Category Archives: Miami

2012 Miami Projections: Semifinals

It’s three of the big four … and Juan Monaco.  Pico has always been better on hard courts than he gets credit for, but after knocking out the former and current American #1s in successive rounds, he finds himself a little out of his depth.

Here are the odds for today’s semifinal matches:

Player                 F      W  
(1)Novak Djokovic  84.9%  50.5%  
(21)Juan Monaco    15.1%   3.2%  
(4)Andy Murray     49.3%  22.7%  
(2)Rafael Nadal    50.7%  23.6%

Also, here are my probabilities for every possible final matchup.  The number in each row is the percentage chance that the player on the left beats the player on the right.  In other words, the top row says: “If Djokovic faces Murray, he has a 59.9% chance of winning.”

Player             Opponent            P(W)  
(1)Novak Djokovic  (4)Andy Murray     59.9%  
(1)Novak Djokovic  (2)Rafael Nadal    59.3%  
                                             
(21)Juan Monaco    (4)Andy Murray     21.2%  
(21)Juan Monaco    (2)Rafael Nadal    20.8%  
                                             
(4)Andy Murray     (1)Novak Djokovic  40.1%  
(4)Andy Murray     (21)Juan Monaco    78.8%  
                                             
(2)Rafael Nadal    (1)Novak Djokovic  40.7%  
(2)Rafael Nadal    (21)Juan Monaco    79.2%

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2012 Miami Projections: Quarterfinals

For the second week in a row, Novak Djokovic gets the easy half, as someone cleared out his potential semifinal opponent.  In the other half, Andy Murray gets the easy quarter while Nadal has to get past Tsonga.  Here are my projections for these four matches and beyond:

Player                    SF      F      W  
(1)Novak Djokovic      76.5%  60.8%  38.5%  
(5)David Ferrer        23.5%  12.9%   4.5%  
(21)Juan Monaco        37.0%   7.5%   1.8%  
(8)Mardy Fish          63.0%  18.8%   6.6%  
                                            
(9)Janko Tipsarevic    27.1%   8.3%   2.5%  
(4)Andy Murray         72.9%  39.3%  20.4%  
(6)Jo-Wilfried Tsonga  38.7%  17.7%   7.4%  
(2)Rafael Nadal        61.3%  34.7%  18.3% 

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2012 Miami Projections: Fourth Round

Men’s tennis may be predictable these days, but it’s not that predictable.  Andy Roddick beat Roger Federer last night, handing Federer his first loss in a best-of-three since August, sending home the hottest player in the game.  (It’s also Fed’s first lost to anyone outside of the top 20 in almost two years. The last one was his 2010 loss to Lleyton Hewitt in Halle.) Federer’s exit makes life easier for Novak Djokovic, who would’ve faced Fed in the semis, and does an even bigger favor for Mardy Fish, who would’ve played Roger in the quarters.

11 of the top 16 seeds are still alive, but things have definitely gotten more interesting.

Player                        QF     SF      F      W  
(1)Novak Djokovic          80.5%  56.5%  45.4%  30.0%  
(17)Richard Gasquet        19.5%   7.2%   3.6%   1.2%  
(11)Juan Martin Del Potro  62.6%  25.2%  17.1%   8.7%  
(5)David Ferrer            37.4%  11.1%   6.2%   2.4%  

(31)Andy Roddick           55.6%  25.6%   6.8%   2.2%  
(21)Juan Monaco            44.4%  18.0%   4.0%   1.1%  
(12)Nicolas Almagro        41.0%  21.0%   5.4%   1.6%  
(8)Mardy Fish              59.0%  35.5%  11.5%   4.5%  

Player                        QF     SF      F      W  
Grigor Dimitrov            35.3%   7.7%   1.8%   0.4%  
(9)Janko Tipsarevic        64.7%  21.5%   7.4%   2.5%  
(13)Gilles Simon           27.0%  14.9%   5.2%   1.7%  
(4)Andy Murray             73.0%  55.9%  32.5%  17.9%  

(6)Jo-Wilfried Tsonga      65.4%  29.2%  14.9%   6.7%  
(19)Florian Mayer          34.6%  10.5%   3.8%   1.2%  
(16)Kei Nishikori          31.4%  14.9%   6.5%   2.5%  
(2)Rafael Nadal            68.6%  45.4%  27.9%  15.5%

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2012 Miami Projections: 3rd Round

The 2nd round went almost precisely according to script, leaving us with some high-profile matchups for a mere third round.  The closest third-rounders on paper (my paper, anyway) are Almagro/Verdasco and Tipsarevic/Dolgopolov.  While Federer and (particularly) Murray have big-serving challenges this round, Djokovic and Nadal are set to coast.  The only question is: How many games will Novak allow Troicki to win this time?

