Down the line: Miami badly missing Federer & Nadal

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I would have loved to say that the absence of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal at a Masters event is not a big deal, but frankly speaking, Miami has never seemed so dull to me.

I’m not trying to take away anything from the other players and I realise there are many tournaments that don’t feature the “Big Four” and are extremely entertaining nonetheless, but Miami is different.

It is where Nadal beat Federer for the very first time as a 17-year-old ranked No34 in the world.

It’s where the pair had an epic rematch in the final the following year where Federer fought back from two sets to love down.

It’s where Andy Roddick had two of his only three victories over Federer, and it’s where Nadal suffered his first defeat to Novak Djokovic (2007), when the Serb went on to win his first Masters title.

Both Nadal and Federer had participated in the past nine editions and I have to say with their withdrawals, along with others this fortnight, March has gone from being “mad” to rather mundane.

THUMBS UP – David Goffin

Prior to Miami, the young Belgian had not been able to string together successive wins but he finally broke the hoodoo and has made the third round posting victories over Robin Haase and Philipp Kohlschreiber.

Garbine Muguruza

The Spanish teenager posted her biggest victory over her career when she took out Caroline Wozniacki in straight sets in the third round after ousting Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Two top 25 seeds back-to-back. Not bad for the world No73 who has now won eight out of nine matches between Indian Wells and Miami (including qualifying). She eventually lost to Li Na.

THUMBS DOWN – Caroline Wozniacki

Just when you start to have some faith in Wozniacki following her final run at Indian Wells, the world No9 goes and loses in straight sets to an unheralded 19-year-old.

Wozniacki has been streaky this season. A good run in Dubai was followed by a first round shock exit in Kuala Lumpur. A similar pattern followed in Indian Wells then Miami. What happened to the consistency of 2011?

BIGGEST UPSET – Tobias Kamke

The 89th-ranked German busted everyone’s brackets when he took out Indian Wells finalist Juan Maritn del Potro in the second round. Kamke had a 3-6 win-loss record for the year heading into Miami and his highest ranked victim this season had been at No95. So taking out the No5 seed was not meant to be in the cards. He lost to Jurgen Melzer in the following round.

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