What Ho! The Indian Wells Masters draw is out earlier than expected! (Click here)
With Rafael Nadal at No. 3, he and Roger Federer are suddenly the Williams Sisters of the ATP tour. Everyone’s first question when the draw comes out: are they on opposite sides of the draw?
Okay, moving on to the second question. Andy Murray is on Roger’s half and Novak Djokovic is on the bottom with Rafa. Now would those be a couple dream semifinals or what?
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
First Quarter (top half)
Seeded quarterfinal (Tennis Gods, hear our prayer!): Roger Federer (1) vs. Andy Roddick (7)
Look out for: Marcos Baghdatis is Roger Federer’s third round. Wowsers. Gael Monfils. David Nalbandian (he may not get far but you should still give him a look!)
This is a really fun part of the draw. How’s Gasquet vs. Monfils for a possible second round? Or Federer vs. Baghdatis in the third? Or Roddick vs. Monfils in a round of 16 replay of their “you’re not good enough to be so cocky” French Open match? And of course it will be great to see David Nalbandian back in action, even though I think Jurgen Melzer will tag him should he get to the second round.
Second Quarter (top half)
Seeded quarterfinal: Andy Murray (4) vs. Robin Soderling (6)
Look out for: Nicolas Almagro, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, David Ferrer, and Ivo Karlovic
Am I giddy? Because this quarter also looks pretty dang entertaining. Indian Wells must have something against the French – we have yet another all-bleu second round in the making: Tsonga vs. Llodra. Yeah, I think I’ll be watching that one. Will I see you there? This is also a Spanish-heavy section, with Lopez, Ferrer and Almagro (not to mention Daniel Gimeno-Traver and Albert Montanes) packed in here. There’s also a number of Americans: James Blake, Michael Russell and Robby Ginepri are all in the same section (okay, so maybe Indian Wells doesn’t like Americans, either?) It’s a grab bag quarter, but I don’t think we’ll be disappointed.
Third Quarter (bottom half)
Seeded quarterfinal: Nikolay Davydenko (5) vs. Rafael Nadal (3)
Look out for: Davis Cup teammates John Isner and Sam Querrey, Ernests Gulbis and hey, there’s Mario Ancic!
Davydenko is a bit of a question mark, having pulled out of last weekend’s Davis Cup tie with a wrist injury. Nadal’s gotta be happy about his section – a qualifier in the second round and maybe Benneteau or Ancic in the third. The winner of the possible Isner vs. Querrey third round will be Nadal’s possible Round of 16. Up in Davydenko’s section, Berdych vs. Verdasco would be an entertaining third round. I might stop by to see Marco Chiudinelli vs. Ernests Gulbis in the first round. Happy to see Potito Starace is in Indian Wells – we just named our new pet bird after him. Step up, Potito!
Fourth Quarter (bottom half)
Seeded quarterfinal: Marin Cilic (8) vs. Novak Djokovic (2)
Look out for: Mmm. . .I don’t know. Juan Carlos Ferrero? Ivan Ljubicic? Taylor Dent? Carlos Moya? Gilles Simon? (Hey, I’m trying)
I’m not saying there won’t be some good matches, but this section of the draw doesn’t exactly capture my imagination. Here are the projected Round of 16 match-ups in this quarter: Cilic v. Ferrero, Simon vs. Djokovic. Dream a little.