Djokovic Opens Title Bid In Miami And Wows Crowd With Pocket Trick

Novak Djokovic (photo: Miami Open)

MIAMI, March 26, 2016

The top half of the second round at the Miami Open presented by Itaú featured world number one Novak Djokovic as well as three more top 10-players.

The 28-year-old Serb, who won 24 of the last 25 matches in Florida, lost his service only once and converted four of his own break points to open his title bid with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over British young gun Kyle Edmund  in one hour and 20 minutes.

Djokovic also dazzled the crowd with a spectacular pocked catch. Even the world number one seemed to be impressed – and looking forward to watching the TV replay.

“It will be fun to see it,” he told. “I was lucky, I must say. Right place at the right time, I guess.”

Here is the video:

A stomach virus prevented the highly anticipated re-match of the 2009 US-Open final between Roger Federer and Juan Matin Del Potro, as the 17 time Grand Slam champion from Switzerland was forced to withdraw from the match. Federer underwent knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus after the Australian Open, practiced every day in Miami and wanted to return to competition on Friday, when he had hit for about 30 minutes before he left the court and officially pulled out.

“I am very sorry that I have to pull out of the Miami Open with a stomach virus,” said Federer. “I feel bad for the tournament and the fans as I have rarely ever had to withdraw at such short notice. I have not felt great for a few days and unfortunately it got worse in the last 24 hours. I was really excited to have my comeback in Miami but I am in no condition to play. I tried to warm up this morning but it was clear that I could not compete.”

Juan Martin Del Potro (photo: Miami Open)

Juan Martin Del Potro (photo: Miami Open)

Del Potro eventually took on lucky loser Horacio Zeballos and lost the all-Argentine-encounter 4-6, 4-6. Zeballos didn’t face a break point and capitalized on both of his own to finish the encounter after one hour and 21 minutes.

“He played well,” said del Potro of his opponent. “He’s a lefty, he can play to my backhand easier than anyone else. He played very smart. 

“I was suffering a little bit. It was worse than in my first match, but I hope it’s nothing dangerous. I will see what’s going on after today and see if I can practise tomorrow, if I can hit a few backhands. It’d be a surprise for me to win a match at this moment because I’m not 100% yet. But I’m here playing tennis. That’s good for me.”

Seventh seed Tomas Berdych, who finished runner-up in 2010, benefited from a walkover, as Rajeev Ram was forced to withdraw from the match due to illness.

Berdych will take on Steve Johnson, who beat German youngster Alexander Zverev 7-6, 7-6. The 31st seed from the United States withstood 14 aces in a match without any breaks but it was Johnson being more solid on his first serve, winning 87% of the points. The encounter lasted two hours and four minutes.

The tournament’s number eight David Ferrer downed the youngest player in the top 100 Taylor Fritz 7-6, 6-1. The 33-year-old Spaniard, who is making his 14th straight appearance in Miami won 79% of his first service points and capitalized on four of his five break point opportunities to advance after one hour and 47 minutes. Ferrer will play Lucas Pouille next, who knocked off Guillermo Garcia-López 6-2, 6-4 in 7 minutes.

World number 10 Richard Gasquet, who reached the semi-finals in Miami in 2013 as his best result in Florida, advanced to the third round with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Albert Ramos. The 29-year-old Frenchman converted five of his seven break point chances to prevail in one hour and 34 minutes. Gasquet will play fellow countryman Benoit Paire next, who cruised past Mikhail Youzhny 6-3, 6-4 in 66 miutes.

14th seed Dominic Thiem, who captured his first ATP World Tour 500 title in Acapulco last month, defeated Sam Groth 7-5, 6-2 in the pair’s first tour meeting. The 22-year-old Austrian withstood eight aces from the big serving Australian, hitting three of his own to advance after one hour and 16 minutes.

Thiem, who is co-leader with Novak Djokovic this season with 23 match wins, will face Yoshihito Nishioka in the third round. The 20-year-old qualifier from Japan upset the tournament’s number 21 Feliciano López 6-4, 6-4. Nishioka, who achieved a career high number 110 in February, saved four of the six break points he faced, converting four of his own to prevail in one hour and 28 minutes.