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5 dark horses who could win big at Indian Wells 2017

Here are some unlikely but possible contenders for the big title at Indian Wells 2017!

With some difficult draws ahead at Indian Wells, watchers will see a packed bottom quarter that features Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Juan Martin del Potro among others contesting for a quarter-final spot. 

Here, we look at five players with an outside chance at the title:

Mischa Zverev

Mischa Zverev is seeded 29th at Indian Wells 

Up to his highest rankings bracket over his career, 33rd ranked Mischa Zverev has had the season of his life so far, highlighted, only a couple of months into the season, with an emphatic win over Andy Murray at the Australian Open. 

He has also been doing well in the doubles, taking the title in Montpellier with younger brother Sascha, ending a nine-year title drought. Although the older Zverev sibling has seen relatively early exits at most tournaments – barring this year’s Australian Open, the 29-year-old has put up spirited battles against players ranked higher than himself on multiple occasions. 

Now, Mischa Zverev will look to capitalize upon his early success and momentum. With 2017 marking his career-highest ranking of 30, Zverev also ably showed at the Australian Open his proficiency at the serve-and-volley technique – one that most players today do not use, and one that was crucial in Zverev’s big upset of World No. 1 and 2016 runner-up Andy Murray. 

Zverev is seeded 29th at Indian Wells, and as a result has a first-round bye, making him likely to face Dominic Thiem in the pre quarter-finals; the two last met two years ago at Stuttgart, with Zverev winning in straight sets. 

Thiem is having a strong couple of seasons, winning four titles last year and one this year at the outdoor clay Rio Open – the young Austrian, currently ranked World No 9, is most comfortable on clay courts. 

33rd-ranked Zverev may not be the favourite going into this match, but big braces this year could give the 29-year-old momentum to pull off an upset here. 

That said, he could see a quarter-final against Stan Wawrinka. This will be an interesting matchup considering that of the two times the pair have met on court, it is Zverev who won – incidentally at Wawrinka’s home tournament in Switzerland. 

Should the German ace manage to surmount that obstacle and beat one of the Big 4 – as he has done well before, we could see an interesting contest here at Indian Wells.

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