Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Miami Watch: Wednesday matches to check out

The first matches of the Sony Ericsson Open main draw will take place on Wednesday in Miami. While all seeds have first-round byes of course, there are a couple of good matches worth checking out on Day 1.

Ernests Gulbis vs Marcos Baghdatis

While Gulbis has done nothing so far this year to fulfill our expectations, I could never quite write him off in any match, without a little bit of wondering... Could this be the match where Gulbis will step up?!?!

Well I honestly don't think so this time. Baghdatis holds a 3-0 record over Gulbis, including a win over the Latvian in Delray Beach last month. While Baghdatis has slipped to 105 in the world rankings and Gulbis is lurking around the edge of the top 40, Baghdatis has had a way better year so far, reaching the Aussie Open 4th round, 2 quarterfinals (Johannesburg, Delray Beach) and helping Cyprus advance in the Davis Cup. Gulbis on the other hand has not won 2 successive matches this year which leaves him with a disappointing 7-8 win/loss record for the year so far.

Nonetheless, this match is definitely worth watching on Wednesday. Who knows, am almost always wrong :)

Mikhail Youzhny vs Jeremy Chardy

Former world number 8, Mikhail Youzhny, has a tough opponent to face in the Miami first round. Jeremy Chardy, who is currently enjoying a career-high of 45 in the world, started the year coming through qualifying to reach the Sydney quarterfinals. He then reached the final in Johannesburg, toppling David Ferrer along the way, and followed that by making it to the semis in Delray Beach, where he posted wins over Baghdatis and Tommy Haas. He lost in the 3rd round of Indian Wells last week, but he came close to beating Ferrer again but ended up falling in 3 sets.

Youzhny however has slipped to 62 in the rankings and was forced to retire from his Indian Wells first round match against Viktor Troicki. He then entered the Sunrise Challenger event where he lost in the second round to Feliciano Lopez. Youzhny's success so far this year has been limited to 2 quarterfinal showings in Marseille and Rotterdam. His record this season is a dismal 6-7, and he has 4th round points to defend this year in Miami.

I say Chardy will continue his good form and will win this one.

For Wednesday's complete order of play check here...

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