There will be no shortage of big names in the quarterfinals of 2019 BNP Paribas Open despite Novak Djokovic’s surprise exit in the third round. Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are on a collision course in the last four, but before we get ahead of ourselves there could be more twists and turns as we approach the business end of the first Masters 1000 of the year. This may not be a star-studded lineup; however, maybe we are looking at the future.
Indian Wells Quarterfinals Predictions
Milos Raonic vs Miomir Kecmanovic
Head-To-Head: Raonic 1-0 Kecmanovic
Last Meeting: 2019 Brisbane (Raonic won 6-3 7-6)
Former Indian Wells finalist Milos Raonic has been a man on a mission this fortnight. It is perhaps a coincidence considering that this is the Canadian’s most productive Masters tournament. He has reached at least the semifinals in his last three appearances and the draw has opened up nicely for him to make it four. Raonic will play lucky loser Miomir Kecmanovic. The 19-year-old Kecmanovic might not be a big name to the tennis world right now, but who knows, maybe we are looking at the future?
The young Serb lost in the final round of qualifying to Marcos Giron – a player Raonic worked so hard to beat in the third round – before earning the final lucky loser spot following Kevin Anderson’s withdrawal. Kecamonic grasped that opportunity with both hands. Prior to this tournament, he had won only one tour level match which was in Brisbane earlier this year before falling to Raonic in the second round. This is a very difficult matchup for young Kecmanovic. Despite being very inexerinced at this stage, he is playing against a player who enjoys playing at these parts. The former World No.3 should have too much for the Serbian lucky loser.
Prediction: Raonic in 2
Roger Federer vs Hubert Hurkacz
Head-To-Head: First meeting
Roger Federer could be a history maker this week. After Djokovic’s loss, the Swiss is the only man in the draw that could break his tie with the Serb and stand alone as the record holder of 6 titles in the desert. However, there is still plenty of tennis to be played. Federer will be a huge favorite yet again as he plays big serving Pole Hubert Hurkacz. For a man of his stature, Hurkacz has surprisingly fleet movement on the court. It is not his serve that Federer should be wary of. The 20-time Major champion practiced with his quarterfinal opponent in Shanghai last year, and Federer was quick to admit he barely made any mistakes during that practice session. Hurkacz has since made a dramatic rise in the rankings. He was ranked outside the Top 200 just a few months ago before his big breakthrough in Dubai, where he beat Kei Nishikori to reach the quarterfinals. He will hope to go one better in Indian Wells, but Federer will have too much class and dispatch the World No.67.
Prediction: Federer in 2
Dominic Thiem vs Gael Monfils
Head-To-Head: Thiem 4-0 Monfils
Last meeting: 2018 Buenos Aires (Thiem won 6-2 6-1)
It is perhaps one of tennis’ great “mysteries” that Gael Monfils is yet to beat Dominic Thiem. That could all change this week. This should definitely be the last quarterfinal of the day after Monfil’s late night finish in his fourth round match. The worrying thing for the Frenchman is how he could be feeling physically after a busy February. Monfils is certainly in better form than his Austrian counterpart, but Thiem could have fresher legs after losing early during the South American events and that could be enough to thwart the Rotterdam champion.
Prediction: Thiem in 3
Rafael Nadal vs Karen Khachanov
Head-To-Head: Nadal 5-0 Khachanov
Last Meeting: 2018 US Open (Nadal won 5-7 7-5 7-6 7-6)
This a matchup between two players in somewhat peculiar form. Rafael Nadal has started the year in blistering form, which is not what you would associate so much with him. Meanwhile, Karen Khachanov is still digesting his big win over Djokovic in Bercy. The Russian has not really kicked off his 2019 season proper. He has lost five times already this year, including a shocker in Rotterdam to a player ranked outside the Top 200.
Nadal is vulnerable to powerful hitters, but he has a surprisingly 100% winning record against the Russian. Khachanov ran Nadal close at the 2018 US Open, losing an incredible four set match in the round of 16. However, the Spaniard is in imperious form at the moment, and the high bounce on these new courts seem to suit his style. Considering both players’ contrasting forms this year, it is hard to go against the World No.2 in this one.
Prediction: Nadal in 2
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