During the past 3 seasons or so, Stan Wawrinka (3 ATP) has become the right guy to put the money on, especially when a high-stake ATP event is on the roll. Having played a semifinal at the Australian Open and the final at Indian Wells (both lost to Roger Federer), Wawrinka cemented his ranking status. An impressive late bloomer, he is yet to make a significant impact in the Masters 1000 compartment. Despite being featured in several over the years, he only has a single title in his pocket. His sole success in a Masters 1000 event occurred back in 2013 in Monte Carlo against his fellow compatriot Roger Federer.

It also was one of his few successes over Federer since their head-to-head status is 20-3 in favor of Federer.

Wawrinka is the no. 1 seed in Miami

A few days ago, both Djokovic (the defending champion) and Murray (the world no. 1) chose to withdraw from Miami leaving Stan Wawrinka as the next in line to take the first seed spot. The draw put Wawrinka in the first half of the board with some potential blockbusters along the way. He shared the first quarter with John Isner, Nick Kyrgios, Alexander Zverev, David Goffin and others. A tough draw for Wawrinka, with so many outdoor hard court lovers in his way. Roger Federer (the 4th seed) could take on Wawrinka in the semis.

For the 2016 US Open champion, now could be the right time to pull the trigger and take the advantage for himself.

Last year he was not on the draw which means no ranking points to defend. With no pressure hanging around, he could make a serious impact in Miami. Besides, in the event of a successful run in Miami, he will be closing the gap with the no. 2 spot in the ranking where Djokovic is sitting now. And for the Serb, the clay court means a few thousand points to defend.

Wawrinka tells a different story

Unlike his neighbors from the top of the ranking, Stan was not an early bloomer. He discovered his best tennis once he got closer to the 30 year mark. And of course, a huge impact was bringing in Magnus Norman as a coach back in 2013. It was the turning point of a seemingly wasted professional career. Since then, Wawrinka won 3 Grand Slam titles in singles, twice beating Djokovic in the final (2015 French Open, 2016 Us Open), and prevailing against Rafael Nadal (2014 Australian Open).