The Californian desert in Indian Wells is opening station for the 9 Masters events on the ATP circuit throughout the year. This is the first serious test after Australian open and all top players keen for good impression. The only big exceptions are 4-time tournament champion Roger Federer and world number 8 David Ferrer. They skip Indian Wells due to injury.
4-time winner and world number 1 Novak Djokovic is the leader of the draw. The Serb start 2016 in the same mode like he did last seasons with consecutive titles. Novak became winner in Doha and Melbourne, where he won his 6th Grand Slam title. He was forced to retire in his quarterfinal match in Dubai against Feliciano Lopez because of an eye infection,that affected his participation in Davis Cup, where the serbian had huge difficulties in his match against Kukushkin, but withheld and won such an important one for his country. On his way here stand Gabashvili or qualifier and potential 3rd round opponent is 27th seed Kohlschreiber. In the 4th round Novak could meet F. Lopez, who beat him in Dubai quarters, or 14th seed Roberto Bautista Agut. Is Novak recovered and what is he going to show? We will see.
If Djokovic reaches ¼ Final he could meet seriously progressing star Dominic Thiem or 8th seed Jo Wilfried Tsonga. The french start the year unsatisfactory with 7 wins and 4 losses and now on his way is american Sam Querrey, the winner in Delray Beach. Potential 4th round opponet for Tsonga is Jack Sock or rising star Dominic Thiem, who won 2 titles on february, including his first hard court tournament triumph and win over Rafael Nadal. Because of these great results the 22-year Austrian reached his highest position – no.14.
Second part on top half include 3-time champion here Rafael Nadal and Japanese Kei Nishikori. They could meet in the quarters. Kei Nishikori reached ¼ Final in Melbourne but in that stage he was stopped from the future winner Djokovic. After that he won the title in Memphis and beat 3 Americans to grab the trophy. Last weekend the best Japanese player was involved in a great match for his country in Davis cup, but lost to Andy Murray in an epic 5 set battle.
The First seeded player that Kei could meet is Steve Johnson, 4th round opponent might be 9th seed and former finalist John Isner or french Benoit Paire.
Rafa, the 4th seed, started the season positive and reached the final in Doha, but won only 3 games against Novak Djokovic. In Australia Rafa had a very bad draw and lost his first match. He was influenced by powerful striker Verdasco and suffered disappointment. In February Nadal played 2 tournaments on his favourite surface – clay, but didn’t reach the final in both of them. Here in Indian Wells he is in serious and competitive part of the draw .
His potential 3rd round opponent is Martin Klizan, who won his biggest title from ATP 500 in Rotterdam. If Rafa reaches 4th round, there will be waiting Grigor Dimitrov or Gilles Simon. The Former number 1 looks vulnerable and nobody has a fear from him.
2nd seed player is former Indian Wells finalist Andy Murray. This season Murray played only in Australian open, where he lost the final to Djokovic and after he became a father recently, in the Davis cup. In a clash against Japan, Murray gave 2 important wins for Great Britain. First seeded player he could meet is 32nd seed Joao Sousa, potential 4th round against Gael Monfils or Nick Kyrgios. Kyrgios capture his first ATP title last month in Marsille, where he made consecutive wins over Gasquet, Berdych and Cilic in the final.
Thomas Berdych is the 6th seed in the event and he didn’t finish his match against Kohlschreiber this weekend in Davis cup due to thigh injujry. It’s curious in what health he is now. Potential 2nd round blockbuster is Berdych – Juan Martin Del Potro.
In Return after a big pause, Delpo, who is former finalist in Indian Wells, shows signs to confuse the favorites and he starts his campaign against a qualifier. In the 3rd round the player that Berdych could meet is Belucci, in 4th –17th seed Tomic or 12th seed Raonic. Brisbane champion Raonic and gradually progresive Tomic could make a good battle.
3rd seed Stan Wawrinka and 8th seed Richard Gasquet could potentially meet in the 1/4 finals . Stan is the champion from 2 tournaments this year – Chennai and Dubai. Wawrinka’s way start with Tursunov or qualifier, 3rd round match against Chardy and 4th round against 2 time tournament winner in 2016 Pablo Cuevas (won in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo) or Belgium‘s David Goffin seeded no. 15.
In the 2nd round Goffin could meet a young American hope, entered with wild card Taylor Fritz,if he survives Tiafoe first.
Gasquet could face in the 3rd round the always dangerous and unpredictable Dolgopolov, in 4th – Viktor Troicki or Marin Cilic. The 10th seed Croatian played 6 tournaments this year, but still didn’t find the form that helped him to win US Open 2 years ago.
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