With the shock early exit of Three time Miami champion Roger Federer of Switzerland, there will be a lot at stake for the GenNext and the underachievers in Men’s tennis to claim the second Masters series title of the year. Leading them will be the Indian Wells champion Juan Martin Del Potro who extended his thirteen match winning streak with a 6-2,6-2 win over the 26th seeded Kei Nishikori of Japan on Sunday.
The fifth seeded Argentine who claimed his maiden Master’s title the previous Sunday after saving three match points in the final against Roger Federer, next goes on to meet the 22nd seeded Filip Krajinovic of Serbia, who advanced after a 6-3,6-3 demolition of his compatriot Novak Djokovic’s conqueror Benoit Paire of France.
The second seeded Marin Cilic of Croatia who had reached the third Grand Slam final of his career in Melbourne, was a 7-5,7-6(4) winner over Canada’s Vasek Pospisil and next meets the fourteenth seeded American John Isner who beat the veteran Russian Mikhail Youzhny 6-4,6-3.
The nineteenth seeded Hyeon Chung of Korea, a semi finalist in Melbourne outclassed American qualifier Michael Mmoh 6-1,6-1 and next goes on to meet Joao Sousa of Portugal who came from behind to beat another American Jared Donaldson 1-6,6-3,6-4.
Another player returning from injury; Canada’s Milos Raonic, seeded 20th, had a good win over the 13th seeded Argentine Diego Schwartzman, winner of the ATP 500 event in Rio 7-6(5),6-3. He will next play the stylish Frenchman Jeremy Chardy who upset the third seeded Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov 6-4,6-4.
The 31st seeded Spanish left hander Fernando Verdasco beat the conqueror of Roger Federer; qualifier Thanasi Kokkinakis of Australia, 3-6,6-4,7-6(4). He next plays fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta, seeded 16th, who ended the hopes of another American, Steve Johnson with a workmanlike 6-4,6-4 win. The South African Kevin Anderson, seeded sixth, came from a set down to beat the Russian teenager Karen Khachanov 4-6,6-2,6-3. He awaits the winner of the match between the former Miami finalist Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic and the rising American Frances Tiafoe which was called off at 2:13am local time on Tuesday morning with Berdych trailing 4-5 on serve in the decider after the pair split the first two sets.
In an exciting rematch of last year, the fourth seeded Alexander Zverev of Germany gets a chance to avenge his defeat at the hands of another GenNext star Nick Kyrgios of Australia after both advanced on Monday. Zverev defeated the veteran Spaniard David Ferrer, seeded 28th after coming from a set down to win 2-6,6-2,6-4. Kyrgios, seeded 17th, ended the hopes of the Sao Paulo Open champion Fabio Fognini, 6-3,6-3.
The last two spots have been sealed by Canada’s Denis Shapovalov and the Indian Wells semi finalist Borna Coric of Croatia in what promises to be an exciting match up between the two. Shapovalov, beat the 11th seeded American Sam Querrey 6-4,3-6,7-5. Coric ended a miserable day for the Americans as he outlasted the highest ranked American Jack Sock, seeded eighth, 5-7,7-6(4),6-3. Five Americans were eliminated in the round of thirty two with only John Isner advancing and Tiafoe resumes his match against Berdych on Tuesday.
The following is the line up of matches in the last sixteen with my pick mentioned first:-
Pablo Carreno Busta (16) v. Fernando Verdasco (31)
Kevin Anderson (6) v. Tomas Berdych (10)/Frances Tiafoe (-)
Alexander Zverev (4) v. Nick Kyrgios (17)
Borna Coric (-) v. Denis Shapovalov (-)
Juan Martin Del Potro (5) v. Filip Krajinovic (22)
Milos Raonic (20) v. Jeremy Chardy (-)
Hyeon Chung (19) v. Joao Sousa (-)
Marin Cilic (2) v. John Isner (14).
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy. You can reach him at the email: sportzcosmos@]