Player                       R16     QF     SF        W  
(1)Novak Djokovic          85.0%  70.8%  52.1%    25.2%  
(27)Viktor Troicki         15.0%   7.3%   2.5%     0.2%  
(17)Richard Gasquet        79.2%  20.0%   8.4%     1.1%  
Albert Ramos               20.8%   1.9%   0.3%     0.0%  
(11)Juan Martin Del Potro  67.7%  45.2%  20.0%     6.0%  
(23)Marin Cilic            32.3%  15.9%   4.7%     0.6%  
(30)Julien Benneteau       36.1%  11.0%   2.6%     0.2%  
(5)David Ferrer            63.9%  27.9%   9.4%     1.6%  

Player                       R16     QF     SF        W  
(3)Roger Federer           75.0%  52.3%  38.6%    12.3%  
(31)Andy Roddick           25.0%  11.1%   5.4%     0.5%  
(21)Juan Monaco            33.2%   9.0%   3.9%     0.3%  
(14)Gael Monfils           66.8%  27.7%  16.8%     2.9%  
(12)Nicolas Almagro        50.8%  23.0%   7.5%     0.7%  
(20)Fernando Verdasco      49.2%  21.8%   7.0%     0.6%  
(28)Kevin Anderson         38.7%  18.7%   5.8%     0.5%  
(8)Mardy Fish              61.3%  36.5%  15.0%     2.2%  

Player                       R16     QF     SF        W  
(7)Tomas Berdych           74.7%  47.0%  23.3%     4.7%  
Grigor Dimitrov            25.3%   9.0%   2.2%     0.1%  
(18)Alexandr Dolgopolov    48.8%  21.1%   7.8%     0.8%  
(9)Janko Tipsarevic        51.2%  23.0%   8.7%     1.0%  
(13)Gilles Simon           57.8%  19.2%   8.8%     1.0%  
(22)Jurgen Melzer          42.2%  11.3%   4.3%     0.3%  
(26)Milos Raonic           27.1%  14.5%   6.8%     0.8%  
(4)Andy Murray             72.9%  54.9%  38.1%    12.1%  

Player                       R16     QF     SF        W  
(6)Jo-Wilfried Tsonga      68.1%  40.5%  19.5%     4.4%  
(32)Philipp Kohlschreiber  31.9%  13.1%   4.2%     0.4%  
(19)Florian Mayer          39.8%  16.2%   5.5%     0.6%  
(10)John Isner             60.2%  30.2%  13.0%     2.4%  
(16)Kei Nishikori          77.3%  29.0%  14.1%     2.3%  
Lukas Rosol                22.7%   3.9%   0.9%     0.0%  
(25)Radek Stepanek         16.0%   5.7%   1.6%     0.1%  
(2)Rafael Nadal            84.0%  61.5%  41.2%    13.9%

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Seeds Firmly Planted

Unless seeds withdraw at the last minute, every 2nd round match at Indian Wells and Miami is between a seed and a non-seed.  While byes are by no means limited to these two events, Indian Wells and Miami are the only ones that offer us 32 matches pittting a seeded favorite against an unseeded underdog.

Of course, for a variety of reasons, from surface to health to lucky bounces, the favorites don’t always win.  But over the last two days at Crandon Park, it has felt like they do.  All 32 seeds showed up ready to play, and 29 of them advanced to the third round.  Only Juan Ignacio Chela, Feliciano Lopez, and Marcel Granollers lost.

Cue the chorus: That’s got to be some kind of record, right?

Indeed it is, at least back to 1991, which is the current extent of my database.  Miami has had the 96-player draw with 32 seeds (and 32 byes) back to 1986, while Indian Wells got into the act in 2004.  That gives us 30 past tournaments in my database, including last week’s event at Indian Wells, for the 2012 Miami Masters to measure up against.

On average, seeds win approximately two-thirds of their 2nd-round matches in these 96-player draws.  (At tour-level events in general, seeds win 70% of their matches against unseeded players.)  In a typical event, then, 21 or 22 seeds advance to the third round.  As it turns out, that’s what happened last week at Indian Wells–21 wins, 10 losses, one withdrawal.

