Today, the top players FINALLY get in on the action in Miami at the Sony Ericsson Open. I'm not expecting any major upsets on either side of the draw, but some players face potentially tricky opponents. So here's what I'm predicting to be my "Tricky Matches of the Day" (seeds in parenthesis):
Kevin Anderson vs. Novak Djokovic (3): Now you're probably thinking, "What kind of match can a qualifier give the hottest player on the planet?" Well, when you happen to serve bombs like Anderson does, have already played a few matches at the venue with qualifying and winning the first round, and recently coming off your first career final, your confidence should be pretty high. I still expect Djokovic to come through, but he definitely needs to be on guard.
David Nalbandian (7) vs. Xavier Malisse: I think over the course of their careers, these have been two of the flightiest players ever. There are few out there that are pure tennis players like them: the court sense, the shot-making ability, etc. But both of their careers are nowhere near where they should be. Nalbandian's been playing at a pretty high level the past few months and Malisse is trying to work his way back from injury. This would be a perfect opportunity for Malisse to show he's on the right track, but I still see Nalbandian (seen here practicing at Indian Wells, courtesy of Mark "Da Mayor" of Tennisopolis.com) coming through. It shouldn't be easy though.
Richard Gasquet (8) vs. Dmitry Tursunov: There's going to be big bangin' going on all match for this one! This would be a good chance for Tursunov (pictured) to pick up a top 10 win, playing who I think is the most mentally fragile top tenner on the ATP side. But I don't know if Tursunov really cares about trying to be the best tennis player he can be. If he wins a title, cool; if not, cool. Gasquet should win, but Tursunov has the ability to take him out.
Virginie Razzano (23) vs. Ashley Harkleroad: Who vs. who, you might ask? Razzano was one of the hottest players during last winter's Asian swing, picking up back-to-back titles and almost a third. Any time you go back-to-back on either tour, that means you definitely have game. Harkleroad is in a good spot to pick up a win over a seed. You know, the way she came semi-blazing out of the gate to start her career, I never would've predicted Harkleroad being a journeywoman. This one is definitely a toss-up.
And for other matches involving seeds, Justine Henin, Rafael Nadal, sisters Williams and Blake should come through pretty easily. In lower seed upsets, I'm picking Grosjean over Stepanek and Mahut over Moya on the men's side. The rest of the women seeds should come through.
* A nod to Run-DMC!
(Tursunov, Djokovic pictures: Getty Images)
3 years ago