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
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.