This week’s 29 seeded winners doesn’t just set a new record–it blows away the old mark.  Three years ago, 25 seeds advanced to the third round in Miami.  In 2008, the same number advanced in Indian Wells, and that’s the best the seeds have ever done.  Five other times (including last year at Indian Wells), 24 seeds advanced.  At the other extreme, the 1997 Miami event was a bloodbath, with only half of the seeds advancing.

It’s remarkable enough that this many seeds won for the first time in 31 tournaments.  But the odds are far lower than that.  Using my projections for the second round–which, of course, aren’t perfect, and may slightly underestimate the odds of the top few players advancing–there was only a 0.37% chance that 29 or more seeds would win their first matches.  That’s roughly 1 in 270.

So, if you were watching yesterday, you were witnessing history.  Rather boring history, but a rare event nonetheless.

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2012 Miami Projections: 2nd Round

Every 2nd-rounder in Miami is between a seed and a non-seed, so we’re on full-time upset watch for the next two days.  (Barring withdrawals, anyway.)  There are plenty to keep an eye out for:

  • Guillermo Garcia-Lopez vs Viktor Troicki.  Troicki has never been a very convincing seed, and GGL is coming off of a big win over Andy Murray at Indian Wells.  Qualifiers don’t come any tougher than the Spainard.
  • Bernard Tomic vs David Ferrer.  The surface is on Tomic’s side; everything else tilts to Ferrer.  But my algorithm like’s the Aussie’s chances, setting the match awfully close to equal.
  • Nicolas Almagro vs David Goffin. 62/38 usually doesn’t qualify as an upset-in-the-making.  This one’s closer than I would’ve expected, thanks to Almagro’s inconsistency on hardcourts.  Goffin doesn’t have much in the way of weapons, but that didn’t stop him from taking out Donald Young yesterday.
  • Kevin Anderson vs Sam Querrey.  Almost dead-even.  As if you didn’t already one this one would be decided in two or three tiebreaks.
  • David Nalbandian vs Janko Tipsarevic. In case you ever need an example of when ATP rankings aren’t enough.  My algorithm gives Nalbandian the slight edge; I have to imagine that any fan would give the Argentine a bigger one.
  • Nikolay Davydenko vs John Isner.  I have this one set at 69/31 in Isner’s favor, but Davydenko does have the sort of game that gives the big man trouble.

Here’s the full table:

Player                       R32    R16     QF        W  
(1)Novak Djokovic          79.9%  68.5%  57.5%    21.5%  
Marcos Baghdatis           20.1%  12.1%   7.0%     0.5%  
(q)Guillermo Garcia Lopez  46.0%   8.3%   3.8%     0.1%  
(27)Viktor Troicki         54.0%  11.0%   5.4%     0.2%  
(17)Richard Gasquet        65.6%  40.8%  12.6%     0.9%  
Cedrik-Marcel Stebe        34.4%  16.3%   3.3%     0.1%  
Albert Ramos               25.6%   6.5%   0.8%     0.0%  
(15)Feliciano Lopez        74.4%  36.4%   9.5%     0.4%  

Player                       R32    R16     QF        W  
(11)Juan Martin Del Potro  77.9%  56.3%  38.7%     6.0%  
Ivo Karlovic               22.1%   9.8%   3.8%     0.1%  
Igor Kunitsyn              22.3%   3.7%   0.9%     0.0%  
(23)Marin Cilic            77.7%  30.3%  15.6%     0.8%  
(30)Julien Benneteau       63.0%  24.0%   8.3%     0.2%  
Benjamin Becker            37.0%   9.8%   2.5%     0.0%  
Bernard Tomic              45.7%  29.3%  12.7%     0.7%  
(5)David Ferrer            54.3%  36.9%  17.6%     1.3%  

Player                       R32    R16     QF        W  
(3)Roger Federer           81.7%  64.4%  46.7%    12.2%  
(WC)Ryan Harrison          18.3%   8.4%   3.2%     0.1%  
Gilles Muller              30.2%   5.3%   1.6%     0.0%  
(31)Andy Roddick           69.8%  21.9%  10.5%     0.6%  
(21)Juan Monaco            65.0%  26.0%   8.0%     0.3%  
Yen-Hsun Lu                35.0%   9.4%   1.9%     0.0%  
(q)Sergei Bubka            18.9%   7.0%   1.4%     0.0%  
(14)Gael Monfils           81.1%  57.6%  26.6%     3.2%  

