ATP Miami Masters 1000: Preview Of The Semifinals

Novak Djokovic has continued his relentless march to an unprecedented sixth Miami title and a fourth Indian Wells-Miami double as he cruised to a 6-3,6-3 win over the 2010 finalist Tomas Berdych on Wednesday.

Joining him in the last four is the Indian Wells semifinalist David Goffin of Belgium, the Marseille champion Nick Kyrgios of Australia and the sixth seeded Kei Nishikori of Japan. Djokovic went into the match with a 22-2 head to head record against the seventh seeded Berdych of the Czech Republic. He took the one hour forty minute encounter and extended his record in 2016 to 26-1, his only loss being at the Dubai Dutyfree Championship at the hands of the Spaniard Feliciano Lopez.

In the semifinal he will play the in-form David Goffin who beat the more experienced Giles Simon of France coming from a set down to win 3-6,6-2,6-1 in the first quarter final on Wednesday at Crandon Park. Goffin thus levelled their head to head record to 1-1. Kei Nishikori eliminated the last remaining Frenchman in the draw Gael Monfils as he rallied after dropping the first set in the afternoon session on Thursday.

Monfils served fourteen aces while Nishikori only had three aces in the two and a half hour encounter. Importantly Nishikori converted three out of four break point chances while Monfils could only convert three out of the nine break points he had. Nishikori won 4-6,6-3,7-6(3).

He will play the Australian Nick Kyrgios in the last four on Friday after the 26th ranked Canberra native upset the 12th seeded Milos Raonic of Canada 6-4,7-6(4) in the last match of the round of eight. Raonic failed to convert on any of the five break point chances he had, while Kyrgios managed to convert on only one of the six break point chances. The match lasted an hour and forty five minutes and the two are now tied at 2 apiece in their career meetings.

The following is the last four line up with their head to head records and my pick mentioned first:-

Novak Djokovic (1) v. David Goffin (14); Djokovic leads 3-0
Kei Nishikori (6) v. Nick Kyrgios (24); Nishikori leads 1-0

In three meetings the 5 ft 11 inches Belgian has taken only one set out of eight against Djokovic while Nishikori came from a set down to beat Kyrgios in the only meeting between the two at the Shanghai Masters in 2015. Djokovic also has the added incentive of having the sole position of the maximum number of Masters title should he win as expected on Sunday.

The Serbian is tied with Rafael Nadal with 27 Masters 1000 titles. Nishikori’s best is a runner up finish at the 2014 Madrid Masters on clay where he conceded in the third set of the final against Nadal due to back injury. He also finished runner up at the U.S. Open in 2014 loosing to Marin Cilic in the final. He had knocked out Djokovic in the last four in New York.

– 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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