After an entertaining two weeks at Indian Wells that saw Juan Martin Del Potro and Naomi Osaka raise trophies, the tennis world’s attention now shifts to the opposite coast for a second consecutive Masters 100 and Premier Mandatory event: The 2018 Miami Open, which is being held at the Tennis Center at Crandon Park for the last time before moving to Hard Rock Stadium in 2019.
Early-round coverage of the tournament will be on the Tennis Channel, while ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNews will broadcast most of the quarters, semis and finals action (full schedule and TV listings can be found here). If you don’t have cable or can’t get to a TV, you can watch all of the action live on your computer, phone or streaming device by signing up for one of the following cable-free, live-TV streaming services:
DirecTV Now: ESPN and ESPN2 are included in all of DirecTV Now’s four main channel packages, while Tennis Channel and ESPNews are both included in the “Just Right,” “Go Big” and “Gotta Have It” bundles. You can sign up for a free 7-day trial no matter what package you choose, and you can then watch live on your computer via the DirecTV Now website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the DirecTV Now app.
Coverage on ESPN: If you’re only looking to watch the matches that are broadcast on the ESPN channels, Hulu With Live TV and Sling TV both include ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNews in their live-TV channel packages. They don’t include the Tennis Channel.
WatchESPN: ESPN3 will also have coverage of individual courts at Miami, which you can watch on your computer via ESPN.com, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the WatchESPN app. In some cases, you’ll be able to watch these streams without logging in if your’re subscribed to a participating internet service provider. If you’re not, though, you’ll need to sign in to a verified TV provider to watch, but you can do this by logging in with your DirecTV Now, Hulu or Sling TV credentials.
We’ll start on the women’s side, where the first round is home to what is easily one of the most intriguing matches of the tournament: Osaka vs. Serena Williams.
The former, a 20-year-old quickly rising star who is fresh off capturing the first singles title of her career in extraordinary fashion, and the latter, a 23-time Grand Slam champion playing in just her second singles tournament since a 14-month layoff for maternity leave. It’s a dream matchup.
“We’ll see a lot of heavy hitting,” tournament director James Blake said. “Both of them hit the ball so big. There are a lot of story lines. How is Naomi going to react to winning her first big title? There’s the cross-country flight. Is she going to be nervous playing Serena now that expectations are higher?”
Oh yeah, and whoever wins will get a date with No. 4 seed Elina Svitolina in what will be another big-time matchup usually reserved for the later rounds.
In terms of favorites to go the distance in Miami, things are a little wide open. Simona Halep is the No. 1 seed, though she has been bounced in the quarterfinals here two years in a row. Johanna Konta and Victoria Azarenka are the last two to win this tournament, but the former is just 4-5 to start the year, and the latter hasn’t played much since her triumph in 2016. Svitolina has the aforementioned difficult draw. Caroline Wozniacki, the No. 2 seed, made it to the final here last year, but she wasn’t dealt many favors being putting in Venus Williams’ quarter.
Perhaps the most intriguing individual to watch will be Daria Kasatkina, who has advanced to consecutive finals at Dubai and Indian Wells, a run that includes wins over Konta, Vesnina, Garbine Muguruza, Sloane Stephens, Wozniacki, Angelique Kerber and Venus Williams. She has just one WTA singles win to her name, but it seems only a matter of time before she adds to that.
Over on the men’s side, there’s not nearly as much parity. Despite a thrilling loss to Juan Martin Del Potro in the Indian Wells final last week, Roger Federer still has to be considered the favorite.
With Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray sidelined, and Novak Djokovic still not fully healthy, Fed-Ex has continued to look mostly like vintage Federer, as the loss to Del Potro was his first of the year. And considering he’s won three times in Miami, including last year’s tournament, he should be expected to get back on track this week.
Among the challengers to Federer in Miami, Djokovic is the most intriguing as a six-time winner here, but he lost to Taro Daniel in the second round in Indian Wells last week and is clearly less than 100 percent right now. Marin Cilic, Grigor Dimitrov and Alexander Zverev, the No. 2, 3 and 4 seeds, all lost early last week, as well, meaning a Del Potro vs. Federer rematch in the final is very much on the table.