The world’s top-ranked players Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams walked away with the Miami Open titles over the weekend, cementing their place atop the rankings and setting themselves up for what could be an incredible season ahead.
Novak Djokovic Wins Fifth Maimi Open Title
The top-ranked Djokovic won his fifth Maimi title with a three-set win over good friend and soon-to-be-married Andy Murray 7-6, 4-6, 6-0. In the process Novak became the first player ever to win the Indian Wells-Miami double three times. After the players fought closely for the first two sets, Djokovic’s supreme physicality overwhelmed the Scot in the deciding set.
The big news early on was the surprising loss of Rafael Nadal, who was beaten by compatriot Fernando Verdasco in three sets in the third round. This was only Verdasco’s second win over Nadal in 15 career meetings and sees Nadal dropping to No. 5 in the world rankings. With Nadal, who has admitted suffering from nerves at critical moments in matches of late, needing to defend a ton of points over the clay court season, the Spaniard could fall further ahead of the French Open, which could make that draw a whole lot more interesting.
It was a good week though for the American John Isner, who defeated Kei Nishikori to reach the semi-finals where he lost to Djokovic. The doubles title was won by the Bryan Brothers, who avenged their Indian Wells defeat by beating Vasek Pospisil and Jack Sock 6-3, 1-6, 10-8 to win their fourth Miami crown and the 105th title of their career.
Serena Williams Wins Eighth Miami Open Title
On the women’s side, Serena Williams powered her way to her eighth Miami Open title, with a commanding 6-2, 6-0 win over the Spanish player Carla Suarez Navarro, who broke into the Top 10 for the first time in her career. Williams completely dominated the match, winning the last 10 games in a row and losing only 5 points in the final set. The 33-year-old American, who remains unbeaten this season, scored a hard-fought three-set win over Romania’s Simona Halep in the semi-finals in what was the best match of the tournament.
World No. 2 Maria Sharapova was shocked by countrywoman Daria Gavrilova in the second round – another early exit following her fourth round loss at Indian Wells last fortnight while Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard suffered a second round exit, now winning only 2 matches in her last 3 tournaments. The German Andrea Petkovic put in another strong performance this season, reaching the semi-finals while Serena’s older sister Venus defeated the in-form Caroline Wozniacki to reach the quarter-finals where she was beaten by Suarez Navarro.
The doubles title was won by the pair of Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis, who won their second title in as many attempts, beating the Russian duo Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina 7-5, 6-1. The win follows their triumph at Indian Wells and makes Mirza/ Hingis, the team to beat in 2015 following the split of Roberta Vinci/ Sara Errani.
Among the men, Djokovic holds on to the top spot for the 141st week, tying him with Nadal, who is down to No. 5. With the absent Roger Federer holding on to the No. 2 spot, Andy Murray climbs one spot to No. 3 while Kei Nishikori climbs a notch to No. 4 and John Isner climbs 5 spots to no. 19.
On the women’s side, Serena continues to reign atop the rankings ahead of Sharapova. The Top 7, which includes Halep, Kvitova, Wozniacki, Ivanovic and Bouchard, remains unchanged while Makarova climbs one spot to No. 8 and Suarez Navarro breaks into the Top 10.