The Indian Wells crowds will have been treated to some cracking matches throughout the early part of the second week of the tournament with a Federer-Nadal match looking likely in round four as well as Kyrgios-Zverev, the winner of which will play the winner of the match between Novak Djokovic and Juan Martin Del Potro.
Del Potro has definitely shown regular glimpses of the tennis that made him a slam winner and a top 5 player but as of yet his ranking is yet to reflect that. He is still ranked outside the top 30 although he came into this tournament last year ranked outside the top 400, being in the early stages of his comeback. Having missed the Australian Open, he is only 5-2 on the year with losses to Milos Raonic and Djokovic in the past month. He opened his account this time round at Indian Wells with a straight set win over Federico Delbonis 7-6 6-3.
Djokovic saw off the challenge of a dangerous Kyle Edmund in his opening, needing to come from a break down in the second set of his 6-4 7-6 victory. It was far from convincing for the Serbian who has found it difficult to reach his peak level this year. “I don’t have the luxury of pacing myself. I’m playing Del Potro now. I have to give it all. That’s what it takes to beat this guy, who is — even though he is not ranked as high and he hasn’t played that many tournaments but definitely one of the best players in the world last year” he said of Del Potro.
Djokovic is the favourite but the nature of the draw means he will be vulnerable much earlier than expected. Del Potro did beat Djokovic in the Olympics last year but their most recent meeting was a three setter in Acapulco with Djokovic taking the victory this time round – coming from a set down. Djokovic’s run in Acapulco was ended by Nick Kyrgios and the Aussie could well get a chance to take down Djokovic for the second tournament running if both win their third round clashes.
Prediction – Novak Djokovic in three sets