ATP Masters 1000Indian WellsRoger Federer

Indian Wells Draw 2018: Federer Comes in as Top Seed

The Indian Wells draw took place yesterday and Roger heads into the tournament as the defending champion and Number One seed. The Swiss also brings in a 12-match winning streak to the BNP Paribas Open and after the customary bye in the opening round, he'll face either Ryan Harrison or Federico Delbonis. You can see his projected opponents below:

Federer's Projected Opponents

  • Round 1: Bye
  • Round 2: Ryan Harrison / Federico Delbonis
  • Round 3: Filip Krajinovic
  • Round 4: Fabio Fognini
  • Quarter Final: Dominic Thiem
  • Semi Final: Grigor Dimitrov
  • Final: Marin Cilic

Full printable .PDF draw.

Thoughts on the Draw


First up is either American Ryan Harrison or the Argentine Federico Delbonis who scored a big win against a hobbled Federer back in 2013 at the German Open in Hamburg.

I'd pick Harrison to come through here as Delbonis is transitioning over from clay and the American has made the fourth round here twice making it one of his better Masters 1000 events. It should be a fairly comfortable match for Roger but Harrison has been improving of late,  breaking into the Top 50 aided by a better attitude on court and his serve and forehand can be dangerous.

Round three sees  Filip Krajinovic as a possible opponent and he comes in fresh off making the Semi-Finals in Dubai. The Serb has had some pretty good wins of late putting him nicely inside the top 30 but he's not that experienced at this level, with only one top 10 win and aside from making the final last year in Bercy, he's never been past Round 2 at any Masters 1000 event. Paire is also is in this section but I wouldn't like to predict whether he comes through.

Fabio Fogini could then be the fourth round opponent, he's another player who's coming straight from clay having won the Sao Paulo Open. Like Paire, he's wildly unpredictable but there's not too much in his way. It's likely he'll face a Frenchman with Benneteau, Chardy and Mannarino all in this little section but none of them are in great form.

Into the Quarters and Thiem is the seeded opponent. His hard court form is pretty sketchy though and he's never been past the Quarter Finals on a Masters 1000 off clay so it's tough to say whether he comes through. Berdych, Chung, Karlovic and Shapovalov are all in his section and I'd probably pick Berdych to come through if he's at 100%.

Should Fed make the semi-final he'll keep his Number 1 ranking and we may see a rematch of the Rotterdam Final as Dimitrov is the second seed in this half of the draw. After struggling in Australia his form is also up in the air and he lost to Jaziri in Dubai. From this quarter I like Kevin Anderson's chances, conditions heavily suit his game in Indian Wells and he's been decent form, so he'd be my pick.

As for the final Cilic is the Number 2 seed but I think he's been carrying a niggle and his half is quite interesting with Djokovic, Nishikori, Del Potro, Zverev, Sock and Raonic all in there.

Elsewhere in the Draw

The other half of the draw is an interesting one with Djokovic making what feels like another comeback after he aggravated his elbow down under and had a minor op in February. He's got quite a tough run with Nishikori, Del Potro, Cilic and Zverev all in his way should he make the final.

I'm not sure what to expect from him either, you'd have to think if his elbow is feeling good, then his fitness will be tip-top, it's just a question of whether he's hit enough balls under stress to come out on top against some of the better players. So definitely intriguing to see what he can produce here as a 5-time champion.

Federer's First Practice

Hitting the Britain's Numero Uno Kyle Edmund. Will he replicate his form from Australia?

What do you guys think of the draw? As always let me know in the comments.


Huge fan of Roger Federer. I watch all his matches from Grand Slam level right down to ATP 250. When I'm not watching or writing about tennis I play regularly myself and have a keen interest in tactics, equipment and technicalties of the sport.

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    1. I actually like them. Look better than the crap he wore in AO.

      BTW, Fed is belting those FH and BH. Looking good

  1. Wish Fed had better opponents. Not taking anything away from Fed but AO18 was a downer from quality point of view. Fed produces good tennis, not saying he didn’t, but would have loved for him to have the type of opposition he faced in 2017 AO.

    Obviously, he has to beat who is on the other side of the net and its not in his hands as to who that will be.

    After the run he has had from beginning of 2017, we are in the habit of expecting more and more and I am sure Fed himself wants good challenge for the win.

    Then again, in tennis, anything can happen. On paper looks good draw if you are just wanting him to win by hook or by crook. I personally want Fed to not just win but win by playing tough matches. So I hope the matches he will get, the opponents give good account of themselves before losing 😉 !!

