By: Brenden Campbell

Today I continue to preview the first March masters event in Indian Wells, California by breaking down the Men’s side of the draw.

If you haven’t looked into the WTA preview yet, click here

Top Seeds

  1. Roger Federer
  2. Marin Cilic
  3. Grigor Dimitrov
  4. Alexander Zverev
  5. Dominic Thiem
  6. Juan Martin del Potro
  7. Kevin Anderson
  8. Jack Sock

Draw Analysis

Five time champion Roger Federer enters the draw as the heavy favorite and will be looking to defend his number 1 ranking with a plethora of the game’s big names sitting out due to injury. Long time rival and three time champion Rafael Nadal will be missing from both the Indian Wells and Miami draws this year with the same injury that forced him to retire from his quarterfinal match at the Australian Open. With other top players (Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinkia, Jo-Wilfred Tsonga, and David Goffin) absent from the draw, Roger has a great chance to defend his title. However, the openness of the draw also creates opportunities for other players to make unexpected runs.

The second quarter of the draw is by far the most open. #3 seed Grigor Dimitrov highlights this section, but has not played well lately, suffering an early exit in Dubai last week. With that being said, Kevin Anderson, Nick Kyrgios, and Andrey Rublev all have a legitimate shot at dethroning Dimitrov and making a semi final run. #2 seed Marin Cilic got placed in the most stacked quarter of the draw, and faces a tough path to the semi finals. He will face Viktor Troicki in second round, followed by Philipp Kohlschreiber in round three. He will then potentially meet unpredictable frenchman Gael Monfils in the round of 16, which makes for a difficult run into the quarterfinals. It is the other half of this section that is interesting though.  Former top ten players John Isner, Kei Nishikori, and David Ferrer will have to battle Acapulco champion Juan Martin del Potro and former world number 1 Novak Djokovic for a spot in the top eight.

First Round Matches to Watch

Francis Tiafoe vs. Ernesto Escobedo

Gael Monfils vs. Matthew Ebden

Taylor Fritz vs. Reilly Opelka

Borna Coric vs. Donald Young

Championship Prediction

Roger Federer def. Novak Djokovic in straight sets