Dissecting the Draw

Written By: achangeofends - Mar• 10•11

So, I have finally finished the copious amounts of work that stood between me and Indian Wells. On Sunday morning, at 6am (really 5 considering we turn the clocks ahead), I will travel from St. Louis to Denver and Denver to Palm Springs for six amazing days of ATP and WTA tennis in Indian Wells, California. I’ve never attended this tournament or even traveled to the area before, but I’ve heard it’s one of the best tournaments for spectators, so it should be a good time. I will be tweeting the vast majority of my commentary and breaking news, so be sure to follow me on twitter @achangeofends. I will also post daily articles at TennisGrandstand and all kinds of random stuff right here including photos, videos, and commentary. Anyway, here are some of my impressions of the ATP draw. I’m keeping it short and sweet, because it’s pretty much the same as my Australian Open preview.

First Quarter: If Nadal really is back at full health, there’s no one stopping him, particularly in this quarter. Rafa may his post-Australian debut last weekend in Davis Cup, winning both his singles matches against Belgium, but we all know the Belgians weren’t exactly testing his fitness. Also, his quarters full of players who have also struggled with injuries recently. Jo Wilfried Tsonga will likely face Marcos Baghdatis in the 3rd round. Both guys have had injury issues and Tsonga actually sat out Davis Cup last weekend. The winner of that match will advance to play Rafa and I can’t say I give either of them much of  chance. The bottom half of this section has David Ferrer, who’s been playing great tennis this season and beat Nadal at the Australian Open, but Rafa was definitely hurting. This time around, I definitely think Rafa will take it.

Semifinalist: Rafael Nadal

Second Quarter: Robin Soderling is 18-1 this season. I’m going to repeat that, 18-1. Novak Djokovic has only wracked up 12 wins this season, granted he’s undefeated and one of his wins was the Australian Open, but seriously how can you write off someone who’s played nearly 20 matches and only lost 1. Soderling has managed to hang on to the No. 4 spot, relegating Murray to No. 5, and yet no one really seems to talk about him as a contender. I honestly believe that Robin will break through at a huge event in the near future, and it could very well be this one. He will have to face is Australian Open nemesis, Alexandr Dolgopolov, in the 4th round, but I don’t think Sod will be fooled twice. He’ll likely meet Andy Murray in the quarters, who hasn’t played since his second place finish at the Australian Open. Murray’s always tricky, but I honestly think Robin will come through this one. I would like to note that there’s a super open section of the draw in this quarter, with a real opportunity for someone unusual to make it to the 4th round. Verdasco, Berankis, Tipsarevic, and Querrey will likely vie for this spot. Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if Berankis miraculously came through. Sam and Fernando have had dreadful seasons so far and Tisparevic has had some success, but still chokes on the big stage. I’m interested to see who makes it through there.

Semifinalist: Robin Soderling

Third Quarter: Novak Djokovic is the guy to beat this year, literally. He’s undefeated, winning two titles this season, including his second Grand Slam. Of the Big 3, Nole definitely has the toughest draw. He will likely face Andrey Golubev in his first match. Golubev is a super talented young player from Kazakhstan, who recently helped win his country their very first Davis Cup World Group tie. The third round will yield either Lleyton Hewitt or Ernests Gulbis, but let’s face it, it’s probably Lleyton Hewitt. Ernests Gulbis has those absolutely brilliant days where he can beat any player in the world, but those are few and far between. Hewitt is probably the biggest fighter on tour, but I don’t think he’ll make it past Nole. In the 4th round, Djokovic might meet his countryman Viktor Troicki. They’ve had some great matches in the past, but Djokovic pretty much always comes out on top. Finally, his quarterfinal opponent could be either Andy Roddick or Jurgen Melzer. Roddick had a fantastic run in Indian Wells last year, making it to the final. He recently won his 30th title in Memphis, but I’m not sure he has a final appearance in him for this BNP Paribas Open. The draw is too tough.

Semifinalist: Novak Djokovic

Fourth Quarter: This quarter is interesting because it’s full of players who are sometimes spectacular, but totally unpredictable, excluding Roger of course. Tomas Berdych, Stanislas Wawrinka, Mardy Fish, and Nikolay Davydenko all lurk in this quarter. Any of them could potentially make a semifinal, but they’re streaky. The biggest intrigue factor in this quarter is wildcard Milos Raonic, who has had a ton of success this season. If he makes it past Marcel Ilhan (which he should) and Mardy Fish (which he did in Memphis), he will play Roger Federer. If this happens, you can bet I will be there. Some journalists may be putting Federer to bed, but I believe he’s still got a ton of fight. He’ll outmaneuver Raonic or Fish and quarterfinal opponent to make the semifinals.

Semifinalist: Roger Federer

Semifinal 1: Rafael Nadal d. Robin Soderling

Semifinal 2: Novak Djokovic d. Roger Federer

Championship: Rafael Nadal d. Novak Djokovic

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