Player                       R32    R16     QF        W  
(12)Nicolas Almagro        62.1%  35.3%  17.3%     0.7%  
(q)David Goffin            37.9%  17.3%   6.3%     0.1%  
(q)Bjorn Phau              24.9%   7.1%   1.8%     0.0%  
(20)Fernando Verdasco      75.1%  40.2%  19.1%     0.7%  
(28)Kevin Anderson         51.3%  23.3%  12.1%     0.4%  
Sam Querrey                48.7%  21.6%  11.0%     0.3%  
(q)Frank Dancevic          23.9%   8.1%   2.9%     0.0%  
(8)Mardy Fish              76.1%  47.1%  29.5%     2.1%  

Player                       R32    R16     QF        W  
(7)Tomas Berdych           81.5%  63.9%  40.1%     4.6%  
Nicolas Mahut              18.5%   8.8%   2.5%     0.0%  
Grigor Dimitrov            74.3%  23.6%   8.6%     0.1%  
(29)Juan Ignacio Chela     25.7%   3.7%   0.6%     0.0%  
(18)Alexandr Dolgopolov    83.4%  40.1%  19.0%     1.0%  
(q)Antonio Veic            16.6%   2.5%   0.4%     0.0%  
David Nalbandian           51.3%  29.6%  15.0%     0.9%  
(9)Janko Tipsarevic        48.7%  27.8%  13.7%     0.7%  

Player                       R32    R16     QF        W  
(13)Gilles Simon           73.8%  45.2%  16.6%     1.1%  
(q)Roberto Bautista Agut   26.2%   9.5%   1.8%     0.0%  
Robin Haase                40.9%  16.4%   3.7%     0.1%  
(22)Jurgen Melzer          59.1%  28.9%   8.8%     0.3%  
(26)Milos Raonic           79.5%  26.2%  15.1%     0.9%  
(q)Arnaud Clement          20.5%   2.7%   0.7%     0.0%  
Alejandro Falla            14.1%   5.2%   2.0%     0.0%  
(4)Andy Murray             85.9%  65.9%  51.4%    12.6%  

Player                       R32    R16     QF        W  
(6)Jo-Wilfried Tsonga      79.2%  57.5%  36.3%     4.6%  
Xavier Malisse             20.8%   8.8%   2.7%     0.0%  
Frederico Gil              22.4%   3.7%   0.7%     0.0%  
(32)Philipp Kohlschreiber  77.6%  30.1%  13.6%     0.5%  
(19)Florian Mayer          58.7%  26.8%  12.0%     0.6%  
Ivan Dodig                 41.3%  15.7%   5.8%     0.1%  
Nikolay Davydenko          31.4%  14.0%   5.1%     0.1%  
(10)John Isner             68.6%  43.5%  23.7%     2.2%  

Player                       R32    R16     QF        W  
(16)Kei Nishikori          67.7%  44.1%  18.9%     1.7%  
Lukas Lacko                32.3%  15.3%   4.3%     0.1%  
Lukas Rosol                30.8%   8.6%   1.8%     0.0%  
(24)Marcel Granollers      69.2%  32.0%  11.0%     0.5%  
(25)Radek Stepanek         81.6%  17.4%   6.4%     0.1%  
Tommy Haas                 18.4%   1.1%   0.1%     0.0%  
Santiago Giraldo           17.9%  10.6%   4.4%     0.1%  
(2)Rafael Nadal            82.2%  70.9%  53.1%    13.2%

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2012 Miami Masters Projections

This week, the semifinals are swapped: If Federer is to continue his streak, he’ll need to go through Djokovic just to reach the final.  The most dangerous lower-ranked players seem to be well distributed throughout the draw: Del Potro would face Djokovic in the quarters; Roddick could hit Federer in the third; Raonic could face Murray in the third, and Isner is lurking in Nadal’s quarter.

If Fernando Gonzalez wants to make a run in his final tournament, he’ll have to go through Tomas Berdych in the second round–not exactly the easiest ask, even at the South American slam.

