BNP Paribas Open Preview
I wrote this preview for menstennisinfo.wordpress.com. Take a look, let me know your thoughts and who you think will do well!
The BNP Paribas Open is set to begin tomorrow, and it is the first Masters 1000 tournament of the season. Located at one of the best facilities in the world in Indian Wells, California, the winner will received one million dollars, while the other finalist will take home half a million. All the top players have descended on the facility, and the event will help set the tone for the rest of the season. Without further adieu, let’s take a look at the draw!
Rafael Nadal, the defending champion, will be looking for his fourth career title at Indian Wells. He is the top seed here this year, and last year, his surprise run to the title was one of the most impressive feats of his comeback season. His quarter is, well, stacked. Should Nadal get to the third round, he could face (28) Alexandr Dolgopolov. The Ukranian is coming off the best two weeks of his last year, where he reached the final in Rio, and the semifinal on the hard courts of Acapulco. (23) Gael Monfils and (13) Fabio Fognini loom in a potential round of 16 match.
The bottom half of the quarter has its share of strong players, including (5) Andy Murray. The Scot has failed to reach his top form this season after missing the tail end of 2013 with a bad back. In three tournaments, he has yet to reach a final. He has never had a great amount of success at this event, having lost in the second round in two of his last three tries. Murray could face either (10) Milos Raonic, the hard-serving Canadian who has been sidelined since the Australian Open, or (18) Jerzy Janowicz.
Seed most likely to fall early: (32) Pablo Andujar
Unseeded Player most likely to make a run: Igor Sijsling
Bold Prediction: Janowicz, the hard-serving Pole, will upset both Milos Raonic and Andy Murray en route to the quarterfinals.
The Pick: Nadal over Janowicz
A Swiss is the top seed in this quarter, and it’s not Roger Federer. Stanislas Wawrinka, at a career high number 3 in the world, will play his first tournament since his stunning victory over Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open final. Wawrinka could open up against Ivo Karlovic, but should he get past the Croat, he has to like his draw. (14) Mikhail Youzhny and (17) Kevin Anderson are also in Wawrinka’s section. Anderson is hot, having reached the final in his last two tournaments. Sam Querrey, the second ranked American, also finds himself in this eighth of the draw.
Roger Federer, fresh off a title in Dubai, will look to win his fifth title at the BNP Paribas Open. (19) Kei Nishikori is probably the toughest player the Swiss maestro will have to face, as (11) Tommy Haas has been hobbled by injuries as of late. (27) Dmitry Tursunov is in line to face Federer in the third round, and Federer is 3-0 all time against the Russian.
Seed most likely to fall early: (11) Tommy Haas
Unseeded Player most likely to make a run: Jeremy Chardy
Bold Prediction: Kevin Anderson, who has reached the finals in his last two tournaments, will upset (14) Mikhail Youzhny and (3) Stanislas Wawrinka, before falling to (7) Roger Federer in the quarterfinals.
The Pick: Federer over Anderson
This is the most open of the quarters, as none of the “big four” are in it. However, Tomas Berdych, the four seed, has been on a tear as of late, having won 11 consecutive matches before losing to Roger Federer in the Dubai final last weekend. He reached the semifinals at Indian Wells last year, but is he ready to take the next step? To reach the round of 16, he will probably face the winner of the (15) Grigror Dimitrov- (20) Ernests Gulbis match. The two players, who are two of the hottest in the game, have played each twice in the past three weeks, splitting them. (26) Florian Mayer is the other seed in Berdych’s section of the quarter.
(8) Richard Gasquet, the talented Frenchman, anchors the other side of the quarter. He has had some disappointing results this season, but will look to get his season going at Indian Wells. (22) Philipp Kohlschreiber and (12) John Isner are in that section as well. Isner, who reached the 2012 final at the prestigious tournament, has been hampered by a foot injury this season. Will the big American be able to put some big wins together on in home soil?
Seed Most Likely to fall early: (12) John Isner (also most likely to knock out a top player)
Unseeded Player most likely to make a run: Nikolay Davydenko
Bold Prediction: John Isner will put together some nice wins, and reach the quarterfinals, where he’ll have a shot to take down Berdych.
The Pick: Berdych over Isner
Novak Djokovic, who hasn’t won this title since 2011, will look to get his season on track. It is the first season since 2006 that he has entered Indian Wells without a title. His draw looks pretty good, but a match with red-hot (24) Marin Cilic could be set up for the fourth round. Cilic has has a resurgence this year, under the coaching of Goran Ivanisevic, and has compiled an 18-4 record this season, racking up titles in Zagreb and Delray Beach.
It was a surprise to see (6) Juan Martin del Potro in the draw, after he withdrew from Dubai with a wrist injury. But he is scheduled to play, though I can’t see him going too far with the troublesome left wrist. It leaves (9) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who has beat just one top ten player in the past year, and (21) Gilles Simon as the favorites to emerge from that section. (25) Vasek Pospisil is the other seed.
Seed Most Likely to Fall Early: (6) Juan Martin del Potro
Unseeded Player most likely to make a run: Feliciano Lopez
Bold Prediction: Juan Martin del Potro will not win a match at Indian Wells, whether he plays, or withdraws.
The Pick: Djokovic over Tsonga
Nadal over Federer
Djokovic over Berdych
Djokovic over Nadal
Who do you think will win? make a deep run? Lose early? Comment below!