Breaking Down the Men's BNP Paribas Open Quarterfinal Matchups
It has been a great week-and-a-half of tennis thus far at Indian Wells. The 2014 BNP Paribas Open has given us some major upsets with Rafael Nadal, Stanislas Wawrinka and Andy Murray losing before the quarterfinals.
Only two of the top-eight seeds made it through safely to the quarterfinals. Rodger Federer (seventh) has yet to drop a set, while Novak Djokovic (second) has needed three sets in each of his last two matches.
Let's take a look at who has the edge in each quarterfinal matchup.
**All stats from atpworldtour.com unless mentioned otherwise
Alexandr Dolgopolov (28) vs. Milos Raonic (10)
Alexandr Dolgopolov and Milos Raonic are both first-time quarterfinalists here at Indian Wells. Both players pulled off big upsets to reach this stage. This was supposed to be the marquee matchup between Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray, but that is why they play the matches.
Dolgopolov took down Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(5) in the second round. After taking out Nadal, he beat Fabio Fognini (13) 6-2, 6-4. The Ukrainian comes in with a 14-7 record on the year
Raonic's serve has carried him to this point. He has won 72 percent or more of his service points in every match. He has one of the biggest serves on tour and his 59 aces through three matches back that up.
He took out Andy Murray last round 4-6, 7-5, 6-3. Raonic came into Indian Wells with a record of just 2-1 because of an ankle injury he suffered at the Australian Open. However, he has looked great since shaking off the rust in his first-round scare.
Surprisingly, this will be the first meeting between the two. It should be a great match between two evenly matched opponents. Look for the Raonic serve to be the difference-maker in the end.
Raonic in three
Kevin Anderson (17) vs. Roger Federer (7)
The all-Swiss matchup was broken up by Kevin Anderson. He pulled the upset over Stanislas Wawrinka 7-6(1), 4-6, 6-1. The man he will be facing is no stranger to success at Indian Wells, or anywhere for that matter.
Roger Federer is looking to pick up his fifth title here and his 22nd ATP Masters 1000 title overall. He comes into this match with a record of 17-2 on the year. Federer took out Tommy Haas 6-4, 6-4 to reach the quarterfinals.
Kevin Anderson is playing the best tennis of his career right now, which has led him to a career-high ranking at no. 18. The University of Illinois alum comes into this match with a record of 14-4 on the year. He will be trying to advance to his first ATP Masters 1000 semifinal berth.
In their one previous meeting, Federer came away victorious 6-4, 6-4. As good as Anderson has been playing, Federer has been even better. With Federer back on the top of his game, the South African will have to play nearly perfect to pull off the upset.
Federer in straight sets
John Isner (12) vs. Ernests Gulbis (20)
Tomas Berdych and Richard Gasquet both lost early on, leaving the draw open for both John Isner and Ernests Gulbis to get here.
Gulbis needed three sets against Grigor Dimitrov (15) and Roberto Bautista Agut to make it here. He will be looking to advance to his first ATP Masters 1000 semifinal since 2010. The key for Gulbis will be extending the points and neutralizing the Isner serve. He will not only be facing Isner, but the crowd as well.
Isner will be closing in on the top 10 with the points he is picking up here. He made it to the finals here back in 2012, and has a good shot to advance here. The American beat Fernando Verdasco (30) 7-6(3), 3-6, 6-3 last round. He has been serving great so far, as he has only faced one break point all tournament long.
Gulbis leads 2-1 in their head-to-head matchups. However, with the home-court advantage, I like Isner in this one. He has been serving great and will come out ahead in a close one. Expect to see at least one tiebreaker in this one.
Isner in three
Julien Benneteau vs. Novak Djokovic (2)
Of all the surprise quarterfinalists, Julien Benneteau is the biggest surprise of all. His Cinderella run faces a major roadblock in Novak Djokovic.
Benneteau was just 4-6 before Indian Wells. He pulled off the upset over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (ninth) 6-4, 6-4 in the second round. After that, the Frenchman took out Dominic Thiem and Feliciano Lopez in straight sets. This is his first quarterfinal appearance in a masters event since 2009.
Djokovic has won the last two ATP Masters 1000 events, and will look to pick up his 17th masters title overall here. In his previous two matches, he needed three sets to get past Alejandro Gonzalez and Marin Cilic (24). However, he looked great in his last two sets against Cilic. Djokovic broke him three times and didn't face a single break point.
The former world No. 1 has a great matchup to advance to the semifinals. Djokovic leads their head-to-head matchups 5-1. However, Benneteau's lone victory was all the way back in 2006. He has only won one set in their last five matches. Expect Djokovic to move on without much trouble.
Djokovic in straight sets