With Murray, Djokovic and now Federer out, it looks like there will be another unlikely Masters Series final match-up again this week at the Sony Ericsson Open. Could there be back-to-back first time Masters Series champions? Well here’s a look at the remaining players in Key Biscayne.
Andy Roddick- After losing in the finals to Ivan Ljubicic at Indian Wells a couple of weeks ago, Roddick looks for another opportunity to win his first Master Series event since 2005. He once again has a very easy draw and should have no problem beating Nicolas Almagro to set up a semifinal match against Rafael Nadal or Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Prediction: Lose to Robin Soderling in three sets in the final.
Nicolas Almagro- The 24 year old Spaniard has really improved his hard court game and looks to win his first ATP Master Series title. Prediction: Lose to Andy Roddick in the quarterfinals in straight sets.
Rafael Nadal- The one remaining tournament favorite left in Key Biscayne is the 2005 and 2008 Sony Ericsson Open runner up, Rafael Nadal. Nadal is no stranger to the big Masters Series stage, having won 15 Masters Series titles. I don’t see the Spaniard winning his first title in Key Biscayne this year though, as his road to the final will most likely involve some very aggressive, flat hitting opponents. Prediction: Lose to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the quarterfinals in straight sets.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga- Looking to win his second Masters Series title (won in Paris, 2008), Tsonga has some tough players to get passed in the next couple of rounds in Nadal and then most likely Roddick. I think Tsonga has been playing aggressive enough this tournament to take out Nadal, but Roddick will be too much for him. Prediction: Lose to Roddick in the semifinals in three sets.
Tomas Berdych- After a very impressive upset victory over the best player in the game, Berdych looks to win his second Master Series event (won in Paris, 2005). While he has a tough match in the next round against the red-hot Fernando Verdasco, he's got a lot of momentum from his last win and a lot of confidence in carrying a 5-3 head-to-head edge over the Spaniard. He also wiped the court with Verdasco just a couple of weeks ago at Indian Wells, 6-0, 6-3. Prediction: Lose to Soderling in the semifinals in three sets.
Fernando Verdasco- Verdasco solidified himself as a top-10 player after his impressive run to the semifinals at last year's Australian Open. He has continued his solid play since then, but hasn't really got back to that same level that had brought him just a few points away from being in a Grand Slam final. Verdasco has yet to make a Masters Series final and I don't see things changing at this tournament. Prediction: Lose to Berdych in the quarterfinals in three sets.
Mikhail Youzhny- Making a very impressive comeback in the last 10 months, Youzhny has improved his ranking to 15th in the world. I believe his success will continue throughout the season, though I don’t see him making his Masters Series final debut this tournament. Prediction: Lose to Soderling in the quarterfinals in straight sets.
Robin Soderling- After an incredible run to the French Open finals, dethroning the greatest clay court player of all time on the way, and a terrific year in general, 25 year old Robin Soderling has backed his surprise 2009 success with solid results so far in 2010. I predict the Swede to not only get to his first Master Series final, but to win it. Prediction: Beat Roddick in the final in three sets.