  2. So in a Masters 1000 the finalist gets 600 points and a semi finalist gets 360. I read somewhere that Federer needs 700 points after IW and Miami to ensure he stays at #1 until the start of the clay season, is that correct? So any combination of points in these 2 tournaments would really help his ranking. Nadal is defending a huge amount of points in the clay season and Federer none. Wow, what a seesaw this year could be!

    1. Its safe to say it will be either Fed or Nadal throughout the year. No one will be able to catch them this year, even if both has really bad rest of the year.

      Ppl talk about WTA being weak. This is shameful on men’s side.

      I think even if Fed was to wind up the season now, he will still be #2 at most by the year end, heck he could have been probably #2 even if had not played at all this year probably.

      1. Have a read up on how year round ranking points work.

        Aside from that, I’m looking forward to this year. Few question marks over the heads of some great players so looking forward to see how that unfolds.

        Each to their own though. Ultimately hope that Fed can retain his Wimbledon crown and give a better account of himself at the final GS of the year!

    2. I read this à few days ago :
      Roger Federer’s stay on the throne of the ATP rankings may be longer than initially expected. Nadal’s  withdrawal from Acapulco, Indian Wells and Miami ensures that Federer will be uninterrupted in his continuity.

      The difference between them on Monday, 5th March, will be 600 points since the Spaniard lost 300 points after not being able to defend his points in Acapulco. The Spaniard will lose a further 690 points across Indian Wells and Miami.

      If Federer loses in the Indian Wells quarter-finals or earlier – Nadal would be no. 1 again on Monday, 19th March. If Federer wins Indian Wells and Miami titles – The Swiss would secure his no.
      1 spot until the grass-court season in June. There would also be a difference of 1,290 points between them after Miami. On clay, Nadal will have to defend around 4,680 points, and even if he wins five titles (Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Madrid, Rome and Roland Garros) he would not regain the world no.1 still. Federer can also be no. 1 after Miami by winning one of the two titles; by reaching the final in one tournament and by reaching the quarters in the other, or by reaching the semi-finals of both tournaments. If Federer wins Indian Wells title and skips Miami – What would happen? The Swiss would still secure the top ranking until Rome, with a difference of just 35 points!

  3. well,it is good that both Delpo and Djokovic are (for once)in the other half.So if Fed reaches the final he will only play one of them and he will be battle hardened by then.Berdych and Chung are in Theims quarter but again he only has to play one
    of them.Chungs form has been patchy since AO,Theim not great either ,Berdych could come through but that head to head
    must be demoralising but if Fed is slightly off Berdy could be very dangerous.Shapovalov also in that quarter I think.Could
    be some good matches there.
    I think Delpo will make the final in the bottom half.A quarter final between him and Djokovic could be good.We will certainly
    find out where djokovics game is unless Delpo decides to role over.The sight of Fed over the net always seems to bring out his A game,I wonder if Djokovic will have the same effect?

    1. Prob took Chung a while to get over the blisters, they will have taken a while to heal. Plus I think his AO run was kinda flukey / things fell into place. Be surprised if he makes deep runs anywhere else.

  4. Go Roger!!!

    The draw seems to be ok for Roger making at least the SF and keeping the No. 1 ranking. Obviously we all want him to win ? and if He is playing near his best he should be able to defend his title.

  5. Great write up as always!

    Would be somewhat of a let down if Fed fails to make at least the semis here, so c’mon Roger!

  6. On paper Roger should reach at least semis, just need keep calm and stay focus. Should he retain IW title I believe he remain as no1 till April. Cmon Rogaaa….

    1. If Roger wins, the number 1 ranking will actually be guaranteed until May 21st (on that date Nadal could in theory regain the top spot if he wins Rome while also having retained his titles in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid). If Federer would also win in Miami, his no. 1 rankning would be guaranteed until the grass season.

    2. Nadal winning three clay titles seems a long way off given he’s not played in 2 months but guess you never know, maybe he can sweep the red stuff for another year.

  7. Also those shoes are a bit of fresh air coming. Look so casual and simple. They are interesting to look at speaking of design.

  8. I think If Federer wins Indian Wells , he should skip Miami and seriously start Monte Carlo and Rome (leave RG for now) given he is fit.
    Heck if Rafa aint 100% fit for clay and Federer is fit he is clearly one of the favourites to win and maybe clinch the missing 1000’s in his cabinet.
    So if he were to seal the no.1 ranking at IW skipping miami would give him another 4 weeks for MC and further 2-3 weeks before Rome (no point playing Madrid where he is one 3 times already) and probably make that dream return to Philip Chatrier. Again he could skip Stuttgart,even Halle for that matter and that would be another 3 weeks for Wimbledon.
    Might be a stupid idea and the 2017esque schedule might suit him better keeping the whole year in mind.
    plus I know its hard to see him miss Miami( given he is the defending champion). But its just that I am a little curious to see what the revamped Federer can do on clay.

