Miami R2 previews and predictions: Nadal vs. Sela, Kohlschreiber vs. Fritz

Rafael Nadal will kick off his Miami campaign when he goes up against Dudi Sela on Friday afternoon. The second-round schedule also includes Philipp Kohlschreiber and Taylor Fritz.

(5) Rafael Nadal vs. Dudi Sela

Nadal and Sela will be going head-to-head for just the second time in their careers when the two veterans meet in round two of the Miami Open on Friday. Their only previous encounter came two years ago at the Australian Open, where Nadal cruised 6-1, 6-0, 7-5. The seventh-ranked Spaniard reached the Aussie Open final this season, but Roger Federer is the man to blame for the fact that Nadal’s 2017 campaign has merely been “good” as opposed to “great.” Federer outlasted Nadal in five sets Down Under and crushed him 6-2, 6-3 at the Indian Wells Masters last week.

Sela had no trouble earning his spot in this contest, as the 31-year-old Israeli humiliated qualifier Christian Harrison 6-1, 6-1 on Wednesday. Ranked 81st in the world, Sela is a decent 5-7 at the ATP level in 2017 and also captured a Challenger title in Canberra, Australia. As their lone history against each other indicates, this is a nightmarish matchup for Sela–who simply does not have the firepower to give Nadal problems and will be hitting one-handed backhands at or even above shoulder level.

Pick: Nadal in 2 losing 5-7 games

Taylor Fritz vs. (26) Philipp Kohlschreiber

Fritz is finding his form heading into the Miami second round on Friday, and not a moment too soon. With all of his points from his early-season hot streak in 2016 now off the board, the 19-year-old American registers at No. 126 in the rankings (he peaked as high as 53rd last summer). Fritz started 2017 with a 2-4 record through six ATP-level matches but he is coming off a third-round performance in Indian Wells, where he upset Marin Cilic before falling to Malek Jaziri in three sets.

Up next for Fritz is a first-ever battle with Kohlschreiber, who bagged an opening-round bye as the No. 26 seed. Kohlschreiber may have already played his most memorable match in 2017–a quarterfinal loss to Andy Murray in Dubai, where he squandered seven match points, came out on the short end of a 30-minute tiebreaker, and eventually succumbed to the world No. 1 6-7(4), 7-6(18), 6-1. The German advanced to the Indian Wells third round before losing to eventual runner-up Stan Wawrinka 7-5, 6-3. Kohlschreiber is one of those solid performers who generally takes care of business against lower-ranked opponents but rarely pulls off notable upsets.

Pick: Kohlschreiber in 3

43 Comments on Miami R2 previews and predictions: Nadal vs. Sela, Kohlschreiber vs. Fritz

  1. Kohlschreiber in three and Rafa in two losing 5-7 games. I almost picked THF though so I’m a little surprised to see no one picked him in the poll so far. Definitely has a shot at the upset.

  2. Rafa just seems off in this match. He had chances to close out the first set on Sela’s serve, but missed some shots he would normally make.

  3. Forehand in this match not any better than his forehand i his worst of 2015 matches. Only the CC backhand is decent at the moment.

    He’ll lose to Dimi easily playing at this level.

  4. he is really waiting for the balls to come to him rather then stepping up to punish them. What has caused him to lose so much confidence?

      • Who would have thought Dimi who’s everyone said can trouble the top player everytime he play…instead lost to a player who’s rank 158th!…and rafa who’s level today is not suppose to survive Dimi…is still alive and breathing!even manage to close out the match with comfortable scores!…Hmm…

        • Exactly. It’s about surviving the first few rounds first that’s more important. Kohl also struggled against Fritz; was behind in the score in the third set, having to play catch up all the time; he managed to win it in the end by winning the third set TB. Kohl wasn’t that brilliant either in his first match.

          • Lucky…IMO,that’s lie a big difference between rafa and a lesser players…i remember Tim Smyczek said after he lost to rafa in AO 15…rafa can win even he produced his c game but he,even he produced his A game..still not enough to create a win over rafa[also rafa was not well at that time]…

            Rafa showed us so many times in the past that he’s a true warrior…he can get out from a very crucial moment by his sheer patience,grit and determination..he knows that his FH is not like it used to be but he covered that weakness with his other magnificent abilities that other players don’t have…at AO,he’s also not produced his best against Dimi but he managed to win…and he will keep doing it in the future..that i’m pretty sure…

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