The first Masters series event of the season gets underway tomorrow, and all top 20 players on the ATP tour will be competeing in the pivotal event. The BNP Paribas Open draw was realeased yesterday. To see it click: http://www.atpworldtour.com/tennis/en/common/TrackIt.asp?file=/1/posting/2009/404/mds.pdf
Rafael Nadal goes into Indian Wells as the number 1 ranked player in the world after winning the Australian Open and helping Spain triumph in their Davis Cup first round last weekend. The first seed that Nadal could play is Dmitry Tursunuv, a Russian who can be dangerous on hardcourts. Argentines Davod Nalbandian and Juan Martin del Potro also look to be a threat. Frenchman Gael Monfils defeated Nadal once on hardcourts earlier this year in Doha, so an upset of the Spaniard by Monfils wouldn't be too surprising. Tomas Berdych and Marat Safin also look to break through and stir up the draw.
Predicted Quarterfinals- Nadal def. Monfils
Novak Djokovic is the highest seeded player in the second quarter, but numerous dangerous players await him. Andy Roddick, David Ferrer, Sanislas Wawrinka and dangerous Czech Radek Stepanek all have good chances at making the semifinals. Stepanek already has 17 wins this season and 2 titles, which is tied for the best on tour. American, Mardy Fish is seeded 20th and has a tour title under his belt from Delray Beach last week. In the end, my first big upset comes in this quarter from Radek Stepanek, but fan favorite Andy Roddick is headed for the semis.
Predicted Quarterfinals- Roddick def. Stepanek
The 3rd quarter looks like the most exciting one, with world number 4 Andy Murray attempting to win his first Indian Wells title. Standing in his way are Marin Cilic, Gilles Simon, Jo Wilfried Tsonga and Tommy Robredo. Cilic won big for Croatia in the Davis Cup last weekend and looked stellar doing it, while Simon was points away from upsetting Novak Djokovic in the Dubai semfinals 2 weeks ago. Robredo already has an impressiva 18 wins this season, racking up 2 titles as well. Tsonga also has 2 wins this season, but has a tour best 21 wins so far. Many people seem to be a threat to Murray, but the Scot, who has only lost 1 match this season, is just too strong for any of his competitors.
Predicted Quarterfinals- Murray def. Tsonga
Roger Federer comes into Indian Wells not ranked number 1 for the first time in 5 years and he has a back injury that has been knagging him for the past few months. Federer's loss to Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open final might still be in his mind, but the Swiss knows how to turn on the power button when needed. Aussie Open semifinalist, Fernando Verdasco is in this quarter and is one of the players that is being picked by many to make a run. Nikolay Davydenko, who has never beaten Federer won in Miami last year, and is always a threat on the hard courts. Richard Gasquet and Robin Soderling could also make good runs, but Federer has a 47-3 lifetime record against Verdasco, Davydenko, Blake, Gonzalez, Gasquet and Soderling. Ivo Karlovic defeated Federer in their last meeting in the summer of 2008 in Cincinnati, but Federer, who has a rumored coaching affiliation with Daren Cahill, will have to much will and determination to get back his number 1 ranking to be upset by any of the players in this quarter.
Predicted Quarterfinals- Federer def. Davydenko
Rafael Nadal def. Andy Roddick
Roger Federer def. Andy Murray
Federer def. Nadal