Saturday, April 04, 2015

2015 MIAMI: Finals Are Serena vs Suarez Navarro and Djokovic-Murray XXVI

The tournament in Miami (it's really in Key Biscayne) has been a staple on the men's and women's yours for decades. This year it's called the Miami Open and despite the absence of Roger Federer and the early exit of Maria Sharapova there is still a lot of interest (and ranking points) at stake in who takes the title, which is down to just four people. The defending champions are Serena Williams (d. Li Na) and Novak Djokovic (d. Rafael Nadal).

This year Serena is in the final again, going for her record 8th title here, which she considers her hometown tournament. She has already reached a career landmark of 700 tour wins and would join the very short list of women who have won a WTA title 8 times (Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert and Steffi Graf). Facing her in the final is the talented Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro, who is 0-4 head-to-head against Serena and has only won one (clay court) title. She beat Serena's sister in the quarterfinals and although she is entering the Top 10 on Monday, if she won she would become the first player not previously ranked World #1 to beat both Williams sisters and then win the tournament. Serena is also on a 20-match winning streak and showed her fitness in a tough 3-set win against World #3 (and 2015 Indian Wells championSimona Halep on Thursday (the same person whom she did not take the court against two weeks ago in the semifinals of Indiana Wells). Suarez Navarro would have to pull off one of the most stunning upsets of the year to beat Serena today. MadProfessah prediction: Serena (in 2 sets).

On the men's side,  Djokovic is going for the difficult Indian Wells-Miami double, which he has done before (in 2011 and 2014). If he wins again he would become the first player in history to accomplish this feat three times. Djokovic is playing Andy Murray, in their 26th career meeting which has been dominated by the Serbian 17-8, including their last six meetings. Murray can beat Djokovic, and has done so in the biggest matches of his life (2013 Wimbledon final and 2012 U.S. Open final). Murray considers the court his homeecourt because he spends a lot of his time training here in Crandon Park so he should be confident that this is  where he can turn around his current setbacks against Djokovic. That being said, Murray is getting married to his longtime fiancee next week and his mental focus may not at its peak. MadProfessah's prediction: Djokovic (in 3 sets).

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