Mardy Fish and David Ferrer clash in the Miami Masters quarter-finals with much at stake for both players.
Fish can become America's top ranked player by beating Ferrer. Andy Roddick's early exit will see him tumble out of the top ten and possibly even the top fifteen. Fish in contrast has been on the rise with consistent performances on the North American hard courts over the past year. He reached the Cincinnati final back in the summer and has been in a similar vein of form this week.
Yesterday he won a physical fourth round encounter with close friend Juan Martin Del Potro 7-5, 7-6 in testing humid conditions and he was delighted with his performance. Fish's world-class backhand has been particularly effective all week and he's been using his ability at the net to great effect.
Ferrer has had an outstanding 2011 season so far. He began the year with nine straight wins, taking the Auckland title and going on to make the semi-finals of the Australian Open. A further title followed in Acapulco and the Spaniard shows no signs of slowing down.
Fish is expecting a tough battle. “He's had a lot of great results on every surface. He's going to make [me] play for every ball, every point,” he said. “That's where he makes his living. He runs every ball down. He's as fit as anyone out here. It will be a very tough match… he's obviously six in the world for a reason.”
They have played six times in the past with the head-to-head tied at 3-3 but this is their first match in four years.
Prediction: Fish in three