The tennis season moves fast and despite only winning Dubai on Saturday Roger has already flown across to California for the BNP Paribas Open which starts tomorrow.
The draw came out at 11pm last night UK time and it's a reasonable one for Fed. Couple of tricky-ish opponents early and the run in from the Quarters is where things get tough. You can see his projected / seeded opponents below:
Federer's Projected Opponents
- 1st Round: Bye
- 2nd Round: Qualifier
- 3rd Round: Monaco / Tursunov
- Round of 16: Nishikori
- Quarter Final: Wawrinka
- Semi Final: Murray / Nadal
- Final: Djokovic / Berdych
I can't really see any problems here up until the Quarter Finals for Roger here where he could potentially meet Stan. Wawrinka is playing his first tournament since his victory in Melbourne. We don't know Roger's first opponent just yet but I'd assume it's nobody that dangerous. After that I can't see Tursunov doing anything other than making it competitive and he often get described as “a poor man's Federer”. Haas is also a potential opponent but he's been struggling with injuries over the last 2 weeks so I'm not sure if we will see him.
Round of 16 could be Nishikori who of course has that victory against Roger from Madrid last year but I think that's an anomaly. The only way he wins is if Fed has a terrible day at the office, there is no other way through for him.
As for Stan well I'm not sure what to expect from him as he hasn't played for over a month. He's going to be rusty but he should be confident as he takes to the court as a Slam Champion for the first time in his career. He could meet Karlovic early doors though who is always tricky. If ever there was an opponent who can catch you off guard if you're not playing well it's definitely him. I hope we go get an all Swiss Quarter though and I still pick Fed to win in straights. Even though Stan is a new player these days, 14-1 H2H tells a story and it's always been a good matchup for Roger.
The semi finals is where the toughest match lies on paper with Nadal being Roger's projected opponent. Hopefully we see a Murray / Nadal quarter final as they haven't played each other in almost 2 years.
That's one of my most hotly anticipated matches in Indian Wells this year because I want to see how Murray matches up to Nadal these days. In the past Nadal ground him down but that was back in the pre-slam winning days for Murray. So how do they compare in 2014? I'd like it to be competitive.
Then the projected final opponent is either Djokovic or Berdych based on seedings. It's going to be interesting to see how Novak responds after losing in Dubai and coming into Indian Wells without a title.
I do think Djoker will make the final though as he has a pretty good draw, especially with Del Potro flagging with a wrist injury. He might face Dimitrov who's coming in off his win in Acapulco though and Gulbis is also right there so he's not without at least some danger.
Potential Matches to Watch Out For
- Nadal vs. Monfils, 4th Round
- Gulbis vs. Dimitrov, 3rd Round
- Federer vs. Wawrinka, QF
- Nadal vs. Murray, QF
My dark horse to watch out for is Kevin Anderson who I think can do well here. He's in form and Indian Wells isn't the easiest place to play tennis as it's in a weird sort of climate. He could take advantage of that with his big serve to win plenty of cheap points. I figure we'll see some upsets too because it's best of 3 and the conditions can make it tricky.
My predictions are Djokovic wins it and Federer makes the semi finals. I'm not ruling out a 5th title here though, court speed could be a factor so if it's in his favour anything can happen. I'm not going in with too much expectation, just hoping to see some good tennis.
Dubai was a big surprise so Roger has of course lifted fan expectation but there's no point getting too carried away. Back to back titles would be a dream but it's not a given and he's definitely not the out and out favourite. Edberg is of course back into the fold so it will be interesting to see if Fed takes his game up another notch or plays differently to how he did in Dubai.
What do you guys think of the draw? Any predictions?