With Rafael Nadal having fallen down in the ranks to number 3, we could only pray that the Indian Wells draws would do the tennis world justice and place him on the opposite side as Roger Federer, where the two have been since 2005. Thankfully, Nadal is on the bottom, and number 1 Federer, of course, on the top. Despite all that hype, the ATP has been far from the Roger/Rafa show lately. In fact, the two have not met since Madrid in 2009. The men that have prevented a "Fedal" meeting are, most notably, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic, the former placed on the Swiss' half, and the latter with the Spaniard.
Fed's possible quarterfinal opponent in the 1st section of the draw is Andy Roddick. Those two vets are all too familiar with eachother, but although it may seem like a dreadful draw for the American, Andy has had a quietly impressive year thus far. And the oldies of the ATP don't stop there, as David Nalbandian, Marcos Baghdatis, Tommy Robredo and Radek Stepanek are also at the top. 12th seeded Gael Monfils could create problems for Roddick in a possible 4th round encounter, as could Nalbandian and Richard Gasquet, but 7th seed is too good on hard courts to be liable to an upset from 1 of those 3.
Quarterfinals: Federer def. Roddick
Powerful ball-bashers and speedy baseliners occupy much of quarter number 2, and the contrasting styles could create for many intriguing matchups. Headlining the section is the incredibly consistent yet often passive Andy Murray, seeded 4th, but following the Scot are heavy-hitters like Robin Soderling, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Ivo Karlovic and Igor Andreev. Murray faces dangers from David Ferrer, Andreev and Karlovic in a potential 4th rounder, while Tsonga, Soderling and Feliciano Lopez will most likely emerge on the other side.
Quarterfinals: Tsonga def. Murray
Rafael Nadal and Nikolay Davydenko are the big names here, with Fernando Verdasco, John Isner and Sam Querrey playing the supporting roles. Nadal is coming off an injury, but will most definitely be well-rested and primed for a return to prominence. Davydenko has been peaking these past few months, but suffered a hiccup in Melbourne. Verdasco has had a subtle yet successful season so far, and the two big-serving Americans, Querrey and Isner, could meet in what would be a thrilling 3rd round match.
Quarterfinals: Nadal def. Davydenko
Novak Djokovic comes in as the number 2 seed, while Marin Cilic, who seems to improve day-by-day, is 8th. Juan Carlos Ferrero is a potential danger, but the majority of his good results these past few weeks have been on clay, so he could have difficulty switching surfaces so quickly. Ivan Ljubicic and Gilles Simon will probably meet in an exciting 3rd round match, but neither are good enough to take out Cilic or Djoko. Marin is hungry for success and Indian Wells might be the perfect platform.
Quarterfinals: Cilic def. Djokovic
Semifinals: Federer def. Tsonga, Cilic def. Nadal
Finals: Federer def. Cilic