Paire vs. Djokovic
|Date & Time||Friday March 23, 2018, 11:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: -- Over/Under:
Novak Djokovic and Benoit Paire meet in the round of 64 in the 2018 Miami Open.
Novak Djokovic looks to get the ball rolling, as he’s just 3-2 so far this season and is coming off a first match loss in Indian Wells to Taro Daniel. Djokovic is either rusty due to missing so much time, or he’s still dealing with nagging injury issues. In the losing effort, Djokovic won just 39 percent of his return points and was broken three times. The good news for Djokovic is that he’s won the Miami Open in five of his last six appearances. So, maybe this is the tournament Djokovic needs to kind of get back in form and start competing for titles on a consistent basis. Djokovic has won six of his last nine matches on hard court.
Benoit Paire is coming off a three sets win over Mischa Zverev that took 22 games to decide. In the victory, Paire won 70 percent of his first serve points and 56 percent of his second serve points. Paire got only 43 percent of his first serves in play, but he produced 12 break chances and was rather dominant in the two sets he won. Paire knows he has to play much cleaner tennis in order to win this match, but inconsistent play has been his thing recently, and he’s won at least two matches just once in his last four tournaments. Paire has six career wins over top-10 players, with two of those coming since the 2016 season. Paire has split his last eight matches on hard court.
These two have played once, which was in the 2015 Cincinnati Masters, a match Djokovic won in straight sets. The match took 20 games to be decided.
This seems like the perfect match to get Djokovic’s feet wet, as Paire hasn’t been good at all getting his first serve in play, so he should be able to tee off on his return and win a ton of easy points. First serve percentage was also an issue with Paire in Indian Wells and even when he was winning matches in Montpellier. Not a good matchup for the Frenchmen.
Djokovic rolls here in straight sets.