Nick's Picks will be breaking down the Sony Ericsson Open everyday! Follow along for predictions, picks, and insight into the tournament on the blog and on TennisWeek.com.
Novak Djokovic (SRB) vs. Roger Federer (SUI)
Djokovic battled through Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Wednesday to advance to the semifinals in Miami for the second time. In his only other appearance in the semis, Djokovic beat Andy Murray and then went on to take down Guillermo Canas in the finals back in 2007. He appeared to be getting tired against Tsonga and if that happens in this match, he is going to be in big trouble!
Federer avenged his quarterfinal loss to Andy Roddick in 2008 by beating the American in three tough sets this year. Federer looks more determined than ever to claim this title and show everyone that he can still win the big ones. All the fans are looking ahead to a potential Federer/Nadal battle in the finals, but both men still have some matches to win!
Federer is 7-2 against Djokovic and has beaten him the last two times they have played. First things first, Federer cannot look past this match whatsoever! He needs to focus on Djokovic and not worry about Nadal or any other future opponent. Now, he knows what Djokovic can do. He has played him nine times and there is no doubt that he understands how to beat him. He just has to believe inside himself that he can and will win this match and that he won't give it away.
Djokovic is solid in every component of the game. His groundstrokes are top-notch, he has a booming serve, his movement is excellent and he is comfortable at the net. His issue (which came up against Tsonga) is staying healthy throughout the match. He has got to start thinking that no matter how long the rallies are or how hot the sun is the only option is to finish and win!
I look for Federer to try and control play from the outset with his amazing versatility and he must be willing to attach. He has also got to cut down on the amount of unforced errors. This is going to be an excellent match if both men are playing their best and I give the edge to Federer!
Nick's Pick - Federer in 3 sets
Andy Murray (GBR) vs. Juan Martin Del Potro (ARG)
Murray moved into the semis with a 6-1, 6-2 win over an injured Fernando Verdasco in the quarters. Verdasco, who said he considered retiring in the match, suffered the hip injury in the second game of the first set and he was unable to hold serve throughout much of the battle. This is the second time Murray has been to the semis here, and he is looking to reach his first Sony Ericsson Open final.
Del Potro played an incredible match to beat Rafael Nadal 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(3) and reach his first career ATP World Tour Masters 1000 semifinal. Nadal was up a double break (3-0) in the third set, but all of a sudden he couldn't keep the ball in play and Del Potro rallied. The atmosphere in the stadium was electric as Del Potro was able to win the match in the tiebreaker and claim his spot in the semis. All I can say was: WHAT A MATCH!!
Murray is 2-0 against Del Potro, with the most recent win coming in a great battle in the quarterfinals of the 2008 US Open. This is going to be a very interesting match because both players are crowd pleasers. For a big guy, Del Potro moves incredibly well. He hits his groundstrokes as well as anyone on the ATP Tour (if Karlovic had the two-handed backhand that Del Potro has he might be the #1 player in the world!!) and he has a booming serve.
Coming off of the win against Nadal, Del Potro is going to face a whole new set of challenges against Murray. For one, Del Potro is going to have to be more patient because Murray won't give him the pace on every ball like Nadal does. Del Potro will also have to be more patient against Murray and will need to be ready to move constantly. Murray is going to need an extraordinary serving day to go along with the rest of his excellent game.
This is a difficult match to predict because both men are equally capable of winning it. I believe the longer the match goes on the more it favors Murray. Del Potro needs a quick win after playing for three grueling hours against Nadal. I give a slight edge to Murray, but like I said this is gonna be close!!
Nick's Pick - Murray in 3 sets