Hey folks. Just an update on what has so far transpired in Maimi as my first post about live action for The Ultimate Tennis Blog. Quite a few seeds have already fallen, the highest of which was Lopez(10). Lopez lost to Thiem who I like quite a bit with his one-handed backhand and his attitude towards the game. He has been struggling quite a bit so far this year, not quite living up to the promise he showed so far. So it was nice for me to see him finally get another big win. He seems to like playing Lopez because this is now his second win over Lopez after straight setting him in the US Open third round last year. Thiem will now play Sock who defeated 21st seed Fognini. Sock has been playing well lately so it will be a tough match but winnable.
Another youngster who is showing promise is 17-year old Alexander Zverev, who recorded his first Masters Series level win in Miami with a win over Sam Groth. And yet another 17-year old Russian called Andrey Rublev won his first Masters level match with a win over Carreno Busta. The future of tennis is looking bright with the rise of Thiem, Kyrgios, Coric, Kokkinakis, Zverev, and Rublev. And then there are of course the slightly older generation of Nishikori, Dimitrov, and Raonic who have already established themselves to a certain extent. So the future of tennis is looking good. As far as Coric goes he also played Miami and won his first match, but then got bageled by Goffin. So from the youngsters only Thiem is left now.
I’ll take Hantuchova
Raonic, Dimitrov, and Nishikori all had easy wins so far. The same goes for big four members Nadal and Murray. Nadal didn’t look particularly impressive against Almagro but you can always rely on Almagro for unlimited amounts of choking. Nadal’s draw is a bit of a joke with his usual Spanish yes men nicely lined up for him. He now plays Fernando ‘Fiasco’ Verdasco after which he plays the winner of Monaco and Garcia-Lopez. Gulbis(14) again did his seeding an injustice when he lost to Monaco and desperately needs to fix his forehand which is a monstrosity. The tragic thing about Gulbis is that he used to have a decent forehand but then changed it to the current monstrosity which is technically the most flawed shot in tennis probably.
Nadal isn’t complaining. An in form Gulbis could have been a threat to him but now he may instead face one of his biggest admirers in Monaco. Hopefully Garcia-Lopez wins as he at least has a win over Nadal. But I think on these slow courts Nadal should easily make semis. Then he could play against Murray or Stan which could get interesting. Finally I get to Djokovic who dropped the second set against Klizan after bageling him in the opening set. I watched the first set and the beginning of the second set where Djokovic got broken but broke right back. I figured it would soon be over and went to bed. This morning I found out Djokovic actually served for the second set at 5-3 after which Klizan went on a tear of four straight games to win the second set 7-5.
The serve has become a potent weapon for Djokovic
But as was the case against Roger Djokovic just kept his level up to bread stick Klizan in the final set. I’m not surprised that Klizan won the second set because he is actually a very good player who has a win over Nadal for instance. So it was the same pattern as the Indian Wells final where the opponent played inspired tennis in the second set but couldn’t keep it up and convincingly lost the final set. Djokovic’s consistent high quality of play is what makes him so damn hard to beat on slow hard court. To win one set you have to play unreal offensive tennis that is impossible to keep up over the entire match, so he just goes ahead and finish you off as soon as your level drops again.
It really is spectacularly difficult to penetrate his unreal defense and base line consistency for long enough to beat him on slow hard court, which is why he is already probably the slow hard court GOAT. His movement, backhand, and return of serve in particular is unreal. Then his serve has become a real weapon and his forehand has always been good. I think he will win Miami without too much trouble too and do a record third Indian Wells/Miami double. Roger did it twice and should Djokovic get it done, while at the same time winning a fifth Miami title, it would be another huge hard court achievement. He really is becoming one of the all time hard court greats but for the moment Roger is still well ahead of him in that regard.