March 21, 2012 | 01:09 AM
Same Cast, Different Coast
The women's seeds in Miami include a Williams (Serena as the #10 seed) who is there at the expense of the only American women's star and seed in Indian Wells, Christina McHale. At #32, she exceeded all expectations at IW by upsetting the 3rd seed Kvitova and reaching the 4th round. In Miami Christina will run unseeded into #4 Wozniacki if she progresses through the #29 seed to the 3rd round.
On the men's side, Andy Roddick has dropped a few more places to #31, while John Isner has climbed a few places to #10. At #32, Phillip Kohlschrieber replaces Alex Bogomolov. Otherwise the two draws use the same seeds in new draws with the odds shifting only minimally for most players, depending more on their particular match-ups than on their recent results in Indian Wells.
Changes in odds* of winning the titles
The biggest changes from IW to Miami center around the principal men from last weekend (* odds as determined by Jeff Sackmann's algorithm on heavytopspin.com):
- Joker's odds fell 17% to only 22.5%
- Roger's odds rose 42% from 8.7% to 12.4% (he still trails the man he beat in IW, Rafa, by 1.6%)
- Isner's odds rose 83% from 1.0% to 2.2%
- Murray's odds rise from 10% to 12% here in spite of his 1st round loss at IW, because he has won Miami before
In terms of the MEN'S draw in Miami:
- JOKER has Del Potro or Ferrer in his quarter instead of Berdych or Almagro (this greater challenge, along with being in Federer's half, also affected his odds in Miami)
- RAFA has Tsonga (again) and Isner in his quarter (this gives the American a chance to beat the 3rd member of the top 3 in the first quarter of the year, something no other player has probably done in the last 7 years)
- FEDERER has the easiest quarter with seeds Monfils, Fish, Almagro and Roddick, but faces Ryan Harrison in the 3rd round
- MURRAY also has a more difficult draw in Miami, with Berdych, Simon, Raonic and Tipsarevic
To quantify the differences for the top 4 men's seeds using the Sackmann odds:
- Joker has gone from being a 5.3 to 1 favorite to a 2.7 to 1 favorite in his quarter (meaning he is half as likely to emerge)
- Rafa has gon from being a 2.1 to a 1.65 to 1 fav
- Fed has gone from being a .84 to a 2.34 fav (almost 3 times as likely to emerge)
- Andy odds have stayed about the same (2.2 to a 1.8 to 1) in spite of his dismal IW performance and his first round loss last year in Miami
All things considered, All American John Isner is again the best US hope to go deep in the draw, though he has a big challenge being in Tsonga's bracket (the two are 1:1 head-to-head, with each man having won a 3 setter by virtue of taking 2 tie-breakers). Fish could regain confidence with an early meaningful win over lower seeds Anderson, Almagro or Verdasco.
The Women's draw
As the IW WOMEN's final was decided between the #1 and 2 seeds, there is more likelihood of the two re-creating back-to-back what has been a real rarity in the women's game for the past 7 years: the top 2 vying in the final for a title.
Other early matters of note or amusement in the WOMEN'S draw:
- Serena's appearance in Wozniacki's quarter and Stosur's bracket is hardly a big cause for concern in either camp, given how absent from competition the American has been. Nor is the possibility of Venus as a first opponent for Kvitova much more than an interesting marquee match up for Buchholz' crew to hype attendance on an evening session. Given the way Petra struggled in her match with Christina McHale at IW, Venus may have an opportunity, IF - that is - she can beat her 1st round opponent, Kimiko Date-Krumm, who at age 41 is one of the few top 100 players on the tour who is older than Venus (10 years older, at #78 she is ranked almost 50 places ahead of Venus, not that either ranking means a lot at that level).
- Jelena Jankovic, who was upset in IW by the unseeded American Jamie Hampton in the 2nd round, may be pitted against the woman who nearly upset #1 seed Vika in the 2nd round at IW, Mona Barthel (Vika, we later learned, was also fighting an internal upset - her stomach).
- Ana Ivanovic, who withdrew with a gluteal injury from her semi-final match with Maria at IW, is in Kvitova's bracket as the #15 seed, where she may be potential trouble for the #, IF - and only if - Ana's derriere has recovered sufficiently to get her to the 4th round past Hantuchova and others.
- Kim Clijsters is back for the first tim since Australia, unseeded, and appears in the 1st round with Gajdosova, who upset #22 seed Wickmayer at IW; next up would be #14 Julia Goerges, followed by #23 Wickmayer, #4 Wozniacki, and #6 Stosur and #10 Serena. Gude Luke to Kim, as they say Dayon Undah.
Sackmann doesn't do predictions for the WTA at this point (perhaps only a meterologist would dare that after the last 7 years), but if he did Kim's odds of winning the title would be fat, little or none.
As for American qualifiers in Miami, they did not do as well as at IW:
- only Rajeev Ram qualified on the men's side (he drew Garcia-Lopez, who upset Murray at IW)
- Jamie Hampton, Madison Keys and Sloane Stephens all qualified for the women's draw. Of these, perhaps Stephens has the best draw, meeting #30 seed Sara Errani if she reaches the 2nd round. Hampton draws #7 seed Bartoli in the 2nd round, while Keys has #5 seed Radwanska in the 2nd round.
Sony Ericsson Open 2012