Simon Reed

Beating Murray bonus for Dubai master Fed

Simon Reed

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Roger Federer does enjoy putting Andy Murray in his place. It has happened at Grand Slams before, but it tends not to take place at events such as Dubai.

Andy has managed to pick him off from time to time in this type of tournament but Federer was damn sure that wasn't going to happen again.

Murray is more friendly with Rafa Nadal than he is with Roger, and some of the things the Scot has said have been more favourable towards the Spaniard. So Roger will have taken particular pleasure out of beating Andy.

Andy would have been full of confidence after defeating Novak Djokovic, even though it was a slightly sub-par Djokovic. It was a hell of a win nonetheless, and if he had beaten Novak and Roger back-to-back then he would have been feeling really good going into this American swing we've got coming up.

But it wasn't that close in the end: Roger served amazingly well, and I think that was the key for him. His service was top notch all the way through the tournament. Federer is playing well although what that means for the next few months is difficult to tell at this stage.

Elsewhere in Dubai, Djokovic seemed a little in and out when it came to his concentration. I'm always watching him particularly closely because after his amazing achievements at the end of last year and then carrying that through to Australia, I'm looking for a reduction in his intensity.

I haven't seen that yet. It wasn't there in Australia and I'm not sure it was there last week in Dubai either. I want to see what happens with him in Indian Wells before I make a firm assessment, but it was interesting that the passion he has brought to his tennis over the last year and a half hasn't been as apparent recently.

I'm not a massive Juan Martin Del Potro fan, and his style isn't particularly easy on the eye, but I have to say that the way he's come back from what could have been a devastating injury has been very impressive.

And now he's up there, and I'm pretty sure that he will be top five. Will he get any higher? I'm not sure. But what we saw in Dubai was a very impressive performance and he is putting them in time and time again. He'll be knocking on the door of the 'Big Four' very soon, if he is not already doing so.

Looking ahead to Indian Wells, Djokovic is still the man to be watched. He holds the key to the tournament because at his best, he truly is the number one by some way.

Was Dubai a sign of a chink in his armour? I'm not convinced. As long as he's back at 100 per cent and just as committed and passionate as he was for the last year, he will prove himself as the best player with victory in California.

We know how close the other big names are, particularly after Australia and the epic matches with Murray and Nadal, but Djokovic won them and that is what he does: he wins the big matches against the biggest players.

I need to see a sign of that stopping before I'd go anywhere else for a pick and Andy, Rafa and Roger have some stepping up to do to stop him.

Nadal did amazingly well in Australia and will have picked up a lot of confidence from how he played, especially in the last couple of hours of that final. It is the best I've seen from Rafa in at least a year.

The signs are that things are coming together for him, but at the moment I see Djokovic coming out on top at Indian Wells with Federer and Murray not too far behind.

In Djokovic's bracket is Kevin Anderson, who defeated Marinko Matosevic to win ATP Delray Beach. Anderson is the type of player who is going to crop up now and again because he has such a huge game, and when he's on that game he's a threat to anybody. But while he is in form, he's not going to beat Djokovic.

I didn't see the Delray final but I saw what Matosevic achieved, and it was an amazing performance.

Surprises do not tend to occur in men's tennis at the moment because the aforementioned players are just so good, but I'm looking for Milos Raonic to step up and do something this weekend.

He has not come through as fast as people thought he would, but tournaments such as Indian Wells and Miami are where I look for Raonic to make a move.

Alexandr Dolgopolov flatters to deceive, and has a tough draw where he may meet Rafa in the last 16 but Kei Nishikori is worth watching. He is on a bit of a run and could meet Nicolas Almagro in the third round with possibly Tomas Berdych or Andy Roddick in the fourth round, which would not an impossible task. I'll be looking very closely at Nishikori's results.

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