    *INDIAN W6LLS here we come*

      1. I think he can skip Halle. He signed the lifetime contract in 2010 and missed 2011. But I doubt he misses Halle unless he is forced to.

  9. Excellent draw For the maestro, I would pick Berdych to. Good summary and analysis of the draw. So delighted he didn’t play Dubai, health is everything. Djokovic who has an awful draw, is going to be fascinating to watch to see how he performs. I don’t think Kyrgios can be counted out, as a factor later in the draw. But ultimately whatever the process I just want Fed to win. PS: I just read that Rafa’s Injury is possibly more serious than first thought, so suggest we keep in our thoughts and hope for a speedy recovery.

  10. N Kyrgios is also in the lower quarter of the top half of the draw. Can’t count him out if he is of sound mind (?!) and body as a hard court threat. But always with NK it is tbd on where his head and his play is at. He and Fed have had some classic hard court battles.

  11. I think that Fed has an excellent chance to get to the final, and that Delpo could be his opponent there. Delpo has been playing well lately and at his best is a very dangerous opponent. But Roger should be fresh and have the edge if the final is between the two of them.

    1. Del Potro looked good in Mexico but his resume shows a lot of inconsistency tournament to tournament. When he has a hot hand he’s unstoppable but if not there’s plenty of guys in the draw who can beat him comfortably.

  12. I actually think it’s a reasonably tough draw. Agree re Ryan too. Fed has to be ready from the start!

    I hv picked Pouille to come thru.
    Delpo rarely delivers 2 solid tourneys in a row.
    Cilic I agree has to carrying an injury. Novak bit of an unknown for me. He likes IW conditions and cld go deeper than ppl think.

    Hoping Diego delivers out of the Zverev quarter.

    Allez Rog. Let’s retain our trophy please

  13. Watching the practice session brings back the senses. I can feel the heat of the mid-day sun. Feel the thrill of watching Fed practice. Wow, look at the crowds. The tournament hasn’t started yet and mobs of people already! I like the blue and green…colour at last.
    I think Harrison will be his first match, Sat night 7pm. Sell out crowd stadium one. The first time Fed played Harrison at IW, Fed won the toss and elected to receive. Harrison got broken in the first game. Fed fans were worried about that match. Harrison fizzled out but now seems to be back on track. No draw is easy, fall asleep and you’re gone.
    Hurts my head thinking about the ranking scenarios.

  14. Forget about talking draws or ranking scenarios. I’m more worried about if One-Hand-Back-Hand Boys would perform this year or not, c’mon! 😆

    1. Well, it would have to be a David Foster song, since he is Tommy Haas’ FIL. Possible tunes include:
      “The Prayer” “You’re the Inspiration” “I have nothing” “After the Love has Gone” and some other songs I don’t know. Personally I could go for “You’re the Inspiration.”

  15. Agree with Sue about thinking too much about rankings.
    Maybe now it’s relatively simple for the sunshine double and the clay season, but people are starting to think about year end no 1.
    You can never know. All we know is that Roger has 2,500 pts under his belt for 2018. He can get another 10,000 or another 4,000 or less or anything in between. Too much tbd, too many things can happen. In 2016 Novak was killing the tour and by the end of June had one six titles, two slams and three masters and had a million points. It seemed that the year end no 1 is deep in his pocket.
    Murray didn’t think so…
    Luckily, I’m sure Roger is thinking mainly about his next match. It’s the only thing that matters really.

  16. Agree with Shmeltz. Roger has achieved so much lately that thinking only about next match is what matters.
    Go Maestro!
    So exciting to think about next Saturday!

  17. Well,Fed has it all going for him with a reasonably straightforward draw and lots of confidence.Plus seems fit,healthy and motivated.However champions are vulnerable in the early rounds when they haven’t quite played themselves in.
    Sharapova out in the first round,though some might find that a blessed relief-the shrieking!
    If Fed gets through the first three rounds ain’t no one going to stop him.

      1. The Sharapower shrieking is unbearable, but at least most have a screen with volume control between to protect the ears. I’m so curious to see how Djoko has it now. When the drug control got sharper, he started his slide downhill. Of course coincidental.

  18. I hope the next gen could meet deep in the tournament. Especially Tiafoe, Shapovalov, and Chung. Of course, if any of them reach deep enough to face Federer., it is going to be Tennis 101 again.

    Delpo is dangerous. I can feel him reaching the Finals. When that happens I hope video-game Fed comes to play. Anything other than that is not enough to beat Delpo.

      1. That’s a shame for Frances. Love the guy.

        Apparently, Fed is playing Federico Delbonis in his first match. I can remember that name even though I did my best to forget it 5 years ago.