Here are the complete projections for the draw as it stands now, without qualifiers placed:

Player                        R64    R32    R16        W  
(1)Novak Djokovic          100.0%  82.4%  71.6%    22.5%  
Leonardo Mayer              17.5%   0.9%   0.2%     0.0%  
Marcos Baghdatis            82.5%  16.8%  10.6%     0.4%  
Qualifier1                  49.9%  16.7%   2.0%     0.0%  
Qualifier2                  50.1%  16.5%   1.9%     0.0%  
(27)Viktor Troicki         100.0%  66.8%  13.7%     0.3%  
                                                          
Player                        R64    R32    R16        W  
(17)Richard Gasquet        100.0%  67.7%  42.0%     0.9%  
Cedrik-Marcel Stebe         55.5%  19.2%   9.0%     0.1%  
Flavio Cipolla              44.5%  13.1%   5.5%     0.0%  
Albert Ramos-Vinolas        42.0%  10.7%   2.7%     0.0%  
Qualifier3                  58.0%  18.6%   5.9%     0.0%  
(15)Feliciano Lopez        100.0%  70.6%  34.9%     0.4%  
                                                          
Player                        R64    R32    R16        W  
(11)Juan Martin Del Potro  100.0%  79.0%  57.1%     6.0%  
Lukasz Kubot                45.8%   9.0%   3.7%     0.0%  
Ivo Karlovic                54.2%  12.0%   5.2%     0.0%  
Igor Kunitsyn               42.4%   9.1%   1.6%     0.0%  
(WC)Jesse Levine            57.6%  16.0%   3.3%     0.0%  
(23)Marin Cilic            100.0%  74.9%  29.1%     0.7%  
                                                          
Player                        R64    R32    R16        W  
(30)Julien Benneteau       100.0%  61.7%  24.6%     0.2%  
Benjamin Becker             47.4%  17.5%   5.1%     0.0%  
Olivier Rochus              52.6%  20.8%   6.1%     0.0%  
Sergiy Stakhovsky           34.2%  10.4%   4.9%     0.0%  
Bernard Tomic               65.8%  30.0%  19.0%     0.5%  
(5)David Ferrer            100.0%  59.6%  40.4%     1.4%  
                                                          
Player                        R64    R32    R16        W  
(3)Roger Federer           100.0%  84.8%  66.5%    12.4%  
(WC)Ryan Harrison           77.5%  13.9%   6.5%     0.1%  
Potito Starace              22.5%   1.4%   0.3%     0.0%  
Alex Bogomolov              54.9%  18.9%   3.7%     0.0%  
Gilles Muller               45.1%  13.6%   2.3%     0.0%  
(31)Andy Roddick           100.0%  67.5%  20.6%     0.6%  
                                                          
Player                        R64    R32    R16        W  
(21)Juan Monaco            100.0%  61.3%  23.9%     0.3%  
Yen-Hsun Lu                 43.1%  15.1%   3.9%     0.0%  
Jarkko Nieminen             56.9%  23.6%   7.5%     0.0%  
Qualifier4                  31.8%   6.2%   2.3%     0.0%  
Ernests Gulbis              68.2%  23.7%  13.1%     0.2%  
(14)Gael Monfils           100.0%  70.1%  49.3%     2.6%  
                                                          
Player                        R64    R32    R16        W  
(12)Nicolas Almagro        100.0%  64.3%  36.5%     0.7%  
Qualifier5                  38.3%  11.1%   4.1%     0.0%  
Donald Young                61.7%  24.6%  11.6%     0.1%  
Qualifier6                  66.9%  20.1%   6.7%     0.0%  
Carlos Berlocq              33.1%   5.8%   1.2%     0.0%  
(20)Fernando Verdasco      100.0%  74.1%  40.0%     0.7%  
                                                          
Player                        R64    R32    R16        W  
(28)Kevin Anderson         100.0%  54.9%  24.6%     0.4%  
Sam Querrey                 59.2%  28.9%  12.5%     0.2%  
Matthew Ebden               40.8%  16.3%   5.8%     0.0%  
Qualifier7                  37.2%   8.2%   2.7%     0.0%  
Jeremy Chardy               62.8%  20.6%   9.3%     0.1%  
(8)Mardy Fish              100.0%  71.2%  45.1%     2.0%  
                                                          
Player                        R64    R32    R16        W  
(7)Tomas Berdych           100.0%  83.6%  65.0%     5.0%  
Nicolas Mahut               85.8%  15.9%   7.3%     0.0%  
(WC)Fernando Gonzalez       14.2%   0.5%   0.1%     0.0%  
Grigor Dimitrov             47.7%  35.6%  11.0%     0.1%  
Mikhail Kukushkin           52.3%  39.8%  13.2%     0.1%  
(29)Juan Ignacio Chela     100.0%  24.5%   3.4%     0.0%  
                                                          
