ATP Indian Wells Preview and Predictions


ATP Indian Wells Preview and Predictions

First Quarter

Top Seed: Novak Djokovic

Other Seeds: David Ferrer, Marin Cilic, Kevin Anderson, John Isner, Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, Julian Benneteau, Bernard Tomic

Sleeper: Thanassi Kokkinakis

Defending champion Djokovic looks like the clear favorite to make it through his quarter; a potential quarterfinal matchup with David Ferrer doesn’t seem to challenging, and he knows how to handle big servers like Isner and Anderson.  The player to watch is Cilic, making his first appearance since his stunning U.S Open victory. While it’s unlikely he’ll be able to replicate that form after struggling with a shoulder injury, his play here could be an indicator of what we can expect from the newest Slam winner going forward this season. Young Aussies Tomic (14-6 this season) and Kokkinakis will look to continue their solid season, with each having a chance to make a deep run.

Prediction: Djokovic def. Tomic

Jul 31, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; Kei Nishikori hits a forehand against Lukas Lacko (not pictured) on day four of the Citi Open tennis tournament at the Fitzgerald Tennis Center. Nishikori won 6-2, 2-6, 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Second Quarter

Top Seed: Andy Murray

Other Seeds: Kei Nishikori, Feliciano Lopez, Ernests Gulbis, Fabio Fognini, Pablo Cuevas, Philipp Kohlschreiber, Fernando Verdasco

Sleeper: Dominic Thiem

More from Lob and Smash

Murray has had an up-and-down season, and with Nishikori looming at the bottom of the draw, it won’t get any easier for him here. Look for the two to meet in what should be a highly entertaining quarterfinal clash, assuming they can navigate threats like Lopez, Gulbis, and Fognini. Amercian Mardy Fish will make his return after missing two years with heart issues and struggles with anxiety, meeting Ryan Harrison in the first round.

Prediction: Nishikori def. Murray

Sep 1, 2014; New York, NY, USA; Milos Raonic (CAN) serves to Kei Nishikori (JPN) on day eight of the 2014 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Third Quarter

Top Seed: Rafael Nadal

Other Seeds: Milos Raonic, Grigor Dimitrov, Gilles Simon, Tommy Robredo, Richard Gasquet, Santiago Giraldo, Jeremy Chardy

Sleeper: Alexandr Dolgopolov

Nadal clearly drew the toughest quarter, with young guns Raonic and Dimitrov standing in his way. The latter are slated to meet in the quarterfinals, and for Nadal to even reach that point he’ll likely need to go through Richard Gasquet and a streaking Gilles Simon. Nadal has looked solid but vulnerable this season, and both Raonic and Dimitrov surely realize that this draw gives them a real shot to make a serious run at the title. Keep an eye on Dolgopolov; he made a run to the semis last year, knocking off Nadal and Raonic en route.

Prediction: Raonic def. Nadal

Mar 26, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Roger Federer hits a forehand against Kei Nishikori (not pictured) on day ten of the Sony Open at Crandon Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Fourth Quarter

Top Seed: Roger Federer

Other Seeds: Stan Wawrinka, Tomas Berdych, Roberto Bautista Agut, Ivo Karlovic, Lukas Rosol, Leonardo Mayer, Andreas Seppi

Sleeper: Jerzy Janowicz

Four-time champion Roger Federer could face a big challenge as soon as the second round, with the talented Jerzy Janowicz his likely second round foe. After that, he could get a shot at revenge against his Australian Open conqueror, Andreas Seppi. The top half of the quarter is loaded with big hitter, with Wawrinka and Berdych having to contend with Karlovic, Rosol, and Sam Querrey. Querrey, Steve Johnson, and a returning Jack Sock represent the best chance for an American to make a run, however unlikely.

Prediction: Federer def. Berdych

It’s time for one of the tour’s rising stars to truly break through by finally winning a Masters title. Nishikori and Raonic are playing at a very high level, and thanks to manageable draws, they should each have a chance to work their way into the tournament and prepare themselves for a marquee clash against one of the Big 4. Nishikori has proven that he has the physical and mental toughness needed to win big matches, and Raonic has steadily build a strong, all-around game to compliment his booming serve. Look for the two to continue their burgeoning rivalry in the finals.

Nishikori def. Djokovic, Raonic def. Federer

Nishikori def. Raonic

Next: Indian Wells Draw Analysis