Each day before play at the Miami Open, we’ll preview and predict three must-see matches.
The afternoon session in the main stadium kicks off with what, history says, should be a close one. Before Pliskova faced Lucic-Baroni in the Australian Open quarterfinals, many of us thought the Czech was a threat to win the event. But it wasn’t to be, as the 35-year-old Croat ended her run 6-4 in the third set. But that wasn’t the only time these two have gone down to the wire. Pliskova won in a third-set tiebreaker in Wuhan in 2015, and Lucic-Baroni won another three-setter the same year in Canada. In short, this is a battle of two tall power hitters that could come down to whether a forehand missile catches the line, or lands an inch beyond. After Melbourne, Pliskova should want it just a little bit more. Winner: Pliskova
If you’re on the grounds at Crandon Park on Tuesday, you might want to get to the Grandstand as soon as you can. This match won’t start until 5:00 P.M., at the earliest, but it should be worth it to see these two slug it out at such close quarters. The German and the Swiss have faced off just once, at an indoor event in St. Petersburg last fall, and Zverev came away the winner, 7-5 in the third set. This time it might be tougher, considering that he’ll be just 24 hours removed from a three-tiebreaker win over John Isner. We’ll see what the 19-year-old is made of. Winner: Wawrinka
You say you like contrasts in style? How about contrasts in personality? You’re going to get one here. The Belgian plays on an even keel at all times, while the Aussie … doesn’t. That, along with the clash of their Top 15 games, should make this an entertaining evening-session closer. Kyrgios won their only meeting, 7-5 in the third set, in the Tokyo final last fall, and I would expect something similar this time. Goffin likes these courts—he made the semis here last year—and will make Kyrgios work for everything. But Kyrgios is winning the close sets and matches of late, and he has a huge edge over Goffin with his serve and power. Kept under control, his personality shouldn’t hurt, either. Winner: Kyrgios
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