Kyrgios & Djokovic Could Meet In Third-Round Blockbuster At Indian Wells
The BNP Paribas Open may take place in the California desert, but the draw is flooded with potential early-round blockbusters.
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic could play Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC winner Nick Kyrgios in the third round, while five-time champion Roger Federer could face compatriot and former World No. 3 Stan Wawrinka at the same stage of this ATP Masters 1000 event.
The potential third-round Djokovic-Kyrgios clash pits two of the most in-form players on the ATP Tour. Djokovic is firmly the No. 1 player in the ATP Rankings, competing for the first time since winning his seventh Australian Open crown in January. But last week, Kyrgios showed his ability to compete with anyone on the ATP Tour, defeating a slew of stars, including World No. 2 Rafael Nadal and reigning Nitto ATP Finals champion Alexander Zverev, to triumph in Acapulco.
If Kyrgios gets by the winner of Philipp Kohlschreiber/Pierre-Hugues Herbert in the second round and Djokovic defeats a qualifier, the Aussie will also take confidence knowing he ousted Djokovic in Indian Wells two years ago. In fact, Kyrgios has won both of his FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings against Djokovic.
Watch Highlights Of Kyrgios' First Meeting Against Djokovic:
The winner of that clash could potentially face in-form 18th seed Gael Monfils. The Frenchman has found his entertaining best of late, reentering the Top 20 this week for the first time since July 2017. Monfils won three three-setters en route to the Rotterdam title in February. Seventh seed Dominic Thiem is the second highest-ranked player in Djokovic’s quarter.
In the third quarter of the draw, Federer and Wawrinka could meet for the 25th time in their rivalry if they both advance to the third round. Fourth-seeded Federer may lead his FedEx ATP Head2Head series with countryman Wawrinka 21-3, but all three of Wawrinka’s wins against the 100-time tour-level titlist have come at a Grand Slam or a Masters 1000 event.
The pair has met three times at Indian Wells (2011, 2013, 2017), with Federer dropping just one of seven sets. The Swiss beat Wawrinka to claim his fifth trophy here two years ago. Federer, who has a bye, will face Italian Andreas Seppi or German Peter Gojowczyk in the second round, while Wawrinka will clash with a qualifier for the right to play 29th seed Marton Fucsovics.
Watch Roger Beat Stan For the 2017 Indian Wells Title:
There is plenty of more talent in Federer’s quarter, with four Grand Slam semi-finalists in the section: sixth seed Kei Nishikori, No. 10 seed Marin Cilic, 22nd seed Kyle Edmund and No. 28 seed Lucas Pouille. #NextGenATP stars Denis Shapovalov and Frances Tiafoe also loom.
The first seeded opponent World No. 2 Nadal could face is 25th seed Diego Schwartzman, against whom he has never lost in six previous meetings. Nadal, who will battle American Jared Donaldson or a qualifier in his opener, could play in-form Russian Daniil Medvedev in the fourth round. Other seeded players in his quarter include 2018 Nitto ATP Finals qualifier John Isner and 12th seed Karen Khachanov.
One year ago, Alexander Zverev lost in his opening match at Indian Wells. But the third seed, who has never made the quarter-finals in the desert, will try to make a deep run in 2019. The German may face his older brother, Mischa Zverev — who opens against Martin Klizan — in the second round. The younger Zverev triumphed in their first FedEx ATP Head2Head match last year at the Citi Open.
Another third-round blockbuster could await, as Zverev may play 2017 Nitto ATP Finals champion Grigor Dimitrov, the 26th seed. Three years ago, Zverev needed two hours and 20 minutes to beat Dimitrov 7-5 in a final set at Indian Wells (Zverev leads their series 2-1).
Watch A Hot Shot From Dimitrov-Zverev At 2016 Indian Wells:
That’s not the only hurdle Zverev might have to leap over, though, as the entire section is loaded. Fifth seed and Pune winner Kevin Anderson is the next highest-ranked player in the quarter, which includes four additional 2019 ATP Tour champions: Stefanos Tsitsipas (Marseille), Roberto Bautista Agut (Doha), Alex de Minaur (Sydney) and Laslo Djere (Rio de Janeiro).
Tsitsipas, who triumphed at the Open 13 Provence, made the final of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships and advanced to his first Grand Slam semi-final at the Australian Open, could face Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime in a popcorn all-#NextGenATP second-round battle. Auger-Aliassime is fresh off reaching his first ATP Tour final in Rio de Janeiro, and after starting the year outside of the Top 100 of the ATP Rankings, he’s up to a career-high No. 58.
Did You Know?
Defending champion Juan Martin del Potro is not defending his title to further rehab his right knee.