Five time champion Novak Djokovic and the sixth seeded Kei Nishikori have entered the final of the second Masters series event of the year at Crandon Park in Miami. The world number one ranked player will be hoping to tie the American Andre Agassi for a record sixth title in Miami and will take sole possession of the record for the most Masters series titles if he wins on Sunday. He is tied at 27 with long time rival Rafael Nadal of Spain.
In the first semi final on Friday Djokovic took eighty minutes to wrap up the first set in a tie-break and then needed only one break of serve in the second set to emerge a 7-6(4),6-4 winner in two hours and five minutes. After saving two break points in the sixth game of the first set, Goffin broke serve for the first and last time in the match to go up for 4-3. Djokovic broke right back and it went into a tie-break where Djokovic claimed the last three points to seal it 7-4.
Goffin who reached the semifinal in Indian Wells where he lost to Milos Raonic will rise to a career high number thirteen in the world rankings. Despite the windy, hot and humid conditions he made the Serb earn his 27th win of the year. His only loss this year was to the Spaniard Feliciano Lopez at the Dubai Dutyfree ATP 500 where he conceded the match after loosing the first set 6-3 as he had an eye infection.
In the eagerly awaited second semi final, Nishikori’s consistent ground strokes proved too much for the flashy and unpredictable Australian Nick Kyrgios as the sixth ranked player in the world won in one hour ant twenty four minutes 6-3,7-5. Nishikori broke twice in the first set and did not face a break point on his own serve.
The two traded service breaks in the second set and just when it looked headed for a tie-break Kyrgios dropped his serve and with it the match. Kyrgios who had beaten the Indian Wells finalist Milos Raonic will move into the top twenty, his highest ever ranking. He will rise above fellow Countryman Bernard Tomic and become the highest ranked Australian men’s player.
Djokovic who won this event in 2007 (d Canas), 2011 and 2014 (d Nadal), 2012 and 2015 (d. Murray) will be bidding for a third straight Indian Wells-Miami Miami double. He also did that in 2011. After loosing to Nishikori in the semi final of the 2014 U.S. Open, Djokovic has won their last five meetings and leads their head to head 6-2.
Having won his sixth Australian title in January, he also won the Doha warm up event and in Indian Wells on March 20. He takes a 27-1 record in 2016 into the final. He has 62 career titles this including 11 majors. Nishikori has 11 career titles and is 19-5 for the year. In February he won in Memphis (d. Taylor Fritz).
Nishikori’s only previous appearance in Masters final was in Madrid 2014 where he retired in the third and final set against Rafael Nadal. Djokovic won their last meeting in the Australian Open quarter final in straight sets but should Nishikori play consistent tennis he has a chance. Novak Djokovic has everything to play for while the 25 year old from Japan has not much too lose.
Prediction : Nishikori in three sets.
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy. You can reach him at the email: firstname.lastname@example.org]