Indian Wells, Drawn and Quartered: The big 4

Djokovic IW 13 TR MALT5801

Novak Djokovic is the defending champion at Indian Wells and he is to be favored, but Roger Federer did upset him at Dubai in the final so perhaps the Swiss will get him again. Last year in 2014, Federer bested the Serbian in Dubai once again and won. However, in 2014, they played each other in California in the final and Djokovic upended Federer 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(3). So will they clash again? Perhaps. But first, they have to reach the finals.

TOP HALF, FIRST QUARTER

Djokovic is certainly favored to reach the semis or beyond: he could face Benneteau in the 3rd round, Isner/Anderson in the 4th round, Cilic/Ferrer in the quarters and Murray/Nishikori in the semis.

Marin Cilic will play either Monaco/Gabashvili in the second round. Cilic hasn’t played since he easily went down at the ATP Final at O2 in November. He has been hurt, very badly. Cilic will be lucky to win a match.

David Ferrer could go down to Bernard Tomic in the third round, but while Tomic was very impressive over the Czech, Ferrer looked terrific to win Acapulco. Ferrer will reach the quarters, but he cannot take down Djokovic. No way, no how.

TOP HALF, 2ND QUARTER

Andy Murray should be just fine into the quarters except for some heroics from Pospisil and/or Kukushkin, who were quite impressive at the Davis Cup, but they could be tired. Andy also won two matches last weekend, so is he tired? No, he will have a good five days; so he should be fine

Kei Nishikori is vulnerable too as he won two matches against Canada. He also played Memphis and Acapulco so maybe his feet are sore. But he has a fine draw and should be able to reach the quarters—and then he will go down, to Murray.

BOTTOM HALF, 3RD QUARTER

Rafael Nadal is pretty darn good again: he could play Chardy in the 3rd round, Simon/Gasquet in the 4th, Raonic/Dimitrov in the quarters & maybe Federer in sthe emis.

Rafa didn’t look fantastic on clay in Rio, but then he looked better to win Buenos Aires. So is he ready to rumble? Last year at Indian Wells, he lost to Alexandr Dolgopolov in the second round. He loves the tournament and the area and won IW in 2013, so given that he is looking better and better after being hurt in June 2014 and beyond, then maybe if he catches fire he can win the tournament again.

Really, he should reach the quarters unless Giles Simon plays extremely well, which he did not in winning his matches against Germany last week.

There is only one man who could take down Nadal if he is playing reasonably is Milos Raonic, who did go down to Nishikori in the fifth set last weekend in Canada, but he was aggressive and composed. He is not afraid of Nadal and Raonic should be able out stroke the Spaniard.

4TH QUARTER

Federer was very impressive in Dubai, but he didn’t look great at the Aussie Open when he fell to Andrea Seppi. He will possibly play the Italian in the third round and he will want revenge – big time. Federer could play Roberto Bautista Agut and the Spaniard has improved quite a bit.

But no, you would think that Federer has to meet Wawrinka, who has been practicing a lot over the past few days and he will bully his foes and meet his buddy in the quarters. And then we will see who is playing well and who isn’t. Roger just owns him and will take down Stan in three sets.

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