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Alcaraz, Medvedev in separate halves for Indian Wells; Murray plays Etcheverry in round one
Alcaraz can regain the world No 1 ranking from the absent Novak Djokovic if he wins the title
Carlos Alcaraz and Daniil Medvedev will be in separate halves at the BNP Paribas Open over the next fortnight as the Tour hits Indian Wells for the first Masters 1000 of the year.
World No 2 Alcaraz, whose participation in the tournament – which begins on Thursday – was in doubt due to a thigh issue, heads a typically-strong field, bidding for a third Masters 1000 title, having won in Miami and Madrid last year.
Should Alcaraz win the title a week on Sunday, he’ll also regain the world No 1 ranking from Novak Djokovic, who is unable to play because he is not vaccinated against Covid-19, a pre-requisite for non-US citizens to enter the country. Rafael Nadal, the runner-up last year, is also missing through injury, as is Nick Kyrgios.
Like all of the 32 seeds, the 19-year-old has a first-round bye. He’ll begin against either Brandon Holt, the son of Tracy Austin, or a qualifier. He’s seeded to face Felix Auger-Aliassime, the No 8 seed, in the quarter-finals, with defending champion Taylor Fritz (No 4 seed) or No 7 seed Holger Rune, fit after cramping in the final in Acapulco, a possible semi-final opponent.
In-form Medvedev in bottom half with Tsitsipas
No question who the in-form player is in the draw. Daniil Medvedev arrives in the California desert with three back-to-back titles under his belt, having won in Rotterdam, Doha and Dubai.
The Russian is up to No 6 in the rankings and though his record in Indian Wells is not good – he’s yet to get past the fourth round – his confidence is high. Medvedev will play either John Isner or Brandon Nakashima in round two, while his path to the final could find Alexander Zverev, Casper Ruud and No 2 Stefanos Tsitsipas as potential obstacles.
Tsitsipas, the runner-up to Djokovic in Melbourne, could play the returning Gael Monfils in round two, the Frenchman back after injury and becoming a father for the first time. Frances Tiafoe, Cameron Norrie and Andrey Rublev could block his path to the latter stages.
Murray-Etcheverry in round one, Monfils, Thiem back
Indian Wells has never been the happiest of hunting grounds for Andy Murray; though he made the final in 2009, he has only made it past the quarter-finals once.
However, having played well at the Australian Open and reached the final last time out in Doha, the former world No 1 will hope to maintain momentum. He plays Tomas Martin Etcheverry, who reached the final in Santiago last weekend.
Monfils will also capture plenty of attention as he returns for the first time since Canada last summer. He takes on Jordan Thompson in round one, with a clash with Tsitsipas the carrot.
And Dominic Thiem continues his comeback, the Austrian in the draw thanks to a wildcard. He’ll play Adrian Mannarino in round one.