Bryan Bros Seek Third Title, Djokovic Playing Doubles At Indian Wells
It may be just seven months since Bob Bryan underwent a right hip replacement. But the left-hander and twin Mike Bryan are ready to pursue an ATP Masters 1000 trophy at the BNP Paribas Open, which features a star-studded field that includes Novak Djokovic, who is playing with Fabio Fognini.
The Bryan brothers have triumphed in the desert twice, lifting the trophy in 2013-2014. And while they’re competing in just their seventh tournament back together since Bob’s surgery last August, they have already shown good form by winning the Delray Beach Open by VITACOST.com (d. Skupski/Skupski). They face Russian singles stars Karen Khachanov and Daniil Medvedev in the first round.
“We don't want to stop here,” Mike said. “We want to keep rolling and hold up bigger ones, hopefully an [ATP Masters 1000] in the near future and then a [Grand Slam].”
The defending champions are John Isner and Jack Sock. While Sock will not be playing the tournament, Isner will try to retain the crown with partner Sam Querrey. The Americans have captured two doubles trophies together, including a Masters 1000 victory in Rome in 2011 (also 2010 Memphis). They will try to upset top-seeded Herbert/Mahut in the first round.
Another team to watch will be Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic. While they are just 5-6 so far this season, they won four tour-level titles last year en route to qualifying for the Nitto ATP Finals. Other qualifiers for last year’s season finale at The O2 that will be playing the BNP Paribas Open include Jamie Murray/Bruno Soares, Juan Sebastian Cabal/Robert Farah, Lukasz Kubot/Marcelo Melo and Raven Klaasen/Michael Venus.
Second seeds Murray and Soares face a tough test in the first round against #NextGenATP Canadian Denis Shapovalov and Rohan Bopanna, who have never played with or against one another. Colombians Cabal and Farah also have a difficult opener against Acapulco champions Alexander Zverev and Mischa Zverev.
Two-time Nitto ATP Finals champions Henri Kontinen and John Peers reached the final of the Australian Open this year, and Kontinen has showed more impressive tennis by lifting the Rotterdam trophy with Jeremy Chardy. Additionally, look out for Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury, who extended their strong start to 2019 to 11-4 by winning their first team title at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. Ram triumphed at Indian Wells in 2017 with Klaasen.
Djokovic, Kyrgios & More Singles Stars Playing Doubles
As is typically the case at Indian Wells, some of the world’s best singles players are joining the action on the doubles court. Topping that list is World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, who is partnering Italian Fabio Fognini for the first time. Djokovic and Fognini face Milos Raonic and Chardy in the first round, and they could clash with second-seeded Murray/Soares in the second round.
Wild cards Nick Kyrgios and Taylor Fritz will face Steve Johnson and Dominic Thiem in the first round. Kyrgios is fresh off a title run in singles at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC, where he defeated Rafael Nadal and Alexander Zverev en route to the trophy. Johnson and Thiem are playing together for the third time, after also competing alongside one another last year in Rome and Halle. In Rome, Marach and Pavic beat the American-Austrian duo 16-14 in a Match Tie-break.
Matches To Watch
- Herbert/Mahut vs. Isner/Querrey
- Cabal/Farah vs. Zverev/Zverev
- Bryan/Bryan vs. Khachanov/Medvedev
- Djokovic/Fognini vs. Chardy/Raonic
- Murray/Soares vs. Bopanna/Shapovalov