        Damn 2013.

  19. Whilst we fuss about Delpo we now have the problem of Delbo. I do not like the idea of Fed playing a potential nervy first match with a player he has little winning experience with but you’d have to hope he is presently better & playing freer than in the injury hampered 2013 year & Hamburg level in particular. Go Roger don’t underestimate the opposition and enjoy a fresh challenge!

    1. Saw someone else remembering that the Hamburg loss was also very early in the new racquet days – yes? So several significant differences this time around…

      1. From what I remember….Roger elected to suddenly play a few small tournaments on clay. His back wasn’t good and his team told him to rest. He decided to play and did poorly, messed up his back even more and felt uncomfortable with the new racket. Not a good time. Everyone was screaming retire. I think that was a good learning experience.

  20. Easier draw for Roger for a change. It’s about time. On paper, he should make the finals easily, but best of 3s are more upset prone.
    Hope he wins this so that he can skip Miami and get some well deserved rest and enjoy #98 and decide if playing clay is worth the risk. Djoker is the dark horse and if he manages to make the finals with his draw, he could be the one Roger needs to worry about for the rest of the season.

  21. The only tournament in my time zone. I need to gloat for a week! There you go…sell out crowd Sat 7pm. Looks like they have a new ticketing system…flash….digital system. Seems like a good idea. When is Wimbledon going to move into the 21st century.
    Oh, daylight savings tonight….spring forward.

  22. Rain break in IW.
    I’ve seen the end of the first set until the rain.
    Roger looks bad. Has mainly unforced errors flying out of his racquet in the second set.
    He has the superpower of winning a tennis match when playing bad, but I wouldn’t count on it to get deep in a tournament.

    I hope he will regain his focus after the rain break and get better as the tournament goes on.
    The draw is relatively comfortable until QF. Krajinovic in the next round and Mannarino/Chardy (knocked Fognini) in the 4th round.

    1. Haven’t watched, but sometimes Roger has small periods with lots of UE’s, for different unknown reasons. Hopefully it’s not back-problems. Hopefully it is just some experimental creativity, needing to try out. Hopefully it’s not sudden nerves. Hopefully he recaptures his usual skill and consistence.

  23. Many comments that the court is very,very slow.Nadal must be rather cross he didn’t make it there.
    Fed won the first set easily(going by the score line,didn’t watch it)so maybe just rusty.

    1. Jim Courier and his fellow commentator said that the courts are behaving like clay indeed. They do seem quite slow to me. Might be a grind reaching the semi. Might be not. We’ll see.

      Maybe playing in these kind of conditions will help get ready for clay where we still haven’t seen this new version of Roger? Has he said he is not playing the clay season?

      1. If Roger is having trouble playing his A game because of the slow court, then we know what the Clay seasons looks like for him.


  24. Poor Jonathan up in the night for the match and a complete wash out. Is that the 1st time Roger’s match was cancelled for the day and not just delayed a few hours? Court side tickets for that match were as high as $900. Are you kidding me.
    Jonathan, where do you get the weather from….it is so wrong. Monday will be 31C which isn’t 49F.

    1. Actually woke up at 4 in the morning. Then in the warm cozy bed I thought, nah I’m too old for the sacrifice. Sorry. That’s why I paid a lot for the tennisTV sub 😆

  25. Seems like Roger has a cold. As he walked out of the court at the end his nose was irritating him quite a lot. Not surprised given that we had/still have a bad flu season. This could explain his slow movements which caused all those UE.

    1. Yes, he had the tissue box. He may need a little time to get used to outdoor conditions after the Match for Africa indoor ones. And he had not so many days to rest after the double and single exhibs (in which he gave everything). I watched the Delbonis match (part 1) : Federer seemed to be quite nervous, unhappy with rain and humid weather (maybe afraid of sliding or getting injured ?). The stadium was fully packed and players might have felt almost “obliged” to play for the crowd – which I found very noisy, by the way…Both players missed easy strokes. Thanks God, the serve and some dazzling volleys enabled Fed to win the first set. Let’s hope the sun coming back today will enable him to finish the match in straight sets.

      I also watched a replay of Thiem’s match against Tsitsipas. Although he lost a set, he seems to be very fit and moving well and his groundstroke is a missile. Should be dangerous,  it seems.

      1. Oh, there’s something special chemistry with kids. He’s a big nice kid himself, as well as very attentive and likable.

  26. Djokovic currently in a struggle with Daniel.Does not bode well, for him I mean.Fed to follow this match I think.

  27. Fed won, but not without struggling a bit? Only followed live score. Excited to soon read what Jon and you other watching guys are thinking,

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