2.
The Marseille champion Kyrgios won 6-4,6-4 against Smyczek and next faces the Russian Andrey Kuznetsov, conqueror of Stanislas Wawrinka on Saturday. Kuznetsov came from behind to beat the left handed Frenchman Adrian Mannarino 2-6,7-5,6-0.
The following is the list of matches to be played in the round of 16 with my pick mentioned first :-
Novak Djokovic (1) v. Dominic Thiem (14)
Richard Gasquet (10) v. Tomas Berdych (7)
David Goffin (15) v. Horacio Zeballos (-)
Gilles Simon (18) v. Lucas Pouille (-)
Milos Raonic (12) v. Damir Dzumhur (-)
Nick Kyrgios (24) v. Andrey Kuznetsov (-)
Kei Nishikori (6) v. Roberto Bautista Agut (17)
Gael Monfils (16) v. Grigor Dimitrov (26)
In what will be the most eagerly awaited showdown between two players to have won the maximum number of matches in 2016, Djokovic will face his biggest test this week as he takes on the Austrian teenager Dominic Thiem. Both players have won 25 matches this year.
There are still four Frenchmen left in the draw, and the highest ranked among them Richard Gasquet who won the ATP 250 in Montpellier could cause the upset of the day as he plays Tomas Berdych. Nishikori will be favoured to beat Bautista Agut who was taken to three sets and Monfils too could bring the Bulgarian Dimitrov down to earth in what could be a fascinating contest.
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy. You can reach him at the email: firstname.lastname@example.org]