Miami Open, 2nd Round, Saturday, 25/03/2023

The second round of the Miami Open is on the line. On Saturday Mackenzie McDonald and Matteo Berrettini will meet. It is the third time on the tour that this duel will take place.

McDonald won the first round against Daniel Elahi Galan (6-4, 6-2). Now Berrettini, seeded 19th, is waiting. Who will go through to round three? In my McDonald Berrettini tip, I analyse this pairing.

McDonald’s form is clearly on the rise. He has won 13 of his 20 matches this calendar year.

In Delray Beach he reached the semi-finals but was beaten by Taylor Fritz (3-6, 6-7). One week later, he was able to continue his good performance in Acapulco.

However, it was again a compatriot who was responsible for his tournament exit. In the quarter-finals, Tommy Paul clearly won 6-2, 6-2.

The man from California experienced probably his greatest career success at the Australian Open in the second round when he beat Rafael Nadal in three sets, even though the latter was badly battered.

McDonald is currently scratching his highest position in the world rankings. In August last year, he was ranked 48th. Before the start of the Miami Open, he was ranked 55th.

The US American, who only broke into the world’s top 100 in his mid-20s, goes into the match against Berrettini as a slight underdog according to the odds.

Betano assigns McDonald odds of just over 2.30, with the Italian’s at around 1.62. However, as the odds are quite close, the market slips into an interesting range for exactly two sets: 1.65.

The statistics show that the bet could pay off. Seven games in a row it was exactly two sets each time the athlete from California was on the court.

Moreover, tiebreaks were rather scarce. In the last 13 matches, 28 sets were played, of which only one ended in a tiebreak.

The break-friendly matches argue for a bet on under 0.5 tiebreaks. Bet365 would have 1.72 odds available for this market.

With Bet365’s betting configurator, the exact number of sets (2) and under 0.5 tiebreaks can even be combined for total odds of 2.50.

Berrettini has not had an easy time getting towards top form with various injuries. At the end of 2021, he had to retire against Zverev at the ATP Finals with an abdominal injury.

Nobody had wished the Italian such a year-end, especially not after the great performance at Wimbledon. He was only beaten in the final by Novak Djokovic after leading the set.

But after his greatest match of his career, the Roman had to struggle again and again with various injuries. Most recently, his calf went on strike in Acapulco.

He was unable to repeat his Wimbledon final appearance due to a covid infection. Another tough blow he had to deal with. Especially as he would have been one of the top favourites after the triumphs in London and Stuttgart.

In Miami, however, the tournament is not played on his favourite surface, grass, but on hard court. Things have not been going so well there lately.

Andy Murray was an ungrateful opponent in the first round of the Australian Open, winning the match after five sets.

This was followed by respective victories against Elias Ymer and Alex Molcan in Acapulco before the calf-related retirement against Holger Rune.

After an early exit in Indian Wells against Taro Daniel, he still travelled to the Challenger tournament in Phoenix, where he suffered a quarter-final exit against Alexander Shevchenko after two wins.

In round two of the Miami Open, he now has the next chance to get back into shape. A good omen: McDonald has always been a good sparring partner in their previous duels.

They played each other as recently as autumn 2022 in Naples, Berrettini prevailing 3-6, 7-6, 6-3 after three sets. The matter was clearer in 2019 in Auckland: 6-3, 6-4.

However, in the first encounter McDonald was still playing at a lower level.

Conclusion: In the last duel between McDonald and Berrettini there were three sets and a tiebreak. Both rather a rarity lately when McDonald was challenged in a match.

I don’t expect either in this match. Everything depends on Berrettini’s performance. If he can deliver a top performance, he will not give the US player a chance.

Berrettini, who is strong on serve, will definitely benefit from the faster court than last time in Indian Wells. At the same time, McDonald, who is only 1.79 metres tall, is always in danger of conceding a decisive break in each set.

I expect Berrettini to serve with ease and break successfully in both sets and therefore combine my McDonald Berrettini tip with the Bet365 betting configurator 2:0 win for Berrettini with under 0.5 tiebreaks.