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By Rohit Sharma
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When the 2010 Sony Ericsson Open kicked off in Miami last week, many top players made a promise, to themselves more than anyone else that the Indian Wells debacle will not be repeated. It's semifinal in Miami and the BAD PHASE continues for the best in the business. Djokovic, Federer and defending champion Murray, all bowed out of the event one after the other, giving way to the giant-killers Berdych, Soderling and evergreen Nadal and Roddick to claim title glory in one of the biggest tournaments in the world.
Here is a look at the possible men's finalists at the 2010 Sony Ericsson Open -
Andy Roddick vs. Rafael Nadal
Nadal leads series 5-2
Last Meeting - 2009 Indian Wells Semifinal
Nadal won 6-4, 7-6(4)
Ever since their last meeting in Indian Wells in 2009, both Roddick and Nadal have come a long way. Where Roddick reached the final of the Championships at Wimbledon, Nadal struggled in both New York and then Melbourne and failed to reach even the semifinals at the yearend championships in London. It would have been much easier to predict the winner, had Nadal been in good form, but with Spaniard's struggle with the elite players, Roddick does make today's match-up interesting. Roddick played impressive tennis in his last match against an in-form Nicolas Almagro, whereas Nadal pipped French sensation Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in two comfortable sets.
With everything becoming so unpredictable in men's tennis, choosing a winner from this first semifinal is a difficult task, but the Mallorcan seems to have an upper hand because of his tenacity and mental strength.
TennisEarth's Picks - Nadal in three sets.
Robin Soderling vs. Tomas Berdych
Nadal leads series 4-2
Last Meeting - 2009 Kuala Lumpur QF
Soderling won 6-2, 6-2
This one is sure to produce an extremely high quality of tennis. Both Robin Soderling and Tomas Berdych have come through a difficult draw and with a come-from-behind victory over Fernando Verdasco, the Czech has made quite a lot of fans on American soil. Soderling, on the other hand, left quite an impression in his straight sets demolition of an error-prone Russian, Mikhail Youzhny. Soderling, infact has been pretty strong since the end of the 2009 season. His consecutive wins over Nadal, coupled with the first ever victory over Federer in Abu Dhabi this year made him one of the most sought after players of 2010. Berdych, who shone brightest in the Davis Cup arena so far, is now producing the best tennis of his life and is capable of beating anyone on a given day, let's just hope that some such days are lined up for the Miami weekend too.
Soderling's experience and the ability to capitalise on opportunities instantly will help him get through the Czech today.
TennisEarth's Pick - Soderling in two tough sets.
Follow the Swashbuckling action at Miami Masters Series with TennisEarth.com and get the minute-by-minute updates of the 2010 Sony Ericsson Open.
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