Wednesday, 6 March 2013

ATP Indian Wells: Preview and Predictions

For the first time sine Wimbledon last year, the big four are all in the draw.  Let's take a look at how the draw has panned out for the next couple of weeks in the desert.  Note that the 32 seeds all have byes into round two.

QUARTER 1 - N.Djokovic (1) v J.W.Tsonga (8)
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
Novak Djokovic goes into Indian Wells at the same position as the womens top seed, Victoria Azarenka having yet to lose a tour match in 2013.  He is also the big favourite for the title and will open up against Fabio Fognini or Aljaz Bedene.  His first projected seed is Grigor Dimitrov, which would be a fun match in round three, followed by Sam Querrey in the round of 16.  The American has not played his best tennis in 2013 and I think he could come undone to Marinko Matosevic, who defeated him in Memphis.  The other seed in this section, Juan Monaco, has yet to win a match this year.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga made a promising start down under, but has suffered some surprising losses of late, losing early in both Rotterdam and Dubai.  He did win Marseille in between those two tournaments and he should have no trouble whatsoever making the round of 16.  The first seed he could play is Mardy Fish, who is making his comeback following months away from the game with heart problems.  It is great to see Mardy just back on the tennis court as it looked likely he may have to retire from the game.  If Tsonga makes the fourth round, he is likely to meet the winner of a tasty third rounder between Marin Cilic and Milos Raonic.

1st Round Predictions - Matosevic to beat Robredo in 3 sets and Blake to beat Haase in 2 tight sets

Moo's Quarter-Final Prediction - Djokovic/Tsonga

QUARTER 2 - A.Murray (3) v J.M.Del Potro (7)
Andy Murray
Andy Murray will play his first tournament since losing to Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open final.  Murray has not done well in Indian Wells of late having lost his first match here for the past two years.  This time round, he will play Evgeny Donskoy or Tatsuma Ito.  His first challenge is likely to come in round four where the highest seeds residing are Kei Nishikori and Alexandr Dolgopolov.  Nishikori has made a very solid start to the year and could certainly threaten a rusty Murray...

Juan Martin Del Potro has a tough draw as he could meet Nikolay Davydenko in round two and then his Australian Open conqueror, Jeremy Chardy in round three.  Chardy beat Del Potro in five sets in Melbourne, but I am confident if they met again, Del Potro is playing much better now and would be able to exact revenge.  Nicolas Almagro and Tommy Haas are the two other seeds in this section and I would back the latter, to meet Del Potro in the fourth round.

1st Round Predictions - Donskoy to beat Ito in 2 sets, Johnson to beat Andujar in 2 sets and Davydenko to beat Mathieu in 2 sets

Moo's Quarter-Final Prediction - Murray/Del Potro

QUARTER 3 - T.Berdych (6) v D.Ferrer (4)
Tomas Berdych
Tomas Berdych played a great tournament in Dubai as he defeated Roger Federer on his way to the final.  He has an opportunity to boost his ranking through Indian Wells and Miami having struggled at both tournaments last year.  His first seed, Florian Mayer is unlikely to bother the big hitting Czech, but a host of talented players could await in the round of 16.  Jerzy Janowicz and Richard Gasquet are the other two seeds but could be tested by David Nalbandian and Bernard Tomic respectively.  As much as I dislike Nalbandian, he has a good opportunity to go deep in the draw; having made the quarter-finals here last year, he needs to do well to maintain the ranking points.

David Ferrer is not having a bad 2013 at all with 23 wins, but two big losses to Novak Djokovic (in Melbourne) and Rafael Nadal (in Acapulco) have dominated his year to date.  His first match will be against Victor Hanescu or Kevin Anderson.  I think there could be some upsets in this section as Ferrer's first projected seed, Fernando Verdasco will struggle to get past a very solid these days, Jarkko Nieminen and both Phillip Kohlschreiber and Gilles Simon could be troubled by the unseeded, Benoit Paire.  The Frenchman has struggled for form since making the final in Montpellier last month, but remains a flashy and dangerous player.

1st Round Predictions - Troicki to beat Goffin in 3 sets, Nalbandian to beat Granollers in 2 tight sets, Tomic to beat Bellucci in 3 sets and Nieminen to beat Sijsling in 3 sets

Moo's Quarter-Final Prediction - Berdych/Ferrer

QUARTER 4 - R.Nadal (5) v R.Federer (2)
Roger Federer
The big news regarding the mens draw was which quarter would Mr Nadal land in... and the answer is Roger Federer's.  The Swiss world number two has a tough draw as he could meet Julien Benneteau in the third round, who has recorded two wins over Fed including one last month in Rotterdam.  That also does not include one of the best matches of 2012 at Wimbledon when Benneteau was just two points from a huge upset win.  Federer could then meet his fellow compatriot, Stanislas Wawrinka in the fourth round; Wawrinka has had some devastating losses this year including losing out to Djokovic in the match of the year so far in Melbourne.  His form has generally been much more solid though.  Of course, I have not even mentioned last year's Indian Wells finalist, John Isner yet who could meet Wawrinka in the third round, but his form has been very patchy in 2013, which is why I am favouring Wawrinka.

Rafael Nadal makes his return to hard courts in Indian Wells where he will meet the winner of a first round match between Go Soeda and Ryan Harrison.  Nadal's form on the clay was good following such a long break, but the real test will be on the hard courts.  He has drawn a perfect draw, which should hopefully give way to a clash with Federer in the quarter-finals.  The highest seed he could face before the quarters is Janko Tipsarevic, who has lost his last four matches.  It is thanks to Nadal that Tipsarevic has been downgraded from a top eight seeding, which really makes this tournament look so much stronger.  Andreas Seppi and Mikhail Youzhny are also seeded in this section.

1st Round Predictions - Malisse to beat Mayer in 2 tight sets and Rosol to beat Hewitt in 3 sets

Moo's Quarter-Final Prediction - Nadal/Federer

Final Prediction - Djokovic d. Berdych
This is the first time in a while where I have predicted all top eight seeds to make the quarter-finals, but there is a big wedge in talent between them and the chasing pack.  I have gone for a repeat of the Dubai final and no surprises, I am backing Djokovic for the win.  I think Murray will fall to Del Potro in the quarter-finals as I believe he will be very rusty and have much more success in Miami.  I think Federer will get past Benneteau and Nadal, but another match-up against Berdych may be a step too far, that is of course assuming he beats Ferrer in the quarter-finals.

My full predictions for the mens draw in Indian Wells will be released tomorrow when the qualifiers are placed

1 comment:

  1. Love your blog! I bet tennis court cleaning was required after all of those games!