The Picks, Miami, March 27: Murray v Young, Nadal v Almagro, Sock v Fognini

Nadal IW 15 TR MALT0412


Andy Murray and Donald Young once had a terrific year at the 2011 US Open and the American was very aggressive and caned with his forehand during the first week, but then the Britain was more composed and took him out in three sets. They know each other pretty well, and both know that Murray can attack with his deep backhand to the right and the left. Against Young, he also has a bigger first serve and with is cute volleys. Murray, who recently bested Young in Davis Cup last month, will win again, this time in Miami by winning in two sets.

Rafael Nadal and Nicolas Almagro have played tons of ties, mostly on clay, and Rafa has beaten him every time, except last year, when Almagro stunned him at Barcelona. After that, Almagro was out of much of the year due to an injury, but he has looked fairly decent during the past six weeks. However, even though Nadal became hurt the other day, what he can eat him alive with his left forehand against Almagro’s one-handed backhand. Nadal is much more confident on hard courts and he win in straight sets.

Here is an upset: Stan Wawrinka is slumping again and Carlos Berlocq wants to show off in front of Argentina/Miami USA. Take Berlocq in three sets.

Late at night, the American Tim Smyczek will face Jo Tsonga who is back after an injury for the past four months. Yes, Tsonga is substantially more powerful, but Smyczek loves the large stadiums and will upset the Frenchmen in three sets.

Another American, Jack Sock, had a fine Indian Wells and already has a lot of confidence. He will go up against Fabio Fognini, whom he took him down in the doubles final. While the Italian has more variety, Sock has a bigger serve and forehand and win in three sets.

Nicole Vaidisova was ready to reach the top, but more than four years ago, the former No. 7 retired out of almost nowhere when she was only 21 years old. Now she is back and trying again but it is very difficult to figure out exactly how she can play. Back in the day, she always could crush both her forehand and backhand and also ran fairly fast. But is she ready to stun the No. 3 Simona Halep on Thursday? Not yet because the Czech just started last September and she still has miles to go. At the very least, Vaidisova will push her for a little while, but the Romanian will win in straight sets.

Two other picks, Victoria Azarenka vs. Jelena Jankovic and Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys. Both are very difficult, because “JJ” rose again after she reached the Indian Wells final and then became scared at the end and lost. Keys, who reached the Aussie Open final, has been a hurt since February and has been erratic. Azarenka wants to become No.1 again and she knows JJ up and down and will out-slug her, winning in two sets.

At Indian Wells, Stephens played better than she did since 2014 Roland Garros so now it looks like she is ready to roll. She is an excellent player who is underrated – when she feels like playing. Keys has a substantial better serve, but Stephens can stay inside the box and whales away. She will best Keys in three sets.

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