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Novak Djokovic Among Those In Miami Action On One Of The Best Tennis Days Of The Year

Novak Djokovic of Serbia in action against Federico Delbonis of Argentina during their men's singles match at the Miami Open tennis tournament in Miami, Florida, USA, 24 March 2019. EPA-EFE/JASON SZENES
Novak Djokovic of Serbia in action against Federico Delbonis of Argentina during their men’s singles match at the Miami Open tennis tournament in Miami, Florida, USA, 24 March 2019. EPA-EFE/JASON SZENES

 

 

By Ricky Dimon

 

It will be another terrific Tuesday at the Miami Open. Every year the seventh day of the tournament features every single men’s fourth-round match plus two women’s quarterfinals. Among those in action on the men’s side are Novak Djokovic, Nick Kyrgios, Borna Coric, and defending champion John Isner.

 

Ricky previews three of the matches and makes his predictions:

 

(1) Novak Djokovic vs. (22) Roberto Bautista Agut

Djokovic and Bautista Agut will be colliding for the 10th time in their careers. The head-to-head series stands at 7-2 in favor of Djokovic, who won their first five meetings but has since lost two of their last four. They most recently squared off earlier this year in Doha, where Bautista Agut pulled off a 3-6, 7-6(6), 6-4 upet on his eventual way to the title. In their last five contests, Djokovic has prevailed in straight sets just once.

The world No. 1 lost immediately in Indian Wells to Philipp Kohlschreiber and endured a third-round scare on Miami on Sunday, holding off Federico Delbonis 7-5, 4-6, 6-1. Bautista Agut has played sparingly since compiling a combined 9-1 record in Doha and Melbourne, but he appears to be back in business this fortnight with straight-set victories over Janko Tipsarevic and Fabio Fognini. The Spaniard should once again be competitive, but he is not at his peak like he was in January and it will obviously require his absolute best in order to knock off Djokovic.

Pick: Djokovic in 3

 

(11) Borna Coric vs. (27) Nick Kyrgios

Nick Kyrgios of Australia in action against Dusan Lajovic of Serbia during their match at the Miami Open tennis tournament in Miami, Florida, USA, 24 March 2019. EPA-EFE/RHONA WISE

Nick Kyrgios of Australia in action against Dusan Lajovic of Serbia during their match at the Miami Open tennis tournament in Miami, Florida, USA, 24 March 2019. EPA-EFE/RHONA WISE

Coric and Kyrgios will be facing each other for the fourth time in their careers. Kyrgios leads the head-to-head series 2-1 after prevailing 7-6(1), 0-6, 6-3 last summer in Cincinnati. That was a wild one in which the Aussie tanked the second set, and he is obviously no stranger to those kinds of bizarre matches. In fact, he just played one on Sunday night. Kyrgios clobbered Dusan Lajovic by a routine 6-3, 6-1 scoreline, but the 57 minutes were complete with underhand serves, no-look shots, and a fan getting ejected.

Coric, on the other hand, is a no-nonsense performer who was an alternate for the Nitto ATP Finals last season. The 13th-ranked Croat has struggled to build on such success so far in 2019, with a 3-4 record in his seven most recent matches prior to this fortnight. But he is through to the fourth round thanks to three-set victories over Roberto Carballes Baena and Jeremy Chardy. Based on current form and Kyrgios’ impressive success in Miami (12-3 lifetime record with two semifinal trips), this could be another quick one for last month’s Acapulco champion.

Pick: Kyrgios in 2

 

(19) Kyle Edmund vs. (7) John Isner

John Isner of the US in action against Albert Ramos Vinolas of Spain during their men's singles match at the Miami Open tennis tournament in Miami, Florida, USA, 24 March 2019. EPA-EFE/JASON SZENES

John Isner of the US in action against Albert Ramos Vinolas of Spain during their men’s singles match at the Miami Open tennis tournament in Miami, Florida, USA, 24 March 2019. EPA-EFE/JASON SZENES

There are a few events where you simply never want to pick against Isner, and obviously all of them are in his stomping grounds of the United States. Atlanta is at the top of that list, Newport is also on there, and Miami is another one. The world No. 9 is 21-10 lifetime at this tournament and he is the defending champion, having captured the biggest title of his career in the 2018 Crandon Park finale. Isner’s defense if to a fine start, with straight-set wins over Lorenzo Sonego and Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

Next up for the 6’10” American on Tuesday is a third career meeting with Edmund. They faced each other twice in 2016, when Isner coasted 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 at the French Open before Edmund exacted revenge via a 6-4, 3-6, 6-2, 7-6(5) decision at the U.S. Open. Due in part to physical ailments, the 22nd-ranked Brit had not won a main-tour match this season prior to Indian Wells. But he reached the fourth round there (lost to Roger Federer) and so far in Miami has picked up wins over Ilya Ivashka and Milos Raonic. Current form suggest this will be a close one, but home-court advantage at one of his favorite tournaments gives a slight edge to Isner.

Pick: Isner in 3

 

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

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