Girish Girsh had the advantage of being a top-8 seed for the first time. He used it well, though a fourth-round encounter with Condon was a bit testier than expected he came through in straights for another quarterfinal. This time he had a chance to back up his earlier win at the Australian Open against Bjorn Benda. He put forth a thoroughly disappointing showing, esp. on serve, in losing 6-2, 7-6(4), dropping nearly half of his service points. Losing to Benda on hardcourt occasionally is no shame, but he expected to play better esp. with the older German more fatigued coming in.
Anil Mehul cruised through to the quarters himself ... and then was shocked by Cestmir Marcek, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4. It's Mehul's worst result in a big hardcourt tournament in about two years, and he had beaten the Czech no. 2 in seven straight encounters going back almost three seasons. There are a couple of extenuating circumstances: Marcek has been on a hot streak lately(he would go on to knock off Benda and reach his second Masters final), and like the loss to Benda in Indian Wells, Mehul played more than well enough to win here. He held a 33-29% edge in return points, forcing Marcek to serve 21 more points in his games ... but dropped four of six break points and that was that.
Mehul's reputation as the undisputed #2 is reeling ... and as we shall see, so is his position in the rankings. The thing about it is, his last two losses here are both matches he should have won. In the past he's certainly had a charmed existence from time to time -- perhaps it's a moment to pay the piper here? The obvious narrative is that he's losing his grip but I still think his game is actually slightly better than last year, though the results right now are not quite following and confidence going forward is a serious issue. I think some of his best play is still yet to come, but he'll need to be tough-minded about things over the next few months to make that happen. He's taken a hit this last month, no doubt about it.
Iglar won to claim a third straight Miami title, surprising nobody of course.