Australian No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt and Robin Haase will kick off the Sony Open main draw with an opening round clash in Miami. The two competitors only met once prior to this upcoming encounter on the professional tour in a contest that took place on the grass courts at the Wimbledon Championships almost six years ago. It was an entertaining five-set encounter that ended in Hewitt’s favour and gave him a small lead in their head-to-head series.
Following his exit in the second round of the BNP Paribas Open last week, world No. 44 Lleyton Hewitt will be looking to make it further into the draw this week in Miami. He earned a opening round victory over fellow countryman Matthew Ebden at Indian Wells but lost in the second round to eventual quarter-finalist Kevin Anderson in straight sets.
He is currently defending second round ATP points from last year’s event, when he lost to France’s Gilles Simon and holds a 16-11 record overall at the Sony Open. He reached the semi-final in Miami on three consecutive occasions between 2000-02 but has not made it past the third round in over a decade. Once again, the Australian is faced with another tough draw, as a victory over Haase would mean a second round encounter with world No. 1 Rafael Nadal.
World No. 46 Robin Haase also exited the BNP Paribas Open in the second round. The Dutchman defeated John-Patrick Smith in the opening round but lost to rising star Grigor Dimitrov in the following round. He will be looking to improve upon his fortnight in the California Desert with a strong showing in Miami at the second Masters event of the season. Haase has only ever won one main draw match-up at the Sony Open – a victory over Marinko Matosevic in 2012 – and holds a 1-5 record at the event.
This marks the second time that these two competitors will meet on the professional tour. Hewitt leads the head-to-head series 1-0, having won their only meeting at the Wimbledon Championships in 2008. While that was a competitive encounter, it will likely not factor into tomorrows contest, as it took place almost six years ago on grass. Hewitt has continued to roll back the years with his impressive performances in 2014, including his title win in Birsbane, and will likely find a way to earn his 9th victory of the season.
Prediction: Lleyton Hewitt in Three Sets