The BNP Paribas Open (March 7-17) is an ATP Masters 1000 Tournament. It is played at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden and is widely regarded as the biggest and best Masters tournament. That’s mainly down to the fantastic venue in which it takes place, with the Stadium 1 seating more than 16,000 fans.
The tournament is sometimes referred to as the Indian Well Masters and the 2010 winner Ivan Ljubicic is the only shock winner this century. Only seven different players have won the title since 2001, with Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic both winning five titles, Rafa Nadal three, Lleyton Hewitt two, and Andre Agassi and Juan Martin del Potro one each.
This year’s event has attracted most of the top players in the world and it’s a chance for Novak Djokovic to become the joint most highest-winner of ATP Masters 1000 titles. However, Rafa Nadal, who currently leads Djokovic by one, might have something to say about that.
Check out our analysis of the BNP Paribas Open 2019 draw and our free tip for the Indian Well Masters.
Number one seed Novak Djokovic was in supreme form when last seen at the Australian Open and the big question is whether he’ll turn up in the same form here after not being seen since winning the first slam of the season.
He should have a couple of easy matches to get his eye in the first two rounds, but he may need to be in top form by the third round where he could face recent Mexico winner Nick Kyrgios. The fiery Australian could be a massive hurdle for Djokovic to overcome as he’s won both their previous matches in straight sets. However, they were in 2017 when Djokovic was lacking the motivation to win that he’s rediscovered in the last 12 months.
Djokovic’s other danger in the quarter looks to be Dominic Thiem but, whilst the Austrian has also won his last two matches against Djokovic, he doesn’t look in the sort of form to beat an in-form Djokovic on hardcourts.
A real tricky second quarter is headed by Alexander Zverev, but he still needs to prove his stamina for these longer tournaments. There are also several potential dangermen including Grigor Dimitrov, Milos Raonic, Kevin Anderson, and especially the in-form Stefanos Tsitsipas who has just broken into the world’s top-10.
That means it’s likely it will have been a tough journey for whoever makes it to the semi-finals, and it could be worth avoiding all the players in this quarter.
This could be another tough quarter with Roger Federer having to potentially play his fellow resurgent Swiss Stan Wawrinka in the third round. Other tough matches also potentially lay ahead against the likes of Marin Cilic, Lucas Pouille, and Kei Nishikori. The quarter is also full of American players, who are likely to give their all in front of a big home crowd, including Tiafoe, Johnson, and Young.
Rafa Nadal hasn’t reached the final here since 2013 but looks to have been handed the easiest quarter of them all in his bid to stretch his lead in ATP Masters 1000 wins over Djokovic to two. He’s never been beaten by the likes of Schwartzman or Khachanov, whilst he also has a clinical 7-0 lead over number eight seed John Isner.
BNP Paribas Open 2019 Summary
The world-class trio of Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, and Rafa Nadal may all have had their ups and downs in the last few years but it’s hard to get away from the fact that they’ve won 13 of the last 15 editions of the BNP Paribas Open between them.
Djokovic is the favourite and rightfully so having won the last three grand slams and catching Rafa Nadal in the all-time list of ATP 1000 Masters titles winners may be enough motivation for him to try and win this week. However, he does face a potential third-round pitfall in Nick Kyrgios, and it may be best to take a slightly shorter price about him if he reaches the fourth round.
A tough-looking third quarter could also be hard for Roger Federer to overcome and, even if he does make it to the semis, he’ll surely have had to play too many hard matches to do so. That’s also the case for whoever makes it out of the second quarter,
That’s why Rafa Nadal looks the best bet this week. The Spaniard should be able to breeze through his first few matches, which means he should be fresher than whoever he then meets from the third quarter in the semi-finals. However, it must be an each-way bet. Djokovic would still be fancied to beat Nadal if they met in the final but, hopefully, Kyrgios can do us a favour before then.
BNP Paribas Open 2019 Free Tip:
Rafael Nadal (Each-Way) @ 6.00 Sportingbet, 888Sport