The ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Indian Wells is one of only two tennis tournaments, other than the four grand slam events, to take place over longer than a week. As well as carrying the prestige of being one of the biggest tournaments of the year, it also offers a first prize of just over $1 Million, and 1,000 World Ranking Points – and therefore it comes as no surprise that it has been dominated by the world’s best players recently.
Current world number one Novak Djokovic has won 4 of the last 8, with victories in 2008, 2011, 2014 and 2015. Rafa Nadal has also notched a hat-trick with wins in 2007, 2009 and 2013, whilst Roger Federer took the title in 2012. However, there has been one recent surprise in the shape of the then 20th seed Ljubovic who defeated both Djokovic and Nadal on his way to the final in 2010, where he surprised everyone still further by beating local favourite Andy Roddick.
96 players make the main draw this week, so the top-32 seeds must win 6 matches if they want to win the tournament, whilst the remainder of the field will have to win 7 matches.
Only the injured Roger Federer is missing, and the top-half of the draw looks to have gifted Djokovic (providing he’s fully recovered from what forced him to withdraw in Dubai) an easy route to at least the quarter-finals where he’s most likely to meet one of Thiem, Sock or Tsonga, with the latter most likely to cause a shock.
Nadal will be disappointed to be in the same half of the draw as Djokovic, though he’ll fancy his chances of making it to the semi’s with his most likely quarter-final opponents being Isner or Nishikori. Americans have made 4 of the last 10 finals however, though Isner is 1-1 in head to heads against likely quarter-final opponent Nishikori, he’s 0 from 6 against Nadal, whilst Nishikori is just 1 from 7 against the Spaniard.
The third-quarter looks the toughest on paper with Cilic, Troicki, Goffin, Wawrinka, Berdych, Del Potro, Coric, Tomic and Raonic in the mix but, as the likes of Wawrinka and Berdych have yet to make much of an impact here, it’s possible the improving Raonic could take another step up the ladder.
Murray is favourite to emerge from the bottom half of the draw, where Kyrgios looks his biggest potential stumbling block on route to the semis, though it’s worth noting that he’s only ever made one final here.
Djokovic will be as hard to beat as ever if he’s back to full fitness, and he was so dominant in the ATP 1,000 events last season that big-hitters will be happy to avail themselves of the 8/11 in a field that doesn’t include one of his biggest dangers in Federer – and he would have probably been nearer 1/2 had he not withdrawn in Dubai.
If you fancy an outsider, then Raonic looks over-priced after making it to the Australian Open Final, and he’s a decent chance of making it to the final again here from the bottom-half of the draw.
Big Hitters: Djokovic @ 8/11 (Skybet, Stan James, Coral)
Each-Way Bet: Raonic @ 25/1 (Stan James) ½ odds 2 places