- Chris Sobey
The 32nd renewal of the Miami Masters at Crandon Park gets underway this afternoon and defending champion and world number one Novak Djokovic will aim to win a third Miami title in a row and also equal Andre Agassi’s record of six titles.
The current top four players in the world have dominated the majority of Masters 1000 series tournaments during their careers. Djokovic and Nadal have particularly excelled at this level and top the charts with 27 Masters 1000 titles each.
Miami is no different and the current top four in the world Djokovic (5), Murray (2), Federer (1) and Nadal (4 time finalist) have won eight of the last 10 titles between them. A player seeded no higher than two has won the last five Miami titles and no player outside the top-10 has won the title over the last decade. Also, a player seeded no higher than four has been a losing finalist the last four years and a player seeded no higher than 16 has been a losing finalist over the last decade.
The tournament has attracted one of its strongest fields in recent years with all of the current top-10 taking part; including world number three Roger Federer who returns after knee surgery, and 18 of the current top-20. With a great mix of experience and young up and coming talent in this bunch the action will no doubt be highly competitive.
As Djokovic is so dominant at present , there is little point in opposing him in the top-half of the draw. However, there might be some value in the player to win the Second Quarter market, which is headed by the returning Roger Federer.
Federer has not played a competitive match since the Australian Open and has failed to make the final at Miami in his last nine attempts. Also, his best results in this period were two semi-final finishes in 2009 and 2011 and his best result since 2011 was one quarter-final finish (did not play in 2013 and 2015).
At even money Federer is worth opposing to win the Second Quarter and after an impressive semi-final run at Indian Wells last week David Goffin at 14/1 is worth siding with to win the Second Quarter and reach his second Masters 1000 Series semi-final.
In the bottom half of the draw second seed Andy Murray is a two time winner of Miami (2009 and 2013) and he reached the final last year. He disappointed at Indian Wells last week, but can be forgiven as he still looked jaded from his epic Davis Cup exploits that weekend. I expect him to perform much better this week as the conditions also suit his game better.
However, the bottom half of the draw looks extremely competitive with four time finalist Nadal and the likes of Wawrinka, Indian Wells finalist Raonic and Indian Wells quarter finalists Tsonga and Nishikori all involved. Nadal showed enough positive signs at Indian Wells last week to suggest he’s worth following again and odds of 18/1 (1/2 odds) are certainly generous enough.