The draw for the BNP Paribas Open, the season’s first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament has been announced. The tournament gets underway at Indian Wells on Thursday. And we could be in for a whole host of blockbuster matches, from the early rounds itself.
Get this. The bottom quarter of the draw, which the ATP website has described as the toughest quarter in history includes Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Juan Martin del Potro. That’s a combined 45 Grand Slam singles titles from 71 Grand Slam finals!
All seeded players receive a bye in the first round. 9th seed, Federer could meet 6th seed Nadal in the round of 16. But it’s not even easy sailing for either of these greats through to the round of 16. Federer might have to come through a potential 3rd round encounter against 24th seed Steve Johnson or big-serving Kevin Anderson. Meanwhile Nadal is looking at a potential 3rd encounter against fellow Spaniard, Fernando Verdasco.
Whoever reaches the quarter-finals from that section could meet three-time defending champion and second seed Djokovic, who’s riding an 18-match win streak in Indian Wells. But nothing is guaranteed in Djokovic’s portion, either.
After the first-round bye, the Serbian could face Brit Kyle Edmund in the second round and 31st seed Juan Martin del Potro in the third round. Should Djokovic get through, his 4th round opponent could be either 15th seed Nick Kyrgios, who beat Djokovic in the semi-final at Acapulco last week or 18th seed and rising star, Alexander Zverev.
The winner of that quarter faces a potential semi-final against 4th seed, Kei Nishikori. Nishikori’s quarter also includes 6th seed Marin Cilic, in-form 12th seed, Grigor Dimitrov and 23rd seed, Sam Querrey.
In the top half of the draw, things appear far less complicated for top seed and world no. 1, Andy Murray. After a first round bye, he faces a potential second round encounter against Yen-Hsun Lu. Murray’s potential quarter final opponents include 7th seeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and 11th seed, David Goffin.
Should the seeds play out, Murray’s semi-final opponent would be the 3rd seed, Stan Wawrinka, who faces a potential semi-final tussle against 8th seed, Dominic Thiem.
You can view the complete draw here.