The Miami draw has been released. Fernando Gonzalez “aka GONZO,” who will be retiring after Miami, helped out at the draw ceremony. Gonzo plays Frenchman Mahut in his R1 match — the winner of that R1 encounter plays Berdy in R2.
This is the last time Gonzo will stand in front of a draw sheet like this. Mucho Kleenex will be needed for his final tournament.
Adidas threw a farewell party for Gonzo, who has won gold/silver/bronze medals at the Olympics for Chile and was a former AO finalist in ’07 — DelPo, Gael and Novak were in attendance at the party. It will be sad to see the charismatic and tempestuous Gonzo retire from tennis. Hopefully, there will be coverage for his last professional match(es) in Miami (TV coverage does not start until March 24).
As for DelPo, his likely opponents in Miami will be:
- Winner of Kubot vs. Karlovic in R2 (Karlovic’s H2H against Kubot is 0-3)
- Marin Cilic in R3 (a potential Davis Cup preview)
- David Ferrer in R4
- Djokovic in QF
- Federer in SF
I’ve simply listed DelPo’s likely opponents, according to their current form and ranking. He’s defending R4 points from last year (when he lost to Fish, after defeating Soderling). DelPo’s best showing in Miami was a SF in 2009, when he lost to Muzz in 3 sets after defeating Tipsy, Ferru and Nadal. Miami in 2009 was DelPo’s first breakthrough run against the top players that year. This year, Karlovic looks like he could be a potentially troublesome (very troublesome) opponent.
This year, the prevailing hope is that DelPo stays healthy and that the shoulder that bothered him at IW does not escalate into a serious issue. After running into Fed four times this year, DelPo is now in Novak’s quarter of the draw. What he will make of this occurrence is an open question — Novak does provide more rhythm for DelPo, which benefits DelPo’s style of tennis, although Novak’s SF loss in IW could mean a resurgence in the no. 1’s form. DelPo would have to navigate a tricky draw to reach the QF, but it’s reasonable to expect him to put in a major effort on the HCs before the clay season begins.
- Also, ARG’s DC Captain Martin Jaite announced his team for the QF tie against Croatia. As expected, it will be DelPo, Nalby, Pico, Schwank and Chela. At this point, Schwank will be used exclusively for doubles, while the rest of the singles slots are unknown.
- DelPo confirmed he will be returning to Queen’s in June, to warm-up for Wimbledon. I like this video clip where he talks about wanting to win a title on grass this year. After his title in Marseilles, grass is the only surface where DelPo has not won a title.
In other draw-related news, here are other potential early-round matches to watch:
- Nalby faces Steve Darcis in R1. If he gets past Darcis, he faces a R2 with Tipsy (whom he defeated in 3 sets at IW). An exciting match could be in the making, as Nalby could play Dolgo in R3 (provided they win their requisite earlier matches). Also, news alert: Dolgo has cornrows!! (what-were-you-thinking-Dolgo?!)
- Another potential match-up could be Gasquet vs. Feli in R3. I’d personally like to see this one happen, for the sight of the BHs and BH slices.
- Fed could play the American teenager Ryan Harrison in R2. Provided he gets through that match, a R3 against Roddick may be in waiting.