Men's Look Forward: Indian Wells [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

Men's Look Forward: Indian Wells

tennischick
03-10-2005, 05:41 PM
Men's Look Forward: Indian Wells

There will, it appears, be no skipping out on the men's side.

The women's field at Indian Wells isn't bad, really, but you'd never know that it's the seventh-biggest event on the Tour. For the men, it's not a problem. The top 17 men are here. #18 Nicolas Massu is out -- but he's hurt. That leaves Rafael Nadal, #30 last week, as the top player to voluntarily skip the event. Hard to complain about a tournament with 28 of the top 30 in the field!

Though it's not exactly what you'd call a balanced draw. #1 seed Roger Federer, after all, is supposed to face Gaston Gaudio in the quarterfinal, while #2 Lleyton Hewitt would go against Guillermo Coria, #3 Andy Roddick deals with Carlos Moya, and #4 seed Marat Safin is drawn to face last year's finalist Tim Henman. But there is no cure for that except seeding by surfaces.

Because the field is so strong, we of course have a lot of fairly noteworthy unseeded players -- guys like Mardy Fish, Hicham Arazi (who will finally be making his first appearance of the year), Xavier Malisse (though he could yet be promoted to a seed), Rainer Schuettler (assuming he's still noteworthy after his horrid 2004), Florian Mayer, Juan Carlos Ferrero (who, stunningly, will soon be having to qualify for events such as this), Fabrice Santoro, and Sjeng Schalken.

The wildcard list is rather fascinating. The organizers couldn't find room for Wayne Arthurs in the list -- but they did award direct entry to Mark Philippoussis (who, frankly, would be better off playing qualifying, where he might actually have a competitive match one of these days). Gael Monfils earned his almost obligatory direct entry. James Blake was given a well-deserved free admission. Other wildcards went to Alex Kuznetsov and Donald Young.

Noteworthy Early Round Matches

Because the 32 seeds all get first round byes, we'll want to look at second round matches as well as first rounders, but let's start with the action in the opening round, marching down the draw from the top.

Gambill vs. Fish. Two big strong Americans. Both have been Top 20; neither is near that ranking now. On the whole, Fish is in better form -- but he can't seem to stay healthy....

Berdych vs. Arazi. A horrid assignment for Arazi on his return to action -- but if anyone can drive Berdych crazy, he can.

Bjorkman vs. Labadze. They're both slumping. This is a big match for Labadze, who was last year's semifinalist. But Bjorkman is good at dealing with big strong serves; this looks like trouble for the Georgian.

Malisse vs. Mirnyi. Strength versus strength: The Malisse return versus the Beast's serve. The surface ought to favor Malisse -- but this is Malisse we're talking about, so who knows?

Enqvist vs. Beck. Extreme power versus extreme speed. Beck is in much better form, but this surface may be too slow for him to really do damage to Enqvist.

Ferrero vs. Andreev. There is only one Masters where Ferrero has a losing record: This one. He has, in fact, only one win in four tries. Don't expect much.

Schalken vs. Llodra. Sjeng Schalken in Davis Cup seemed to show that he was finally back at full strength. If so, Llodra had better be ready....

We won't talk quite as much about the second round matches, since of course some of them won't come off. But some of the interesting possibilities ahead of us include: Ancic vs. Berdych, Volandri vs. Ljubicic (on a pretty neutral surface), Labadze (if he lasts that long) vs. Thomas Johansson, Malisse or Mirnyi vs. Gaudio, Mayer vs. Canas, Robredo vs. Monfils, Moya vs. Ferrero (an interesting contest, involving two guys who didn't take part in Spain's Davis Cup loss), Santoro vs. Joachim Johansson (talk about contrast!), Davydenko vs. Blake (let's hope they left plenty of time in the schedule for that match!), Rusedski vs. Gonzalez (that one, on the other hand, could be very quick), Schalken vs. Hrbaty (the surface helps Schalken, as does the required nature of this event. Whether it helps enough is another matter).

The Rankings

Once upon a time, the author owned a Newton message pad. (Don't say it; it seemed like a good idea at the time.) The internal solitaire game had an interesting habit: If you won a high enough fraction of the games (roughly one game in five over a span of 150 games), it would arbitrarily and capriciously cut your score in half.

