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Federer, Nadal On Quarter-final Collision Course

Indian Wells, U.S.A.

Federer© Getty ImagesDefending champion Roger Federer could face Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals.

Defending champion Roger Federer could meet his great rival Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals of the BNP Paribas Open in what is a testing draw for the 31-year-old Swiss. Even before a potential meeting with Nadal, Federer could have a re-match of last year’s final against American John Isner in the fourth round. 

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Federer is seeded No. 2 on his 13th appearance at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden and opens his title defence against either Denis Istomin or a qualifier. Also in his section is French No. 28 seed Julien Benneteau, whom he lost to in last month’s Rotterdam quarter-finals, countryman Stanislas Wawrinka and two-time former champion Lleyton Hewitt. Federer has a 39-8 record at this ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament, winning the title in 2004-2006 and 2012.

Nadal, seeded fifth, made a welcome return to the ATP World Tour on clay in South America last month, winning the Acapulco and Sao Paulo titles and finishing runner-up in Vina del Mar. He had been sidelined for seven months with a left knee injury. The Spaniard, who lifted the Indian Wells trophy in 2007 (d. Djokovic) and 2009 (d. Murray), faces either American Ryan Harrison or Japan’s Go Soeda in his opener. He could also encounter challenges from No. 20 seed Andreas Seppi, Marcos Baghdatis and No. 9 seed Janko Tipsarevic in his section. 

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World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and No. 3 Andy Murray are on a semi-final collision course. The two contested the Australian Open final in January, and also met twice in major finals last year. Djokovic is on a 13-match unbeaten roll in 2013, winning the Australian Open and Dubai (d. Berdych) titles, and is chasing his third trophy in Indian Wells, following victories in 2008 (d. Fish) and 2011 (d. Nadal).

The Serb begins his campaign against either Fabio Fognini of Italy or Slovenia’s Aljaz Bedene, with a potential third-round meeting against Grigor Dimitrov, the No. 31 seed from Bulgaria. Djokovic is in the same section as No. 14 seed Juan Monaco and No. 23 Sam Querrey and is projected to face eighth-seeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the quarter-finals. However, Tsonga faces a tough route through to the final eight, with the returning Mardy Fish, No. 12 seed Marin Cilic and No. 17 Milos Raonic all in his section.

Murray is playing his first tournament since the Australian Open and could overtake Federer at No. 2 in the Emirates ATP Rankings after the tournament. The Scot, who has lost his opening match on his past two visits to Indian Wells, faces either Evgeny Donskoy of Russia or Japan’s Tatsuma Ito in the second round. Murray is seeded to meet No. 26 seed Martin Klizan in the third round and could face either Japan’s No. 16 seed Kei Nishikori or Ukrainian No. 22 seed Alexandr Dolgopolov in the fourth round.

Seventh seed Juan Martin del Potro is Murray’s projected quarter-final opponent. The Argentine is chasing his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown and is in the same section of the draw as 11th seed Nicolas Almagro, No. 19 Tommy Haas and No. 25 Jeremy Chardy.

Fourth seed David Ferrer lies in the bottom half of the draw with Federer and Nadal and begins against either Victor Hanescu or Kevin Anderson. The Spaniard, who has already won two ATP World Tour titles this year, has a possible quarter-final contest with sixth seed Tomas Berdych. Tenth seed Richard Gasquet, No. 13 Gilles Simon and No. 24 Jerzy Janowicz also challenge in that quarter of the draw. 

Men’s main draw action starts Thursday.

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BNP Paribas Open, Indian Wells

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