Time for the opening Masters 1000 of the season, BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. Outside of the big majors, this Masters event boasts the largest playing field with 96 players in the draw all vying for one trophy.
Having never won this tournament before, Andy Murray has been given a kind draw in the desert. The world number one headlines this quarter and opens up against either Yen-Hsun Lu of Taipei or a qualifier with a matchup against big-hitting Spaniard Feliciano Lopez, who has been known to trouble the Brit in the past in the third round. The Brit could potential face another Spaniard in the fourth round, with Pablo Carreno-Busta and Roberto Bautista Agut occupying the bottom of this section. The 21st seed would likely have to get past big-serving teen Reilly Opelka, while Bautista Agut plays either Juan Monaco or Adrian Mannarino.
You could say the bottom half of the first quarter is quite open with seventh-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, 11th seed David Goffin and 27th seed Pablo Cuevas all in contention. The Frenchman has a relatively tricky draw which could see him face the Belgium David Goffin in the fourth round. However, the Belgium would have to get by veteran Tommy Robredo or rising star Karen Khachanov, both which are capable of pulling the odd performance out the hat. Tsonga and Cuevas are on for a collision course in the third round, that is if the Uruguayan isn't running on empty after his Monday finish at the Brasil Open.
Quarterfinal: Andy Murray-Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
Semifinalist: Andy Murray
Leading the second quarter is the third seed Stan Wawrinka who begins his tournament against Robin Haase or Paolo Lorenzi, two players who will likely to not trouble the Swiss. His third round match up is Philipp Kohlschreiber and If he were to beat him and make the quarterfinal, he needs to get past Tomas Berdych, who has been struggling for form in the early parts of 2017 having dropped out of the top ten and losing early in Dubai last week. He opens up against Bjorn Fratangelo or the unpredictable Bernard Tomic. Should he get past either of them, he will face Ivo Karlovic in round three who is guaranteed to face a qualifier in his second round match.
The bottom of this second is intriguing. Eighth Seed Dominic Thiem is at the bottom of this draw but with a packed schedule over the last month, playing three tournaments on three different surfaces he may need to be ready from the get-go as Jeremy Chardy could be his second round opponent. Also in this section is the tenth seed Gael Monfils. His second round match will likely only be a warm up to his third round match, John Isner as two qualifiers face off. The American will also likely to be untroubled as he faces the winner of Jordan Thompson-Dmitry Tursunov. Mischa Zverev has stepped up his game at the start of the season, with a win over Murray in Australia and should provide a good test for the Austrian.
Quarterfinal: Stan Wawrinka-Gael Monfils
Semifinalist: Stan Wawrinka
With a win/loss record of 5-5, Marin Cilic the sixth seed kicks off the bottom of the draw and will need to be in full flow as he will face the winner of Benoit Paire-Taylor Fritz, two players capable of putting up a good battle. Should the Croatian get past them, he will potentially face Marcel Granollers, who he should get past with without trouble. At the bottom of this section is Grigor Dimitrov who has had a fantastic start to his 2017 season with two titles in two months and could be the dark horse in this tournament. However, his draw hasn't been kind to him. He is guaranteed to play a Russian as Daniil Medvedev and Mikhail Youzhny do battle. If he is to make the fourth round, Jack Sock could be the man he has to take out.
The biggest name in this section of the draw is Kei Nishikori of Japan, who is at the bottom of this draw. To get to the fourth round, the Japanese will have to take out either Dustin Brown or Dan Evans before a match against Gilles Muller, which could get messy. At the top of this section lies Lucas Pouille who so far has failed to continue his 2016 form into this season. If he were to make a run, he would have to go through Sam Querrey, a man in top form after defeating four top 20 players to lift the Acapulco title. The Japanese should be the safe bet to get out of this section should he get past a tricky second round match.
Quarterfinal: Grigor-Dimitrov-Kei Nishikori
Semifinalist: Grigor Dimitrov
This final quarter is the most intriguing of them all. Alone, this section has amassed a total of 45 Grand Slam winners between them. Rafa Nadal is at the top of the draw seeded number 5. If he were to make the quarterfinals, the Spaniard would have to get past Fernando Verdasco in round three and Roger Federer in round four. As for the Swiss, his main threat is Steve Johnson who is likely to face Kevin Anderson, so expect the 18-time Grand Slam winner to come through. Other matchups in this section include Guillermo Garcia-Lopez-Guido Pella, Pierre-Hugues Herbert-Thomaz Bellucci, and Stephane Robert-Dudi Sela.
The final section is the one to watch out for. At the top is the ever talented and unpredictable Nick Kyrgios, who defeated Novak Djokovic in Acapulco just a few days ago. The Australian will likely face Alexander Zverev in round three. There is no telling how Juan Martin Del Potro is. Leading up to this event, the Argentine has only played two events after skipping the whole of January. He could face fellow countryman Federico Delbonis in round two with a spectacular and unmissable clash with Novak Djokovic. The head to head currently stands at 12-4 in the Serbian's favour but Delpo has caused a lot of problems in the past, none more so than at the Olympic Games in the first round. Nonetheless, it is hard to call who will go through in this quarter.
Quarterfinal: Rafael Nadal-Novak Djokovic
Semifinalist: Rafael Nadal
Semifinals: Andy Murray def. Stan Wawrinka, Rafa Nadal def. Grigor Dimitrov
Final: Andy Murray def. Rafa Nadal