Maybe we need to do that to Roger Federer. If we did, he would still be #4 in the world. As it is, he's #1, and an extremely strong #1 -- even if he fails completely in his Indian Wells title defence, and Lleyton Hewitt wins the whole thing, he'll still be #1 by more than the equivalent of a whole Slam.

In other words, there won't be any motion at the top of the rankings.

There might be some at #2, though. Hewitt (who has won this event before) leads Andy Roddick by more than 200 safe points, meaning that Roddick needs at least a final to get to #2, but it could happen. Indeed, since they meet in the semifinal, they could meet with the #2 ranking on the line: If Hewitt wins that match, he's #2; if Roddick wins it and the tournament, he is #2.

Roddick is under at least some pressure from below, too. He's about 400 safe points ahead of Marat Safin -- but if Safin wins the whole thing and Roddick doesn't make the quarterfinal, then Safin is #3 and Roddick #4.

There will be no crossing the thousand point gap between #4 Safin and #5 Coria. But we have a real contest for the #5 spot. #5 Coria has quarterfinalist points to defend, #6 Henman has finalist points, #7 Moya has nothing, #8 Gaudio has Round of 32 points. That means that Coria's lead over Moya is only a bit more than 100 points. Gaudio is 50 points behind that, Henman almost 100 points behind that. Still, those four could end up in any order, and David Nalbandian -- who has nothing to defend -- could also get into the act.

#9 Andre Agassi, with semifinalist points to defend, is in danger of once again falling out of the Top Ten. We show him only about 40 points ahead of Joachim Johansson in safe points. If he loses before Johansson, he's going to be #11.

Interestingly, no one from #11 to #20 had more than 75 points to defend; we could see a lot of motion in that range -- or almost nine.

Three guys below #20 have more than 100 points to defend. #23 Juan Ignacio Chela has quarterfinalist points to defend, and could fall below #30 with an early loss. James Blake also has quarterfinalist points, and he's already down to #151; he could fall 70 or so places with a bad result. And then there is 2004 semifinalist Labadze. He comes in at #72, with almost half his points from this one result; a first round loss would leave him at around #140.

Key Matches

As we saw above, the two players with the most on the line are Blake and Labadze. Labadze faced a tough route consisting of Bjorkman, then Thomas Johansson, then David Nalbandian. Sounds like there will be at least one Match of the Day in there somewhere.

Blake's path isn't much better: Alberto Martin, then Nikolay Davydenko, then Fernando Gonzalez. That's enough to tire almost anybody out....

We'd also note that Roger Federer, though he leads the Race, is still somewhat lacking in required events points this year. If he wants to hold his top spot, he'll have to change that. His route isn't bad in the early rounds: Fish or Gambill, then #25 seed Radek Stepanek. Then comes -- believe it -- another meeting with #13 seed Ivan Ljubicic (unless Ljubicic loses to countryman and doubles partner Mario Ancic). Then, theoretically, Gaston Gaudio, though one-time nemesis David Nalbandian might be a better bet. Then -- Marat Safin, who handled him in Australia.

The bottom half semifinal we've already mentioned: Roddick versus Hewitt, with the #2 ranking possibly on the line.

Looking at the contest for the #10 spot, between Agassi and Joachim Johansson, we note that Agassi's path is Starace - #21 Pavel - #5 Coria - #2 Hewitt - #3 Roddick; Johansson's is Santoro - #24 Lopez - #7 Moya - #3 Roddick - #2 Hewitt. Looks like it's reasonably fair; neither is likely to be too thrilled.

Angle Queen
03-10-2005, 05:45 PM
Excellent bit of analysis, TC. Thanks.

