Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Miami Watch: Djokovic to face Tsonga in the quarters

Third seed Novak Djokovic made it to the Miami quarters after eliminating 21st-seed, Tomas Berdych, 6-3, 6-2 on Tuesday. Next up for the Serb is his nemesis, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who ousted 7th-seed, Gilles Simon in 6-7(6), 6-3, 6-2.

After losing the 2008 Australian Open final to Djokovic, 10th-seeded Tsonga has since beaten the Djokovic on 4 successive occasions, most recently in Marseille in February.

Tsonga already has 2 titles to his name this season, Johannesburg and Marseille, while Djokovic recently captured his first title of the year in Dubai.

I just love it when tournament draws keep putting good players in each others' paths over and over again. These 2 have faced each other 5 times in 13 months, we're lucky we're gonna get to see them face-off again on Thursday.

“I lost to Tsonga four times in a row, so he has a little advantage probably there... But I think all the matches we played were very close. It's going to be a challenge for me to win,” said Djokovic after his match on Tuesday.

When asked about his countryman, Viktor Troicki, who has reached the 4th round in Miami toppling David Nalbandian along the way, Djokovic said:

"Yeah, he's playing fantastic in the last two events. He's a physically very strong guy. He's always been like that, even in juniors. He had a little issues with the groundstrokes, with the technique, but now he is improved. His forehand is much better, and his movement has always been very powerful for his height. So we can expect him to do well in the future."

Looks like someone spoke a little bit too soon cuz there was nothing fantastic about Troicki in his last-16 match against Andy Murray later on Tuesday. The Serb barely escaped a double-bagel situation against Murray as he crashed out 6-1, 6-0 to the fourth seed.

Murray next takes on 8th-seed, Fernando Verdasco, who had ousted the Scot from the Aussie Open fourth round earlier this year, which was Verdasco's first victory over Murray in 6 meetings. The world number 4 however insisted that the Melbourne loss was not on his mind heading into the quarters in Miami:

"It's not like I'd be going for revenge or whatever, it's just another match," said Murray.

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