Sony Ericsson Open Preview

This is a guest post written by Richard Dedor (you can read more about him below). If you have an article you would like featured on backseatfan send us an email

With the first ATP 1000 Masters event in the books (last week in Indian Wells, Calif.), the men are back at it, even if none of the top four men were absent from the final four. Last week Ivan Ljubicic defeated the highest ranking American Andy Roddick in the final. They are now ranked 13th and ninth respectively.

The event over the next fortnight in Miami, the Sony Ericsson Open, often called the Fifth Major will undoubtedly give tennis fans a glimpse into the summer tennis season. This is the last hard-court tournament before the eight week clay-court season followed by a four-week grass-court season. This is basically the final stamp on the first third of the season. What are we likely to see?

What We Will See in Miami

There are a few things to keep your eyes open for in Miami.

First, we are going to see the best tennis of the year, aside from the great tennis we saw Down Under. All the top guys are here and after a great tournament in Indian Wells, I fully expect this tournament to bring out the best in these players.

In Indian Wells we saw none, none of the top guys make it to the final. Roddick was ranked No. 8 in the world during the tournament. I believe him not playing Davis Cup has helped him and kept him fresh, much to the chagrin of the US squad. But with his career in its final years, he’s more focused than ever to win big.

Rafael Nadal, who has slipped to No. 4 is still fighting his way through not only getting back into match shape, but finding his strokes. For eighteen months, there was no one better. Now everyone is better.

Somehow, Novak Djokovic has made it all the way to the second best player in the world. I’m not even sure he knows how it has happened. His last four Grand Slam results have been two semifinals, a quarterfinal and a third-round exit at the French. He was a finalist here last year.

The reigning No. 1, Roger Federer is back in form, but was bounced early at Indian Wells.

TOP FOUR

Taking a quick look at the four quarters of the draw, just like last week the NCAA Men’s Basketball draw, the best player has the toughest draw. Roger Federer, the number one, has Tomas Berdych in his quarter and Andy Murray and Robin Soderling in his semis.

The number four, Andy Murray, aside from having Federer in his half, also has Soderling in the quarters and young fighters like himself all the way through the tournament. The biggest thing with Murray is that he has never in his career defended a title, and as the current holder, has a tough mental road to travel.

The bottom half of the draw is quite a bit easier, for both No. 2 Djokovic and No. 4 Nadal. American John Isner stands as a challenger to Nadal in the quarters, and Roddick stands in the way for Djokovic in the quarterfinals. Or, it could be Ljubicic.

Of all the players, Djokovic has the toughest draw to even reach the semifinals.

PREDICTIONS

Semi-Final
Roger Federer vs. Andy Murray
Andy Roddick vs. John Isner

Final
Roger Federer vs. Andy Roddick

Champion
Roger Federer

About Richard Dedor

Richard Dedor is a writer, speaker and personal coach dedicated to helping each person achieve their dreams. He ran for political office at age 18 and recently published his first book, Anything is Possible (http://anythingispossiblethebook.com). You can find him at his blog Finding Focus (http://www.richarddedor.com/blog) and on Twitter @RichardDedor (http://twitter.com/richarddedor). He also works for the USTA and this column is his personal opinion, and not that of the USTA’s.