You can view the draw for the Miami Masters Series event HERE. Roger’s path to the title looks more or less like this:
Much better draw for Roger as in Indian Wells and combined with the faster surface at Miami I really hope he can win the title here. But by now we know that Rafa and Murray is extremely difficult opponents for him. Therefor even if he makes the final he will have to make a mental breakthrough to win the tournament. That is of course assuming that Murray or Rafa makes the final. They are the favorites to do so but as always we just don’t know, tennis is an unpredictable sport. There is plenty of danger men in their half of the draw like Verdasco, Karlovic, Nalbandian and Gonzalez who are all capable of causing upsets. But the good thing for Roger is that Murray is in fact in Rafa’s side of the draw and that he wouldn’t have to face either one of his bogey players before the final.
I don’t see Roger have much problems with Llodra. They have never met on ATP level before but I can’t see Roger losing here. Next up is Kiefer who Roger leads 11-3 in career meetings. The matches that he lost was before he started dominating the tennis world so I won’t read much into that. They have had a few tough matches but again I expect Roger to win. Then he comes up most probably against either Tommy Robredo or Nicolas Almagro who are both clay court specialists. Once again I can’t imagine Roger possibly losing to either of these players, and not the least because he holds a 5-0 head-to-head record against Almagro and an 8-0 one against Robredo. In the quarterfinals he will probably come up against either Andy Roddick or Gael Monfils.
He has a 16-2 record against Roddick and he is 4-0 against Monfils, so that should make him the favorite again on paper. Roddick has showed however that he is playing good tennis in 2009, but Roger took care of him quite easily in Australia. For a place in the final he will most likely meet either the Djoker or Jo-Wilfred Tsonga. As we have seen last week the Djoker, like Roger, is a little fragile at the moment. Nevertheless we can’t count him out as he is always a dangerous player. Should he make it to the semi’s I don’t think Roger should lose to him though, he does after all have a 7-2 record over him. On the other hand Tsonga might just get through, he would want to make up for his early exit in Indian Wells and the surface should suit his attacking style of play as well.
Roger only played Tsonga once before and won easily. Therefor I must conclude that Roger has a pretty decent draw, much better then Miami anyway. He now has some wins under has belt and even though he lost pretty badly to Murray in Indian Wells I’m sure he would relish the draw and conditions of Miami. Indian Wells was his first tournament in six weeks, the conditions were slowish and he had a tough draw. Therefor I hope he can make his move now in Miami. He couldn’t have asked for a more favorable draw, the conditions is a little faster then Indian Wells which should suit his attacking style better and he has some matches behind him now. The big problem for Roger remains Rafa and Murray.
How much of a mental toll does it take on Roger knowing that in order to win an important tournament he will most likely have to beat at least one of these two players. Does he look forward to it as a new opportunity to get back at them, or does he fear them? The way I know Roger he looks forward to it, but for how long can he keep looking forward to getting beaten? Like I said before it just gets harder to beat these guys every time you lose to them and it must hurt his pride being the great player that he is. In my previous posts I mentioned briefly what I think Roger should do to beat Murray or Rafa so I will say a bit more about that now. By now he should realize these guys has his number from the back of the court.
They are exploiting his backhand that is not consistent enough to withstand the pressure. So especially with the slightly faster surface in Miami I would like to see him approach the net on a regular basis. By now he knows he can’t just camp out in his comfort zone on the baseline against these guys. He has got to show them something different. So I would like him to mix up his game often, serve and volleying on some serves and staying back on others. Just enough to keep them guessing. I would also like to see him attack the second serve of both these players, which is relatively weak. I want him to keep the rallies short, so when the opportunity presents itself he must go for the winner from the base line or at least approach the net. And the key to make this all happen is his serve.
He must make a high percentage of first serves so he can get free points and weak returns from which he can launch an attack. The secret is to keep the points short. Murray likes a point to develop and Rafa is just too consistent from the baseline. The way Roger played in the second set against Murray is the perfect example of how he should play. But it’s easy to play like that when you are a set down, no pressure right? The hard part is playing like that from the start and not letting up. But Roger must know by now that is the only way he stands a chance and there shouldn’t be any excuses for reverting to old tactics. This doesn’t guarantee he will win of course, but at least he will give himself a better shot. I don’t think he should be losing so often to these guys.
Now why hasn’t Roger hired me as his coach yet?