Saturday, March 31, 2018

2018 MIAMI OPEN: Ostapenko-Stephens and Zverev-Isner Finals Predictions

The second big (non-major) event of the year is coming to and end: the Miami open. Last year Roger Federer and Johanna Konta won the tournaments. This year we will have new champions as both of these players lost relatively early, Federer to a resurgent Thanasi Kokkinakis and Konta fell to Venus Williams.

This year the women's final is between two reigning major champions : 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko and 2017 US Open champ Sloane Stephens, in their first ever meeting on tour. Stephens s playing her best tennis since winning her first major title and will reach the Top 10 for the first time after beating 3-time Miami Open champion Victoria Azarenka in the semifinals. Ostapenko has backed up her shock win of her first major at the age of 20 with play that has kept her in the Top 10 even if she doesn't defend her title in Paris. Stephens has shown that her defense can outlast big hitters and she's not afraid of going for the lines herself when it matters.

MadProfessah's prediction: Stephens.

On the men's side, Juan Martin del Potro has been by far the hottest player on the ATP tour. He beat defending champion Roger Federer in the Indian Wells final (in a 3rd set tiebreak after saving 3 match points!) and there was talk that he might achieve a rare "Sunshine Double" by winning Miami. But, amazingly, his 15-match winning streak was stopped by none other than John Isner. Isner basically beat del Potro by serving incredibly (which is typical) but he also was aggressive from the back of the court. Isner beat 2018 Australian Open finalist Marin Cilic a few rounds before as well as 2018 Australian Open semifinalist Hyeong Chung on his way to the final. Sascha Zverev finally got past his Next Gen peers Borna Coric in the quarterfinals, Nick Kyrgios in R16 and Daniil Medvedev in the 2nd round. But what probably sparked this good run was his ability to surve a grinding tussle with David Ferrer in the 3rd round. Zverev has already won 2(!) ATP Master and is not yet 21 (in contrast Del Potro won his first ATP Masters shield in Indian Wells this year). Isner has actually done quite well in the Masters, having reached 4 finals at 4 different events. I think this is a very close match (last year the two played in Miami and Zverev won 2 of 3 tie-break sets) and generally in a pick 'em situation I go with the better athlete/mover, which in this case is the 6-foot-6 20-year-old ad not the 6-foot-9 30-year-old.

MadProfessah's prediction: Zverev.

No comments:


Blog Widget by LinkWithin