It’s that time of the year again, and now with one of the most exciting tournaments in tennis underway, the BNP Paribas Open, here are some predictions for what’s to come out of the week.
Current world No. 1 Andy Murray has referred to the bottom quarter of the draw as “the toughest draw in history” and he’s probably right. That quarter is headlined by Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic, the first time those three have been placed in the same quarter of a draw. On top of those three, that quarter also contains Juan Martin del Potro, Alexander Zverev, and Nick Kyrgios.
The top side of the draw is fairly straightforward. If they both play their top level it’s tough for me to imagine Murray or Stan Wawrinka losing before they face off in the semifinals, even with Wawrinka’s history of inconsistency in non-major tournaments. Other players I could see making a run in the tournament are David Goffin, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, and Dominic Thiem. All three of those guys have played solid tennis in 2017, and I think that’ll continue through this tournament. It’s still tough for me to see them upsetting Murray or Wawrinka, but it’s certainly a possibility so keep an eye out for those three as well. I think Murray will manage to make it out of this half.
As for the bottom half, predictions are much tougher with the difficulty of the quarter of death. Since I’ve seen nothing but good tennis from Federer and Nadal this year, I’m going to assume that they’ll both make it to the fourth round and we’ll see a rematch of this year’s Australian Open final. I’m going to go with Federer to win that and set up a quarterfinal matchup with Djokovic or del Potro. To be honest, I have no idea what Djokovic is going to show up, so I’m taking Federer to win that as well and I’m going to say that he beats Djokovic in that match. I think Federer makes it out of the quarter of death and out of the bottom half of the draw, which would set up a clash with Federer and Murray.
In the match between Federer and Murray, I predict a long and exciting final. Top-notch offensive tennis (Federer) vs. top notch defensive tennis (Murray), and it could be anybody’s tournament. I want to reward the winner of the “quarter of death”, so I’m going to take Federer to win the tournament, which would be his fifth title in Indian Wells, but it really could be anyone’s tournament with a crazy draw like this.