The 2014 Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland was surprisingly knocked out on the second round of the Indian Wells ATP 1000 event by Dutchman Robin Haase who entered the tournament with a ATP ranking of 104 and had a six match loosing run without any wins in 2015. The other major contenders in action Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, both former champions had identical 6-4,6-2 wins over their opponents Diego Schwartzman and Igor Sijsling, while Milos Raonic too comfortably entered the round of 32 easily beating Italian Davis Cupper Simone Bolleli in straight sets. The top half of the men’s draw will play for a place in the round of 16 with top seed and defending champion Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Kei Nishikori and David Ferrer all in action on Day 5 of this the first of the nine ATP 1000 events of the year.
The line-up in the top half is as under with my picks mentioned first :-
Novak Djokovic (1) v. Albert Ramos-Vinelas
John Isner (18) v. Kevin Anderson (16)
Thanasi Kokkinakis v. Juan Monaco
David Ferrer (8) v. Bernard Tomic (32)
Andy Murray (4) v. Philipp Kohlschreiber (26)
Ernests Gulbis (14) v. Adrian Mannarino
Feliciano Lopez (12) v. Pablo Cuevas (20)
Kei Nishikori (5) v. Fernando Verdasco (28)
Three time winner at Indian Wells Djokovic plays little known Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinelas who had accounted for the veteran Frenchman Julien Benneteau in the second round on Saturday, while Andy Murray whose best at this was a runner up showing in 2009 (loss to Nadal) faces the capable German Philipp Kohlschreiber. Australian teenager Thanasi Kokkinakis who replaced Argentina’s Juan Martin Del Potro as a wild card faces another Argentine Juan Monaco and the Latvian Ernests Gulbis who had a miserable 0-5 start to 2015 plays the French left hander Adrien Mannarino. Japan’s Kei Nishikori takes on another left hander Fernando Verdasco whose compatriot Feliciano Lopez will battle against the Argentine born Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay. The latter has risen to 23rd in the rankings following his third career title at the Brazilian Open in Sao Paolo and a quarter-final loss to Rafael Nadal at the Rio Open ATP 500 event.
The lone American in the top half John Isner who was a runner up in 2012 (loss to Federer) and semi-finalist last year takes on another big serving giant Kevin Anderson of South Africa in what might turn out to be a match decided by tie-breakers while David Ferrer who is 19-1 in 2015 with three tournament wins will be severely tested by the young Australian Bernard Tomic who won both his singles rubbers in Australia’s Davis Cup first round against the Czech Republic.
On Day Four there were wins for the Italian Andreas Seppi which set up a rematch of the Australian Open third round in Melbourne where he upset Roger Federer, Americans Donald Young, Jack Sock and Steve Johnson, Tomas Berdych and Lucas Rosol of the Czech Republic, Gilles Simon of France, Grigor Dmitrov of Bulgaria who ended the run of the Australian teenager Nick Kyrgios, Spaniards Tommy Robredo and Roberto Bautista Agut. Last year’s semi-finalist Alexander Dolgopolov upset the Colombian Santiago Giraldo and there was disappointment too for the stylish Frenchman Richard Gasquet who retired in the third set, to little known German Michael Berrer
The trio of young Americans gave plenty to cheer for the crowd as all three of them beat their more fancied opponents. The left handed Donald Young beat France’s Jeremy Chardy (seeded 31st), Jack Sock defeated Gilles Muller of Luxembourg ( seeded 33rd) and Steve Johnson ended the hopes of the Croat Ivo Karlovic (seeded 21st) who recently won the ATP 250 event at Delray Beach beating Donald Young in the final to claim his 6th ATP world tour title.
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy.You can reach him at the email: email@example.com]