Miami Masters: Scene Set for Roger Federer-Rafael Nadal Showdown

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Miami Masters: Scene Set for Roger Federer-Rafael Nadal Showdown
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

The talk in Indian Wells, from start to finish, was of Novak Djokovic.

He had continued his 2011 unbeaten run all the way to the title, dropping precious few games on the way, and he took the No. 2 ranking in the process.

He notched up his third victory over Roger Federer on the trot and won his third tournament on the bounce. And he even beat Rafael Nadal for the first time in a final.

And the talk in Miami has still been about Djokovic, from fund-raising football to an apparently seamless transition to more near-perfect tennis.

He opened his account against the hapless Denis Istomin, much as he played most of last week, with a 6-0, 6-1 win in a mere 48 minutes. Which makes him the last man on the tour to need a helping hand.

Yet the Djokovic quarter of the draw has opened like a flower in the Florida sun as the big seeds tumbled—Andy Murray and Fernando Verdasco—together with lesser seeds such as Tomaz Bellucci and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.

In the other quarter of the Djokovic half, Stan Wawrinka and Milos Raonic also disappeared, while many of the remaining dangers faced up-hill battles through three-met marathons—Robin Soderling, Juan Martin Del Potro, John Isner and Djokovic’s next opponent, James Blake.

Would the top half of the draw give similar encouragement to Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer on Miami’s first Saturday?

In this party-time resort that schedules an intense programme of play across its eight courts throughout the heat of the day, it did not take long to find out.

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