Indian Wells 2013: Predictions for Friday's Singles Quarterfinal Matchups

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Indian Wells 2013: Predictions for Friday's Singles Quarterfinal Matchups
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While Thursday's men's singles action at Indian Wells Tennis Garden was highlighted by a quarterfinal collision pitting Roger Federer against long-time rival Rafael Nadal, Friday's pair of quarterfinals will feature the past two Grand Slam winners on the men's side in Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray.

Djokovic, the current world No. 1, will face off against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Meanwhile, reigning U.S. Open champion Murray can secure a spot in the semifinals with a win over Juan Martin del Potro.

Here we'll break down Friday's two quarterfinal tilts and predict the winners.

 

Novak Djokovic Will Inch Closer to Final

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The top overall seed in the men's draw, world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, has won at Indian Wells twice in his career and is the favorite to win for a third time in 2013. On Friday, the Djoker will go head to head with Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in a match that should test him, but not overwhelm him.

Djokovic has yet to lose a match in 2013, cruising out of the gates to a 16-0 singles record. The 25-year-old Serb has already won the Australian Open and Dubai Tennis Championship this year, both of which are played on his favorite surface, hard courts. 

Although Tsonga has a singles title of his own this year, having won the ATP Tour Open 13 in France last month, this match is poised to showcase Djokovic's unrivaled consistency and domination.

Djokovic has had Tsonga's number throughout their careers, and recently defeated the French star at last year's ATP World Tour Masters, China Open, French Open and at the Rome Masters. Tsonga could push it to three sets, but his chances of winning are virtually nonexistent.

 

Andy Murray Set to Outlast Juan Martin del Potro

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Andy Murray took a lengthy break from the ATP World Tour following his Australian Open final loss to Djokovic in January, and it has seemed to pay off as he looks fresh at Indian Wells this March. Murray has dropped just one set coming into Friday's quarterfinal clash with seventh-seeded Juan Martin del Potro.

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Del Potro has been solid this season since going out early at the Aussie Open two months ago, but he hasn't fared well against top competition, losing to Djokovic in straight sets at Dubai and losing to Gilles Simon in the quarters of the ATP Tour Open 13 in France before that. 

These two players don't meet up all that often, but Murray has proven to be the better of the two players as of late.

He cemented himself as a member of the Big Four (Djokovic, Roger Federer, Murray and Rafael Nadal) with a Grand Slam victory at Flushing Meadows last year, and backed up that performance with a run to the final of the Aussie Open two months ago.

Del Potro will have a size advantage as he almost always does, which will help during his service games. However, Murray's forehand has come a long way over the past year, and it will take a monumental effort from the big Argentine in order to upset the Scotsman at Indian Wells on Friday.

 

Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter. 

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