2018 ATP Indian Wells Preview and Predictions: It’s Roger Federer’s Title to Lose
Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
The 2018 BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells starts off the ATP Masters 1000 season. Roger Federer is the top seed and a heavy favorite. Novak Djokovic and Kei Nishikori feature in the field, coming back from injuries. Grigor Dimitrov, Alexander Zverev, and Marin Cilic round out the top 4 seeds. Here is your full preview, with predictions.
The defending champion Roger Federer should face American Ryan Harrison in round 2 (Harrison beating Federico Delbonis round 1). Look for Federer to continue his undefeated season into round 4, as Filip Krajinovic/Benoit Paire/Mitch Krueger should prove no trouble in round 3.
Adrian Mannarino and Fabio Fognini look set to clash in the third round.Mannarino should beat Marius Copil or Peter Polansky, while Fognini should have the edge against Julien Benneteau/Jeremy Chardy. I’ll back Mannarino on a hard court to reach round 4.Embed from Getty Images
Hyeon Chung has put together a solid 2018 and I’ll back the young Korean to defeat Lukas Lacko/Dusan Lajovic, and then Tomas Berdych in round 3. Berdych will face Ivo Karlovic/Max Marterer in round 2, Chung is playing better than the veteran Czech this year.
Some of tennis rising stars are in section #4 of the draw. Dominic Thiem should face Greek young gun Stefanos Tsitsipas in round 2, while Denis Shapovalov will face Ricardas Berankis, then Pablo Cuevas. Thiem is the strongest in the section and should beat Shapovalov in round 3.Embed from Getty Images
Grigor Dimitrov has an outside shot at taking the IW title. The Bulgarian will face a tricky test in Fernando Verdasco in round 2 (or Guido Pella), with Russia’s Andrey Rublev likely in round 3. These matches should challenge Dimitrov but he should prevail. Rublev faces Reilly Opelka/Taylor Fritz in round 2.Embed from Getty Images
Roberto Bautista Agut won Dubai and should ease past Jared Donaldson/Evan King, and then Borna Coric in the third round. Coric has a relatively smooth path of Donald Young and Albert Ramos to reach round 3.
A struggling Pablo Carreno Busta faces Horacio Zeballos or Yuichi Sugita in round 2. I’ll back Sugita in an upset. Nick Kyrgios should benefit, presuming he can defeat Steve Johnson/Daniil Medvedev in round 2. Kyrgios over Sugita is my pick for the section.Embed from Getty Images
The red hot Kevin Anderson looks set to defeat Karen Khachanov/Evgeny Donskoy, and then Damir Dzumhur (or Jiri Vesely/Nicolas Kicker) to reach the round of 16.
With both Feliciano Lopez and Jack Sock in mediocre form, Frances Tiafoe should benefit. The Delray champ opens with Ernesto Escobedo, Lopez will follow, with Sock likely in round 3 (presuming Sock beats Thomas Fabbiano/Bradley Klahn in round 2). I’ll back the rising Tiafoe to post a great result.Embed from Getty Images
Lucas Pouille has been fantastic in 2018, he’ll face his countryman Nicolas Mahut or Yuki Bhambri before most likely facing California’s Sam Querrey in round 3. Querrey has struggled in 2018 and has Mikhail Kukushkin/Mischa Zverev first up. I’ll go with Pouille over Querrey in round 3.
Diego Schwartzman and Peter Gojowczyk both posted solid results in recent weeks. Gojo should defeat Denis Istomin then upset Kyle Edmund in round 2. Edmund has not played since being injured in Australia. Schwartzman is my pick over Marcos Baghdatis/Yoshihito Nishioka. I’ll back Schwartzman over Gojowczyk in round 3.
Alexander Zverev opens with Mikhail Youzhny/Joao Sousa, Zverev is a heavy favorite in his section as Milos Raonic has struggled this year and neither Felix Auger-aliassime nor Vasek Pospisil are playing super well right now either. Zverev over Raonic is the pick.Embed from Getty Images
Veterans David Ferrer and Juan Martin Del Potro could face off in round 3. A struggling Ferrer will need to grind past Tennys Sandgren/Nikoloz Basilashvili in round 2. Del Potro must defeat J.L. Struff or Alex De Minaur. Del Potro will be the heavy favorite to reach round 4.
Kei Nishikori will be a heavy favorite against Leonardo Mayer/Victor Estrella, and then he should run into Novak Djokovic. Djokovic returns from injury against Cam Norrie or Taro Daniel. Nishikori is a tougher test and I don’t trust Novak’s fitness right now. Accordingly, I’ll go with Nishikori over Djokovic.Embed from Getty Images
Gael Monfils opens with Matt Ebden, he should win that and defeat a struggling John Isner to reach round 3. The Pierre-Hugues Herbert/Gilles Simon winner should be favored against a struggling Gilles Muller. Monfils over Simon is my pick in round 3.
Tim Smyczek or Laslo Djere will be first up for Philipp Kohlschreiber. Marin Cilic faces Viktor Troicki/Marton Fucsovics in his first match. Cilic over Kohlschreiber is the most realistic outcome in this section.Embed from Getty Images
Round of 16
Federer d. Mannarino
Thiem d. Chung
Bautista Agut d. Dimitrov
Anderson d. Kyrgios
Pouille d. Tiafoe
Zverev d. Schwartzman
Del Potro d. Nishikori
Cilic d. Monfils
Federer, Cilic, Pouille, and Del Potro should be relative favorites. The remaining matchups could go either way but form favors the victors above.
Federer d. Thiem
Anderson d. Bautista Agut
Pouille d. Zverev
Del Potro d. Cilic
Except for Federer’s match, these three potential quarterfinals would be crackers. I’ll back Anderson’s serve, Pouille’s form, and JMDP’s power.
Federer d. Anderson
Del Potro d. Pouille
Fans would love a Federer vs. Del Potro final, I’ll go with Federer to retain the IW title.Embed from Getty Images
Federer d. Del Potro