Player                        R64    R32    R16        W  
(18)Alexandr Dolgopolov    100.0%  69.7%  35.0%     0.8%  
Qualifier8                  43.4%  11.8%   3.3%     0.0%  
(WC)Denis Kudla             56.6%  18.5%   6.2%     0.0%  
David Nalbandian            66.0%  34.0%  19.7%     0.6%  
Steve Darcis                34.0%  11.9%   4.9%     0.0%  
(9)Janko Tipsarevic        100.0%  54.1%  30.8%     0.8%  
                                                          
Player                        R64    R32    R16        W  
(13)Gilles Simon           100.0%  66.6%  41.5%     0.9%  
Qualifier9                  36.5%   9.4%   3.5%     0.0%  
Andreas Seppi               63.5%  24.0%  12.2%     0.1%  
Robin Haase                 58.0%  24.0%   9.3%     0.0%  
(WC)Marinko Matosevic       42.0%  14.0%   4.4%     0.0%  
(22)Jurgen Melzer          100.0%  62.0%  29.1%     0.3%  
                                                          
Player                        R64    R32    R16        W  
(26)Milos Raonic           100.0%  69.3%  23.2%     0.8%  
Dudi Sela                   59.0%  20.0%   4.3%     0.0%  
Qualifier10                 41.0%  10.7%   1.7%     0.0%  
Alejandro Falla             42.5%   6.0%   2.2%     0.0%  
Denis Istomin               57.5%  10.7%   4.6%     0.1%  
(4)Andy Murray             100.0%  83.3%  64.0%    12.0%  
                                                          
Player                        R64    R32    R16        W  
(6)Jo-Wilfried Tsonga      100.0%  80.8%  57.6%     4.5%  
Qualifier11                 43.8%   7.4%   2.5%     0.0%  
Xavier Malisse              56.2%  11.8%   4.8%     0.0%  
Thomaz Bellucci             70.8%  28.9%   9.0%     0.1%  
Frederico Gil               29.2%   6.5%   1.1%     0.0%  
(32)Philipp Kohlschreiber  100.0%  64.5%  24.9%     0.4%  
                                                          
Player                        R64    R32    R16        W  
(19)Florian Mayer          100.0%  60.2%  27.7%     0.6%  
Philipp Petzschner          45.4%  17.0%   5.9%     0.0%  
Ivan Dodig                  54.6%  22.7%   8.7%     0.1%  
Nikolay Davydenko           59.5%  18.7%   8.4%     0.1%  
James Blake                 40.5%   9.7%   3.5%     0.0%  
(10)John Isner             100.0%  71.6%  45.8%     2.2%  
                                                          
Player                        R64    R32    R16        W  
(16)Kei Nishikori          100.0%  70.2%  44.6%     1.7%  
Ryan Sweeting               42.7%  11.3%   4.4%     0.0%  
Lukas Lacko                 57.3%  18.5%   8.4%     0.1%  
Michael Llodra              63.8%  27.7%  11.2%     0.1%  
Lukas Rosol                 36.2%  11.0%   3.1%     0.0%  
(24)Marcel Granollers      100.0%  61.3%  28.3%     0.4%  
                                                          
Player                        R64    R32    R16        W  
(25)Radek Stepanek         100.0%  64.8%  13.3%     0.1%  
Qualifier12                 75.1%  30.6%   4.8%     0.0%  
Tommy Haas                  24.9%   4.6%   0.3%     0.0%  
Pablo Andujar               28.6%   2.3%   0.9%     0.0%  
Santiago Giraldo            71.4%  12.7%   7.4%     0.1%  
(2)Rafael Nadal            100.0%  84.9%  73.3%    14.0%

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Filed under Forecasting, Miami

Who Excels at the March Masters?

It’s not quite March Madness, but the March Masters tournaments of Indian Wells and Miami do constitute a unique part of the tennis season.  Though the conditions are different on opposite sides of the continent, it’s hot, and many players are contesting their first important matches since the Australian Open.

I queried my match database to come up with the best career performers at these two tournaments.  Setting aside a few players who have done well in just a couple of showings, here are the top twelve active players, by win percentage at Indian Wells and Miami.  (Incidentally, they are the only twelve with winning percentages over 60%.)

