2018 ATP Indian Wells Masters 1000: Review Of The Early Rounds

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Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, both five time former champions in Indian Wells and bidding for a record sixth title at the BNP Paribas Open had mixed results on Sunday in the second round matches. While the current world number one Federer overcame the Argentine Frederico Delbonis 6-3,7-6(6), an opponent who had beaten him in 2013 in their only previous meeting; the former world number one Djokovic was beaten by Japan’s Taro Daniel 6-7(3),6-4,1-6.

The top seeded Swiss superstar who needs to reach the semi final to retain the world number one ranking which he reclaimed three weeks ago, resumed his second round match which was halted by rain with the scoreline at 6-3,2-2. Making his 17th appearance in the desert, Federer extended his run to 13-0 in 2018, completing the one hour forty one minute encounter to set up a meeting with Djokovic’s compatriot Filip Krajinovic, seeded 25th, who drubbed American qualifier Mitchell Krueger 6-2,6-2.

Djokovic, who was out of action for six months since Wimbledon last year, took a 5-2 lead in the opening set, playing in only his fifth match of the year. The 109th ranked Daniel broke back in the ninth game and claimed the first set in the ensuing tie-break. Djokovic seemed to have found his form as he forced a decisive third set. By his own admission he felt like playing his first match on tour and went down tamely in the third set 1-6. Following surgery on his right elbow, Djokovic who reached the fourth round of the Australian Open in January, was sidelined for another six weeks as he required minor surgery after playing in Melbourne.

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Meanwhile the Argentine Juan Martin Del Potro continued his recent run of good form as blasted his way past the Australian Alex De Minaur 6-1,6-2. The sixth seeded Argentine who won the ATP 500 event in Acapulco, Mexico will next play veteran Spaniard David Ferrer who was a 6-2,7-6(3) winner over the American Tennys Sandgren. Second seeded Marin Cilic also won his opening match against the Hungarian Marton Fucsovics 7-5,6-3.

However, the tournament has already witnessed its fair share of upsets as the third seeded Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov fell 6-7(4),6-4,3-6 to Fernando Verdasco of Spain. The fourth seeded German Alexander Zverev squandered early leads in both the first and third set as he fell 5-7,7-5,4-6 to Joao Sousa of Portugal. India’s Yuki Bhambri upset the ninth seeded Frenchman Lucas Pouille 6-4,6-4. In three minor upsets veteran Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus beat the Rio Open champion Diego Schwartman of Argentina in straight sets while Frenchmen Gael Monfils and Jeremy Chardy had to battle hard to upset the American John Isner and the Italian Fabio Fognini in three tight sets.

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Escaping the upset bug were the Austrian Dominic Thiem, the South African Kevin Anderson, the American Jack Sock, Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic, and the Spaniards Pablo Carreno Busta and Roberto Bautista Agut. Another player on comeback trail, the 2016 finalist Milos Raonic of Canada beat compatriot Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-4,6-4.

The following is the list of matches in the third round with my pick mentioned first :-

Roger Federer (1) v. Filip Krajinovic (25)
Adrian Mannarino (20) v. Jeremy Chardy (-)
Tomas Berdych (12) v. Hyeon Chung (23)
Dominic Thiem (5)  v. Pablo Cuevas (30)
Fernando Verdasco (-) v. Taylor Fritz (-)
Roberto Bautista Agut (13) v. Borna Coric (-)
Pablo Carreno Busta (11) v. Daniil Medvedev (-)
Kevin Anderson (7) v. Nicolas Kicker (-)
Jack Sock (8) v. Feliciano Lopez (-)
Sam Querrey (18) v. Yuki Bhambri (-)
Marcos Baghdatis (-) v. Dudi Sela (-)
Milos Raonic (32) v. Joao Sousa (-)
Juan Martin Del Potro (6) v. David Ferrer (29)
Leonardo Mayer (-) v. Taro Daniel (-)
Gael Monfils (-) v. Pierre- Hugues Herbert (-)
Marin Cilic (2) v. Phillip Kohlschreiber (31)

– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy. You can reach him at the email: sportzcosmos@gmail.com]

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