The stage is set for the first ATP Masters 1000 of the season, which is going to take place in Indian Wells from March 7th. The defending champion, Juan Martin del Potro withdrew from the tournament to focus more time on the rehab of his knee.
The draw was released earlier today and there are some potentially enthralling blockbusters scheduled in the early rounds of the tournament itself.
Roger Federer, the runner-up in 2018 and five-time champion earlier, is all set to meet Stan Wawrinka in the third round - assuming Wawrinka gets past his first round opponent.
Nick Kyrgios, who seems to be in top gear right now, could possibly meet World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the third round. That sure promises to be one of the highlight matches of the week.
The toughest road possibly is for Alexander Zverev, as there are players like Stefanos Tsitsipas, Roberto Bautista Agut and Grigor Dimitrov in his quarter, along with 2018 Wimbledon runner-up Kevin Anderson.
In the bottom-quarter, Rafael Nadal and John Isner could possibly meet each other in the quarter-finals.
The predicted quarter finals are as follows:
1) Novak Djokovic vs Dominic Thiem
2) Alexander Zverev vs Kevin Anderson
3) Roger Federer vs Kei Nishikori
4) Rafael Nadal vs John Isner
If these match-ups do indeed happen, then there is the possibility of another big semi-final showdown between Federer and Nadal. The two of them didn't play against each other in 2018, and Federer defeated Nadal in the 4th round of Indian Wells in 2017.
1) Novak Djokovic vs Alexander Zverev
2) Roger Federer vs Rafael Nadal
If Federer beats Nadal in the semis, he is likely going to meet Djokovic in the finals. Considering the form that Djokovic has been displaying on the court lately, he would be expected to beat Federer and claim his 6th Indian Well title this year.
Predicted winner of the tournament: Novak Djokovic