Player                  W   L  Titles   Win%  
Novak Djokovic         40   8       4  83.3%  
Rafael Nadal           57  13       2  81.4%  
Roger Federer          73  19       5  79.3%  
Andy Roddick           58  19       2  75.3%  
Juan Martin Del Potro  19   7       0  73.1%  
Andy Murray            25  11       1  69.4%  
Lleyton Hewitt         42  21       2  66.7%  
Ivan Ljubicic          37  20       1  64.9%  
Tomas Berdych          25  14       0  64.1%  
James Blake            37  21       0  63.8%  
Jo Wilfried Tsonga     13   8       0  61.9%  
Stanislas Wawrinka     14   9       0  60.9%

Del Potro is highest on the list among those without a title at either event.  Roddick’s place so high on the list serves as a reminder that this is his kind of territory–hard courts in the heat.  If he hadn’t played so poorly in his last two events, it would be tempting to pick him as an underdog this month.

If you’re interested in this sort of thing, I hope you’ve started playing around with Tennis Abstract.  One of the latest features to come online is the ability to make multiple selections from a single menu.  For instance, on Ivan Ljubicic’s page, select “Career” from the “Time Span” menu, then open up the “Events” menu on the left-hand side, then select both Indian Wells and Miami, which will show you the matches (and their stats) that add up to his 37-20 record at these tournaments.

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Filed under Indian Wells, Miami, Toy stats

Monday Topspin: Thriller

Djokovic undefeated: Novak Djokovic has yet to lose a match this season, and now holds two consecutive masters crowns.  In the process, he opened up some distance between himself and Roger Federer in the ATP rankings, and planted the seed in some people’s minds that he might be deserving of the #1 spot.  By just about any standard, he’s already the best player in the world on hard courts.

It wasn’t easy.  As in Indian Wells two weeks ago, Rafael Nadal came out in fine form, taking the first set after racing to a 5-1, double-break lead.  Djokovic narrowed the gap but was unable to make up the difference.  The Serbian won a hard-fought second set, then the two players settled in to trade service holds up to a tiebreak.  Djokovic got a couple of mini-breaks, including one on a Nadal double fault, and won the match 4-6 6-3 7-6(4).

What amazes me is how anybody beats either of these guys, particularly Nadal.  I know from the stats that he made his share of unforced errors (including several double faults), but I can’t remember very many of them.  What sticks in the mind is Rafa running down everything, turning defensive positions into offensive shots, over and over again.  Both players were near the top of their game yesterday, and Djokovic was able to rack up a just a few more winners.

The one baffling thing is Nadal’s reluctance to come to net.  (I know, I’m starting to sound like a TV announcer–I promise it’s just a coincidence that I’m making this sort of comment two days in a row.)  He was often standing right on the baseline, even hitting groundstrokes from a step inside the baseline.  Yet he almost never came forward unless forced.  Even with an imperfect net game, even against the passing-shot machine that is Djokovic, I think he would’ve been more successful taking advantage of some of those offensive positions.

Now, we have two streaks to watch going into the clay-court season.  Both players will be at the Monte Carlo Masters, where Djokovic will try to build on his 26-match winning streak.  Nadal has a 24-match winning streak on clay, including every match he played last year plus two Davis Cup rubbers in 2009.  One of them will have to fall by this time two weeks from now, and I suspect it will be Djokovic’s turn to play runner-up.

Rankings: The major storyline this week is the arrival of a new American #1.  Mardy Fish jumped four spots to #11 with his semifinal showing in Miami, while Andy Roddick fell to #14 by failing to defend his title.  That’s Roddick’s lowest ranking since Wimbledon, 2002, and it’s Fish’s career high.

Robin Soderling also failed to defend his 2010 points, and handed the #4 spot back to Andy Murray.

Other gainers this week are Gilles Simon (up 4 to #23), Kevin Anderson (up 7 to #33), Janko Tipsarevic (up 6 to #38), Juan Martin del Potro (up 6 to #45), and Olivier Rochus (up 13 to #73).

Four players hit important milestones with Challenger-level wins.  Andreas Haider-Maurer broke into the top 100 for the first time with a win at Caltanissetta and a semifinal showing at Barletta.  Facundo Bagnis and Maxime Teixeira won tournaments in Barranquilla and St. Brieuc, respectively, each reaching the top 200 for the first time in their young careers.  The most remarkable result belongs to Aljaz Bedene, a Slovenian who won in Barletta on a wild card.  Bedene ascends 206 ranking spots to #282, only 16 off his career high.

