Humbert, Pouille Lead Loaded Indian Wells Field; Zverev Bros. In Doubles
In one week, the stars of the ATP Tour will descend on Indian Wells for the BNP Paribas Open. But first, the ATP Challenger Tour takes centre stage in the desert, boasting one of the strongest fields of the year.
The Indian Wells Tennis Garden welcomes a loaded draw for the Challenger 125 event, featuring 10 players inside the Top 100 of the FedEx ATP Rankings. Top seed and World No. 42 Ugo Humbert leads the field and is joined by countryman and 58th-ranked Lucas Pouille. Pouille will be making his 2020 debut after an elbow injury kepy him sidelined since October.
Cameron Norrie, Radu Albot, Steve Johnson, Jannik Sinner, Yuichi Sugita and Frances Tiafoe round out the Top 8 seeds, with an unseeded Hyeon Chung also making his 2020 debut, following a hand injury. Other names to keep an eye on include 18-year-old and Southern California native Brandon Nakashima, who recently reached his first ATP Tour quarter-final in Delray Beach. Maxime Cressy is coming off a title and final run on Canadian soil, in Drummondville and Calgary, while Thai-Son Kwiatkowski prevailed in nearby Newport Beach a month ago. Kwiatkowski opens against Chung.
In the top half of the draw, Humbert could face Sinner in the quarter-finals, which would be a rematch of their round-robin affair at the 2019 Next Gen ATP Finals. Norrie, Nakashima and Chung also headline the top half. Meanwhile, Pouille, Johnson, Albot, Tiafoe and red-hot Aussie Christopher O'Connell lead the way in the bottom half of the draw.
Indian Wells is the fourth and final tournament of the annual Oracle Challenger Series, which kicked off in New Haven and Houston in 2019 and moved to Newport Beach last month. Oracle will award the two Americans with the best cumulative results with main draw wild cards into the BNP Paribas Open, an ATP Masters 1000 event. Newport Beach champ Kwiatkowski, Houston champ Marcos Giron and Mitchell Krueger - semi-finalist in both Houston and Newport Beach - are vying for those two berths.
The doubles field in Indian Wells is equally as stacked, with Alexander Zverev taking a wild card with brother Mischa Zverev. They are joined by Sinner/Tiafoe, Pouille/Gregoire Barrere, Michael Mmoh/Jack Sock and defending champions JC Aragone/Marcos Giron. The top seeds are Americans Nicholas Monroe and Jackson Withrow, with Matt Reid and fellow Aussie Marc Polmans seeded second.
Four Top 100 Stars Headline Monterrey
The only other tournament on this week's slate is in Monterrey. The Abierto GNP Seguros features World No. 42 Adrian Mannarino as top seed, with Feliciano Lopez, Pablo Andujar and Ricardas Berankis joined by 2016 champion Ernesto Escobedo.