I'll be watching the Malisse v. Mirnyi match with most interest as both men (mostly Max but the X-Man is catchin' up quick) fall into my second tier of guys to root for.

tennischick
03-10-2005, 05:49 PM
source: www.tennisnews.com

Denaon
03-10-2005, 05:52 PM
wow tennischick, enjoyable reading and great work of analysis!
thanks :wavey:

tennischick
03-10-2005, 05:53 PM
i didn't write it. it's written by a guy named Bob Larson (and his associates). his website is www.tennisnews.com

Angle Queen
03-10-2005, 05:55 PM
i didn't write it. it's written by a guy named Bob Larson (and his associates).Such an honest lass. Still appreciate you bringing it to our attention. :)

Denaon
03-10-2005, 05:55 PM
i didn't write it. it's written by a guy named Bob Larson (and his associates). his website is www.tennisnews.com
:lol::haha: ok so, thanks tennischick for this article, good choice :yeah:

tennischick
03-10-2005, 06:01 PM
you're both welcome. and next time i'll remember to put the website/credit at the end of the opening post. i forget that there are newbies here who don't know about Bob :wavey:

adeegee
03-10-2005, 06:03 PM
[B]That leaves Rafael Nadal, #30 last week, as the top player to voluntarily skip the event. Hard to complain about a tournament with 28 of the top 30 in the field!

Nadal's withdrawal means I've got many complaints! :mad::mad::mad:

tennischick
03-10-2005, 06:06 PM
what, you lost more vcash? :p

the cat
03-10-2005, 09:14 PM
Don't feel bad Angle and Denaon. I've fallen for that before as well and credited TC for something she didn't write. Bob Larson is a good tennis journalist. But I bet TC could write tennis previews and reports just as well as he can. :)

tennischick
03-10-2005, 09:36 PM
actually yes i can :kiss:

the cat
03-10-2005, 09:38 PM
I thought so. :kiss:

Rogiman
03-10-2005, 09:40 PM
I doubt it :kiss:

vaiva
03-10-2005, 09:49 PM
I like to :kiss:

tennischick
03-10-2005, 09:59 PM
i am a good :kiss:er

Rogiman
03-10-2005, 10:01 PM
When are we going to be through with all this ass :kiss: ing...?

tennischick
03-10-2005, 10:01 PM
ass:kiss:ing can be fun!

Rogiman
03-10-2005, 10:03 PM
You reckon? :kiss:

vaiva
03-10-2005, 10:11 PM
When are we going to be through with all this ass :kiss: ing...?

Have a :kiss: contest

No admins allowed

Rogiman
03-10-2005, 10:13 PM
Has there ever been such a long off-topic in GM? :kiss:

tennischick
03-10-2005, 10:14 PM
how long is it? :kiss:

vaiva
03-10-2005, 10:18 PM
when I :kiss: I never keep time.

sorry

Rogiman
03-10-2005, 10:22 PM
I don't like :kiss: ing one spot for too long...

tennischick
03-10-2005, 10:23 PM
neither do we ..you gotta vary the :kiss:ing

vaiva
03-10-2005, 10:25 PM
I see TC hasn't shown you all her :kiss:ing tricks yet

Rogiman
03-10-2005, 10:26 PM
As far as :kiss: ing goes TC likes me to take the initiative

tennischick
03-10-2005, 10:27 PM
you're not supposed to :kiss: and tell :mad:

vaiva
03-10-2005, 10:30 PM
/me points fingers and :lol:s

Rogiman
03-10-2005, 10:30 PM
You're lucky I've only revealed the :kiss: ing part :devil:

tennischick
03-10-2005, 10:32 PM
You're lucky I've only revealed the :kiss: ing part :devil:
say more and i'll :kiss: you off :devil:

Rogiman
03-10-2005, 10:35 PM
:kiss: my... cheek, chick! :mad:

tennischick
03-10-2005, 10:56 PM
which one, left or right? :kiss:

Rogiman
03-10-2005, 10:57 PM
which one, left or right? :kiss:

I sense :kiss: ing stage will be over soon, maybe we should get a private room :devil:

World Beater
03-11-2005, 02:35 AM
Larson is being given too much credit...beck would like a slower surface against the indoor monster that is Enqvist

Kristen
03-11-2005, 02:45 AM
Bjorkman vs. Labadze. They're both slumping. This is a big match for Labadze, who was last year's semifinalist. But Bjorkman is good at dealing with big strong serves; this looks like trouble for the Georgian.
I wonder what planet he (bob) is from :rolleyes:Of course, I hope Jonas remembers how to play... but he just played Irakli and lost to him. Lets hope Jurgens DC form has rubbed off on Irakli momentarily.

