SONY ERICSSON OPEN
Nick's Picks For Day 5
by Joe McGovern|
Legendary tennis coach Nick Bollettieri offers his commentary and prediction for three of the hottest matches on Friday’s schedule.
 Victoria Azarenka vs. Michaella Krajieck
Azarenka practices as if there’s no lines on the court. She runs for every friggin’ ball. That’s why she gets the balls that nobody thinks can be gotten. This year, it’s almost like she’s on a mission. She wants to show the world that all the things she accomplished so far are just the beginning. And when you get that good you can’t really have a letdown because everybody is out to get you. So her biggest foe is really herself. She’s playing our girl, Michaella, who trains at our place. Michaella knows only one way, she hits the ball flat. She stands on top of the baseline and takes a big back swing. But if the rally continues, it goes against Michaella. She’s got to gamble and just hope that Azarenka has an off day. Because if Azarenka is on, nobody can beat her right now.
NICK’S PICK: Azarenka in 2 sets.
 John Isner vs. Nikolay Davydenko
Isner believes he belongs in the Top 10 now, especially after beating Djokovic last week. He’s much more than just a server now. He returns well, he’s moving much better, he’s hitting many more forehands, he’s got a good two-handed backhand and he’s very good at the net. When you have lateral reach like he does and you can protect against the overheads, and you know how to use it, that’s huge. But Davydenko is not easy. I used to call him the white shadow, white clothes, no tan. He returns very well and he’s smart on the tennis court. He’ll force you to overhit. And he’s a little pissed off at having dropped down the rankings. Davydenko can grind his opponents down, just like he did against James Blake, but since it's a best of three match I'm giving Isner the edge.
NICK'S PICK: ISNER in 3 sets.
 Petra Kvitova vs. [WC] Venus Williams
Petra is one of those lefties, extremely dangerous. But sometimes she comes out of her zone, she goes bazooka and throws away some points. She’s got all the ammunition but I don’t know if she’s quite mature yet. The big question mark here is still about Venus. She hasn’t played in months, but she played very well on her first day. Venus is a fox. She controls herself very well. But she doesn’t want to get into long rallies with Kvitova. If Venus stays back behind the baseline and gets hung up in long rallies, it goes against her. She has to get right in Kvitova’s face. And remember, a lot more pressure is going to be on Kvitova going into this match. She might not know what to expect with the Miami crowd. People don’t really expect Venus to do everything in her first tournament back, but I’m going to go out on a limb and predict that her experience will give her the edge.
NICK’S PICK: Venus in 3 sets
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