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ATP Tennis News • Ricky’s Picks For 10sBalls For BNP Paribas In Indian Wells, California

Rafael Nadal of Spain in action against Taylor Fritz of the USA in the first-ever Eisenhower Cup – a one-night Tie Break Tens event, during the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California, USA, 05 March 2019. EPA-EFE/LARRY W. SMITH



Djokovic favored in Indian Wells, but Federer on fire, Kyrgios cooking, Nadal also cannot be discounted


By Ricky Dimon


Novak Djokovic will be taking the court for the first time since triumphing at the Australian Open when he begins his BNP Paribas Open campaign this weekend. The top-ranked Serb also won both Wimbledon and the U.S. Open last season in addition to Masters 1000 tournaments in Cincinnati and Shanghai, making him a considerable favorite in Indian Wells according to the oddsmakers.


According to ESPN analyst Brad Gilbert, “Probably the only ones who can stop [Djokovic] are huge servers or a young, unpredictable guy, like a (Nick) Kyrgios.”


Djokovic’s draw is not the easiest. He could face Acapulco champion Kyrgios in round three and a red-hot Gael Monfils one match later. Kyrgios had been a disaster this year before making an incredible run–from completely out of nowhere–in Acapulco, taking down Rafael Nadal, Stan Wawrinka, John Isner, and Alexander Zverev along the way. In other words, who knows what will be on display in the desert? Which Kyrgios will we get?


With the 23-year-old Aussie and other rising stars like Stefanos Tsitsipas in impressive form at the moment, another Masters shield for Djokovic, Nadal, or Roger Federer is not a foregone conclusion.


Nadal, the second favorite behind Djokovic, is a three-time champion in Indian Wells. Federer, who just won the Dubai title, is a five-time IW winner (most recently in 2017 before finishing runner-up to Juan Martin Del Potro last spring).


“The conditions adapt very well to my game,” Nadal said. “That’s the real thing. I feel like home. I feel very comfortable in this tournament. I feel very happy when I am here. Is more relaxing tournament than other ones, and probably that gives me a positive feeling.”


The world No. 2 is on a collision course with Federer for the semifinals. But both all-time greats have plenty of work in front of them before they can make it that far. Nadal could run into a confident Daniil Medvedev in the fourth round and Isner in the QFs. Federer and Wawrinka will likely go head-to-head in the third round.


Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

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