Miami 2010 Men’s Final Preview

Creative Commons Licensephoto credit:Warren County CVB

At the 2010 Miami Open the men’s singles semi finals have now been completed and have set up an intriguing final at 1pm (Miami time), on Sunday April 4. The semi finals turned out to be another upset defeat and a hard fought 3 set match between 2 former World No.1’s.

The 1st semi final between the No.6 seed Andy Roddick and No.4 seed Rafael Nadal was hard fought, with the 27 year old Roddick breaking a run of 3 wins in a row by Nadal against the American. The 1.88m former World No.1 lost the 1st set 6-4 and was being out played by Nadal in their baseline exchanges. At 4-3 in the 2nd set Roddick changed his strategy and went on the attack. Roddick who is pictured above, took the next 2 sets 6-3 6-3 to triumph in 2 hours and 6 minutes.

Roddick took up the game plan that we outlined here in our semi final preview (click here -> Miami Semi Finals). Afterwards Roddick said, “Anytime we got neutral [in the point] he was pushing me around. I knew I had to be more aggressive. My heavy forehand doesn’t work against him, so I had to hit it flatter. I took a lot of risk there in the last two sets. That’s what I have to do. My comfort zone of moving the ball around and maybe chipping it around a little bit doesn’t work against Rafa.”

Roddick has now reached two consecutive Masters 1000 finals and has won 4 of Masters 1000 these titles thus far in his career, the last being at the Cincinnati Open in 2006. If the former US Open champion can win the battle of the big servers then he will join Boris Becker, Jim Courier, Novak Djokovic, Gustavo Kuerten, Marcelo Rios and Marat Safin who have all won 5 Masters 1000 titles. Roddick also leads the ATP Tour for the most main draw matches won in 2010 and will be playing his 4th final this year.

The 2nd semi final was played in the night session between the No.16 seed Tomas Berdych and No.5 seed Robin Soderling. The 24 year old Czech improved to 4-5 against Soderling and snapped the Swede’s 3 match winning streak against him, in a very impressive display by snuffing out one of the hottest players on the ATP Tour.

Soderling had defeated Berdych very convincingly in their past 2 encounters and after his 6-2 6-2 win Berdych said, “Yeah, I mean, it was I would say pretty simple. Both of those matches he was playing really aggressive, and I was just, you know, waiting for some mistakes or something and give him too much time to just do on the court whatever he wants. So this time I just need to play more aggressive. You know, step a little bit more into the court, try to play faster and a little longer shots against him, and just not give him too much time. Then all the errors can come. That’s what happened today.”

According to the level of play the 1.96m Berdych has consistently displayed in Miami, you would have to favour him to break another 3 match winning streak in the final, as Roddick has won their last 3 encounters.

On past results the 2004 Miami champion has Berdych’s number, including beating him twice this year already. Both matches had very close score lines. Berdych is due for a win against Roddick and must be at the peak of his confidence. Berdych has defeated 3 top seeds in a row: (1) Roger Federer, (10) Fernando Verdasco and (5) Soderling and would be a truly deserving champion in Miami.

Berdych knows what it is like to win an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final and goes into his 2nd such final with a perfect record. The lower ranked player will more likely be relaxed and free flowing with his game because the pressure will be on Roddick, the home town favourite. Roddick is building a record of losing in finals so will have a tougher task in managing the escalating pressure to win a big final.

Berdych feels he is a great chance to win the final. On playing Roddick he said, “The game against Andy is always really close. Big serving guy playing really solid from the baseline. The matches what we played in the past few months I would say was really close ones, especially the one in San Jose. I just lost two points in each set and I lost two tie-breaks.”

When Roddick was asked about whom he preferred to play in the final he said, “A lot of similarities. A lot of similarities. I don’t know that I have much of a preference. With both guys you’re gonna get guys who hit very hard and very flat, you know, aren’t interested in rallying too much. A lot of times they’ll take it out of your hands a little bit. Both have been playing great. We’ll be able to start preparing a little bit already mentally for what kind of match.”

The keys to this match will be: who serves better under pressure and is able to save the break points that they face, who can perform in the tie-break/s and who can do more damage with their return of serve when their opponent misses their 1st serve. In what looks like it will be an especially close match, the OCA prediction is Berdych in 3 sets.

Stay tuned to this tennis website for further information at the 2010 Sony Ericsson Open in Miami for both the men and women’s events. Click this link for more details -> Miami 2010: March 22-April 4.

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