Roger Federer is on the short list of contenders at almost every tournament he plays, but when factoring in the momentum he has after the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells and the favorable draw he received, expect to see Federer in at least the semifinals of the Sony Open in Miami.
Michelle Kaufman of the Miami Herald points out that the former world No. 1 appears ready:
Federer will play either a qualifier or Ivo Karlovic in his first match. Karlovic could challenge the Swiss star for a set or two given his serving prowess, but Federer is simply playing too well right now to lose so early. Federer will control the match with his own serves and mix in a timely break or two to come away with the victory.
After that, Federer will probably face Fernando Verdasco and then either Kevin Anderson or Richard Gasquet. Much like Karlovic, Federer should not overlook any of these players, but he will win with relative ease.
In fact, he won’t really be pushed until a potential semifinals showdown with Novak Djokovic in what would be a rematch of the Indian Wells finals.
Even though Djokovic won 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 in a back-and-forth match in Indian Wells, Federer nearly won what would have been a record fifth title there and is 19-3 this year. What’s more, he is 4-2 against top-10 opponents, which is the most wins of any player this year against the top 10.
Federer moved up three spots in the most recent rankings to No. 5 and seems to be pleased with the way he is playing recently, according to The Associated Press, via Fox Sports:
I'm just happy I'm playing consistent tennis and I'm going deep in tournaments and I'm giving myself chances to win. I'm playing really good tennis. I'm moving well. Serving well, consistently well. So many things are working.
To put Federer’s impressive start to the 2014 schedule in perspective, consider where he was just a year ago after injuring his back at Indian Wells.
He took a seven-week break and then got hurt again after Wimbledon. It led to an up-and-down season for the all-time great, and many thought his best days were long behind him.
He has bounced back from the injury and inconsistent play in impressive fashion and will remain in the top five of the rankings for the foreseeable future if he continues to play like he did at the BNP Paribas Open.
Federer will cruise through his favorable draw in Miami to set up a rematch with Djokovic (assuming Djokovic does his part) in the semifinals.
A matchup with Anderson would be intriguing because Federer played him at Indian Wells in the quarterfinals. However, Federer handled Anderson with relative ease in straight sets.
Expect more of the same at the Sony Open.
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