In what could be one of the matches of the tournament, the favourite Roger Federer takes on Juan Martin Del Potro on Stadium Court on Monday afternoon. It will be the 21st meeting between the duo but the first since late 2013.
Federer saw off a spirited fight from Frances Tiafoe in the previous round, winning 7-6 6-3 over the 19 year old. Federer also suffered what has been a rare occurrence in the past two events – dropping serve. Despite doing so, he still managed to win 80% of points on his first serve with 8 aces amongst them. It was Federer’s first meeting with Tiafoe and he was relieved to get through the match. “Playing somebody who has really absolutely nothing to lose, who’s only there to gain, it’s nice to get it over and done with on the winning side. You feel quite relieved to some extent because you know it can be dangerous.” he said.
Meanwhile, Del Potro was a straight sets winner over Robin Haase in his opener. Tournament draws have not been kind to the Argentinian who, after a semi final in Delray Beach, has faced Novak Djokovic in the second match of the tournament on back-to-back occasions. Facing the in-form Federer instead is no kinder for Del Potro who can at least take heart from the fact he took the world no.2 to 3 sets on both those encounters.
“We’ve had some epic matches against each other: Semis at the French, Olympic semis, finals at the US Open.” Federer said of the rivalry between the two. Federer does lead the head to head 15-5 but had let up in the previous encounters back in 2012 and 2013 with Del Potro winning three of the last five prior to this match. One of the few players probably more popular than Del Potro in Miami, Federer remains in great form serving great and hitting his backhand well.
Prediction – Roger Federer in straight sets