Stay tuned to Nick's Picks throughout the 2010 Sony Ericsson Open for live coverage of the event and daily picks!
Filip Krajinovic (SRB) vs. James Blake (USA)
If you haven't heard of Filip Krajinovic yet, you will soon. He is only 18 years old and is already ranked #331 in the world. Krajinovic has been training at the IMG Academy Bollettieri tennis program for the last couple of years and he is one of the best up-and-coming players in the world. Trust me when I say that Krajinovic is definitely one player to keep an eye out for!
Blake comes into the tournament ranked #52 in the world and having lost in the third round at Indian Wells to Nicolas Almagro. He did pick up a good win over David Ferrer in the second round, but he fell to Almagro in three sets. Blake has had good results in Miami, reaching the quarters twice before falling to Nadal in 2008 and Federer in 2006.
This is the first career meeting between the veteran Blake and the young pup, Krajinovic. Blake has been a role model in the world of tennis for years. He has come through a lot of adversity and understands what it takes to win. He is one heck of a player who is smart, competitive, and has great groundstrokes. It seems as of late that father time may be catching up with him, but nevertheless, he is still a tough out in every tournament. Krajinovic is a dynamic player. He has a huge forehand and serve, and his backhand is excellent. He covers the court well and is a bit of a risk taker. For Krajinovic to win, he needs to take advantage of every opportunity that is presented to him. Blake won't give the youngster anything easy, but this is going to be a close match.
Nick's Pick - I have to give the edge to Blake, but I wouldn't be surprised to see Filip win this in an âupsetâ.
Ryan Harrison (USA) vs. Michael Llodra (FRA)
Harrison is another young pro who trains at the IMG Academy Bollettieri tennis program Tennis Academy. He comes into the tournament ranked a career high of #248 in the world. He picked up a good win over Taylor Dent in the first round of Indian Wells, but then lost to eventual champion, Ivan Ljubicic, in two sets. This is a great opportunity for Harrison to pick up some more points and continue his climb up the rankings.
Llodra has lost his last two matches, but before that he won the title in Marsellie, beating top-ten player Robin Soderling along the way. He is a talented lefty who presents a problem for whoever he plays. His best result in Miami came back in 2007 when he reached the third round before losing to Novak Djokovic in straight sets.
This is the first career meeting between Llodra and Harrison. Llodra has a big-time lefty serve and will come to the net whenever he has the chance. He knows what he does best, and he will do it as much as possible. This match is dependent on how Harrison can return Llodra's serve, because I feel once the ball is in play, Harrison has the advantage. The young American is coming into his own and he will be filled with confidence. He has a huge forehand and his serve is nothing to laugh at either. This will be a great match to watch, and with the American fans there to cheer on Ryan I can't wait to see it!
Nick's Pick - Harrison in 3 tough sets, but this match really comes down to how he handles the Llodra serve