ATP Stats guru Greg Sharko
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The second ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament of the season, the Sony Open, gets underway on Wednesday at the Tennis Center at Crandon Park with 17 of the Top 20 players (44 of the Top 50) in the Emirates ATP Rankings competing in the 96-player field.
Since April 2010 in Monte Carlo, 24 of the past 26 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments have been won by a member of the Big Four – Djokovic, Federer, Murray and Nadal. The only exception came in Paris-Bercy last year (David Ferrer) and in 2010 (Robin Soderlling). Overall, there are 10 former ATP Masters 1000 winners in the draw.
World No. 1 and reigning two-time champion Novak Djokovic is one of three former winners in the field. Djokovic, who defeated Andy Murray last year in straight sets and Rafael Nadal in a three-set thriller two years ago, also won the title in 2007. No. 2 seed Murray won the title in 2009 and former World No. 3 and unseeded Nikolay Davydenko captured the crown in 2008.
Djokovic is the top seed in Miami for the second straight year and he opens against the winner of Gilles Muller and Lukas Rosol. The first seed Djokovic would face is No. 30 Feliciano Lopez in the third round. In the fourth round, he could face No. 15 Tommy Haas or No. 19 Alexandr Dolgopolov. In the quarter-finals, seeds looming are No. 7/countryman Janko Tipsarevic, No. 11 Gilles Simon, No. 23 Florian Mayer and No. 26 Anderson.
In the second quarter, No 3 David Ferrer, a semi-finalist in 2005-06 and a two-time winner this year who leads the ATP World Tour with 21 match wins, opens with a qualifier. The first seed he could face is No.32 Fabio Fognini in the third round. In the fourth round, No. 13 Kei Nishikori and No. 22 Jeremy Chardy are possible opponents. In the quarter-finals, Ferrer’s potential seeded opponents are: No. 5 Juan Martin del Potro, No. 12 Juan Monaco, a semi-finalist last year, No. 24 Julien Benneteau or No. 31 Marcel Granollers. One of the top first round matches is an all-American battle between Ryan Harrison and wild card/former World No. 4 James Blake. The winner will meet Benneteau.
In the bottom half of the draw (third quarter), No. 4 and 2010 finalist Tomas Berdych opens against the winner of Daniel Gimeno-Traver and Denis Istomin. In the third round, Berdych could meet No. 25 Fernando Verdasco, a former World No. 7. In the fourth round, Berdych could play No. 14 Milos Raonic or No. 17 Sam Querrey, who is playing his first tournament as the top American on the ATP World Tour. In the quarter-finals, possible seeded foes are: No. 8 Richard Gasquet, No. 10 Nicolas Almagro, No. 18 Philipp Kohlschreiber or No. 28 Mikhail Youzhny.
In the final quarter, No. 2 and ’09 champion Andy Murray, plays the winner of a qualifier and young Aussie Bernard Tomic, who is one of two first-time ATP World Tour winners (Zeballos) this season. In the third round, Murray could meet No. 29 Grigor Dimitrov, one of the young, rising stars. Dimitrov reached his first ATP World Tour final in Brisbane, losing to Murray. In the fourth round, No. 16 Andreas Seppi and No. 21 Jerzy Janowicz, who beat Murray last October at ATP Masters 1000 Paris, are possible opponents. Janowciz faces the winner of Thomaz Bellucci and wild card Christian Harrison, who is the youngest player in the field at 18. The younger brother of Ryan is making his ATP World Tour main draw singles debut. In the quarter-finals, seeds are No. 6 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, No. 9 Marin Cilic, No. 20 John Isner and No. 27 Martin Klizan. Murray is looking to win his first ATP Masters 1000 title since October 2011 in Shanghai.
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