The 2017 Miami Open Masters will continue on Thursday with the second round of the women’s singles and more first-round matches of the men’s event.
Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams have all withdrawn from the competition because of injury, so the likes of Roger Federer, Stan Wawrinka, Angelique Kerber and Karolina Pliskova will be competing for the top prize of $1,175,505 (£942,000).
Here’s a complete breakdown of the prize money on offer for the singles events:
|Miami Open Masters: Prize Distributions|
|Quarter Finals||180||$146,575 (£117,400)|
|Round 16||90||$77,265 (£61,900)|
|Round 32||45||$41,350 (£33,100)|
|Round 64||25||$22,325 (£17,900)|
|Qualifier 2||8||$4,075 (£3,300)|
|Qualifier 1||0||$2,085 (£1,700)|
Wawrinka will occupy the role of top seed in the absence of Murray and Djokovic, but all eyes will be on Federer after he continued his incredible resurgence by beating his compatriot in the Indian Wells final on Sunday.
The Swiss star is seeded fourth in the tournament and is undoubtedly among the top candidates to win it. He’s enjoying a sensational start to 2017 that also included his 18th Grand Slam title when he won the Australian Open in Melbourne.
One of the keys to that success is Federer’s improved backhand, which has helped him win return games more frequently and take break points more ruthlessly.
Indeed, he has won 50.4 per cent of the 117 break points he’s earned thus far in 2017, up from 39.5 per cent last year and bettered by only two men on the ATP World Tour.
Federer explained how his backhand has evolved:
I’ve been coming over the backhand more than I ever have in previous years, especially off the return against right-handed and left-handed players.
It gives me the belief that because I’m coming over the backhand so much that I can pull it off at the most important moments.
He added: “Before the backhand was more of a set-up shot, a variation play, but now I feel it can also hurt players a lot on the offensive, whereas before it was more keeping me in the point or on the passing shot where I was always pretty good.”
The New York Times‘ Ben Rothenberg sang his praises as he beat Wawrinka in California, though he also noted a possible stumbling block for Federer early in Miami:
If he can get past Juan Martin del Potro, he may well be facing Wawrinka in the semi-finals this time around.
Meanwhile, with Williams absent once again, world No. 1 Kerber has another opportunity to extend her lead at the top of the rankings.
She failed to make the most of Williams’ withdrawal from Indian Wells as she crashed out to eventual winner Elena Vesnina 6-3, 6-3 in the round of 16.
Despite her struggles this year, the German appears to be relaxed ahead of the tournament.
Doing so will be difficult, particularly in her current form, as she could potentially meet Daria Kasatkina in the second round—who has already beaten her twice this year—while the likes of Svetlana Kuznetsova, Venus Williams or Kristina Mladenovic could be lurking in the quarter-finals.