*Jurgen and Irakli train under Karl-Heinz Wetter...
edit: :kiss:

robinhood
03-11-2005, 05:54 AM
Roja all the way....
Can't believe I have to go away next week and won't have ESPN channels!!

Puschkin
03-11-2005, 07:12 AM
quoting the article

Ferrero vs. Andreev. There is only one Masters where Ferrero has a losing record: This one. He has, in fact, only one win in four tries. Don't expect much.

I disagree. My (unconfirmed) feeling is that JCF will do quite well.

quoting the article

We'd also note that Roger Federer, though he leads the Race, is still somewhat lacking in required events points this year. If he wants to hold his top spot, he'll have to change that.

OMG: These journalists. :devil: What do they want? If he is 3000 points up in the entry-ranking, they complain about boredom. If he is "only" 2000 points ahead, he is lacking the required points. The same can be said about the race.

Ferrero Forever
03-11-2005, 07:14 AM
yeah i disagree too, i reckon ferrero will get to at least the 4th round.

Adman
03-11-2005, 11:08 AM
Thanks for the information:

I hope that Safin doesn't win the tournament, due to the fact that I want Andy to stay No 3.

perrygreen
03-11-2005, 11:37 AM
Thanks for the information:

I hope that Safin doesn't win the tournament, due to the fact that I want Andy to stay No 3.


Don't worry. Given Safin's usual terrible shape after big tournaments :( and lack of consistency and focus etc., I would be happy if he can pass 3rd round:o. :rolleyes:

warfreakbix
03-11-2005, 11:45 AM
well, there's no need to announce it for all to read perrygreen. ;)

perrygreen
03-11-2005, 01:58 PM
well, there's no need to announce it for all to read perrygreen. ;)


:tape:Guess most people knew that already :o (Don't lose your 1st match Marat as I can only see you play from the 3rd round (fingers crossed) :rolleyes:

Skyward
03-11-2005, 06:59 PM
Men's Look Forward: Indian Wells

We'd also note that Roger Federer, though he leads the Race, is still somewhat lacking in required events points this year.

What eventS? Only one required event has been completed so far. Losing SF gives a player third best amount of points anyway.

Saumon
03-11-2005, 07:03 PM
:tape:Guess most people knew that already :o (Don't lose your 1st match Marat as I can only see you play from the 3rd round (fingers crossed) :rolleyes:
Marat wont lose 1st round against that Bye guy!! :devil:

Coleburg83
03-11-2005, 07:49 PM
I like how Alberto Martin is all of a sudden considered a dangerous hard court player when he's matched up against Blake.

Martin and Davydenko is not a tough draw for a #151 player in the world, that wild card was a joke.

*clears throat*

Daniel
03-12-2005, 01:22 AM
nice article :)

tennischick
03-12-2005, 01:57 AM
I like how Alberto Martin is all of a sudden considered a dangerous hard court player when he's matched up against Blake.
oh Obsessed One, i believe that Martin making it to the finals of the Brazil Open is what qualified him for the compliment :o

Sjengster
03-12-2005, 02:28 AM
I like how Alberto Martin is all of a sudden considered a dangerous hard court player when he's matched up against Blake.

Martin and Davydenko is not a tough draw for a #151 player in the world, that wild card was a joke.

*clears throat*

And which of those two players, Martin or Blake, has the better record against the winner of last year's US Open series? I also think Davydenko will be tough for Blake, the American beat him quite comfortably a few years back at the US Open but "God" has improved dramatically and Blake is still struggling to get back to his former level. There should be a lot of wonderful elegant hitting and variation of pace from both of them in that match.

tennischick
03-12-2005, 03:35 AM
And which of those two players, Martin or Blake, has the better record against the winner of last year's US Open series? I also think Davydenko will be tough for Blake, the American beat him quite comfortably a few years back at the US Open but "God" has improved dramatically and Blake is still struggling to get back to his former level. There should be a lot of wonderful elegant hitting and variation of pace from both of them in that match.
which makes it worthy of a sentence in an otherwise lengthy analysis ;)

tennischick
03-12-2005, 01:12 PM
Blake spanks Martin 6-2 6-3 :o