Houston qualifying: By the end of the day, the last four players will be entered into the draw at the U.S. Clay Court Championships.  The final four qualifying matches each have one American, with Alex Bogomolov, Donald Young, Tim Smyczek, and Rajeev Ram still in the running.  It won’t be easy for these guys to make the main draw, however, as Young must defeat Ivo Karlovic, and Ram needs to beat Paul Capdeville.

With less tennis to watch this week, I’m hoping to break out some clay-court rankings by next Monday, as well as a couple of other mini-studies I’m working on.  Stay tuned!

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Filed under Daily recaps, Miami, Rankings

Sunday Topspin: Another Showdown

Top two: At 1:00 PM today, Novak Djokovic will attempt to remain undefeated for the season, and Rafael Nadal will try to claim his first title of 2011.  Neither will prove to be an easy task.

The top two players in the world last met two weeks ago, in the final at Indian Wells, where Djokovic won after dropping the first set.  Today may be more favorable to Nadal, given the humid conditions in Miami and the confidence gained by a thorough drubbing of Roger Federer.

For all that, I have a hard time picking Nadal for the win.  Djokovic has been so dominant this week as to be boring.  A few bagels make news until they are so routine that you stop noticing.  The Serbian hasn’t been pushed beyond 6-4 in any set, and has dropped only 18 games in five matches.  Nadal has been impressive, as well, but the set he lost to Tomas Berdych in the quarterfinals remind us that he’s human.

The oddsmakers give Nadal a slender advantage, suggesting he has a 53% chance of winning.  I think Djokovic will triumph again–a short-lived victory, since their next meeting is likely to come on clay, where the percentages associated with Nadal will be much higher than 53%.

Challengers: In Barletta, the final will be contested today between Filippo Volandri and a surprise contender, Slovenian wild card Aljaz Bedene.  Bedene is currently ranked outside top 400, and has a career high in the 200s.  He is only 21, and appears to be coming back from an injury that kept him out of action for the entire second half of 2010.  It’s been a solid run to get him to the final, including victories over Albert Ramos and Alessio di Mauro, neither one an easy opponent on clay.

The final at St. Brieuc involves another up-and-comer, 22-year-old Frenchman Maxime Teixeira, who will face the younger, more heralded Benoit Paire.  Paire is hoping to inch a couple of spots closer to the top 100, while his opponent has more conservative goals.  A win for Paire would move him to #115, while Teixeira, who started last week at #267 and also reached the final in Marrakech, could climb as high as #189.

Finally, the Barranquilla challenger will be between two Argentines, Facundo Bagnis and Diego Junquiera.  Bagnis is yet another prospect, a 21-year-old who will break into the top 200 with his performance this week.  Bagnis shut down the persistent Flavio Cipolla in the semifinals, while Junquiera needed three sets (and two tiebreaks) to win his match with second-seeded Horacio Zeballos.

Clay already: Once the yellow fuzz is settled in Miami, our attention will turn to the clay-court season, with 250-level events in Casablanca and Houston.  The level of play will probably be higher in Casablanca, as more clay-courters will be there, but Houston is likely to host more intriguing matchups, for the very same reason.

The draws are already out; here are a few of the first-rounders in Texas:

  • James Blake vs Carlos Berlocq.  As we saw last week, Berlocq isn’t even an easy win on hard courts, and he’s had a ton of success lately in clay-court challengers.
  • Ryan Harrison vs Zeballos.  As I’ve said before, I’m not sure why Zeballos plays so much on clay; his game seems more versatile than that.  In any event, he wins a lot of matches against better clay-courters than Harrison.
  • Grigor Dimitrov vs Rainer Schuettler.  This probably isn’t a good draw for Dimitrov.  I suspect the Bulgarian could beat a lot of guys at this tournament, but Schuettler may be too consistent for him.

In a second-round qualifying match today, veterans Ivo Karlovic and Jose Acasuso will face off.  Also in action: top qualifying seed Alex Bogomolov will play Nicholas Massu.  Paul Capdeville is also in qualies, meaning that there could be a few dangerous guys coming out of qualifying, as well.

Bookmark it: A few days ago in the comments, Olivier called my attention to this site, which updates ATP rankings live.  Very impressive.  I’m already a frequent visitor.

See you tomorrow!

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Filed under Challengers, Daily recaps, Miami