Moving Toward a Nadal Vs. Djokovic Final in Indian Wells

Gregory LanzenbergCorrespondent IMarch 17, 2011

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 24:  Novak Djokovic of Serbia (R) speaks with Rafael Nadal of Spain (L) after losing his men's singles match during ATP World Tour Finals at O2 Arena on November 24, 2010 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

It's not shocking news to find Federer, Nadal and Djokovic in the quarterfinal of the BNP Paribas Masters as all three were expected to reach this latest stage for the first Masters 1000 of the season.

However, we already have clues that suggest we could be heading toward a championship match between Rafael Nada and Novak Djokovic.

All three top players have had an easy draw so far with Nadal meeting three qualifiers, and Djokovic losing only six games since the start of the event.

Meanwhile, Federer had to work a little more than his two main rivals.

The number 2 seed's 7-5 7-6 second round win against Russia's Igor Andreev was a very close encounter, while last night's 7-6 6-3 victory over American Ryan Harrison was a nail biter during the whole first set.

Many will claim only victory matters, which is true to a certain point.

Although, these less than convincing victories are not the best way to prepare to face Nadal or Djokovic.  As these recent results suggest, Federer can suffer from lapses of concentration during a match, and this condition has been going on since the start of the season.

Djokovic and Nadal have shown more consistency lately, even if the Spaniard is barely returning to competition after his hamstring injury in Melbourne.

Anyone should know by now that Rafa is the best competitor on the planet, while Djokovic is the man to beat so far this year.

The Serb crushes his opponents in less than an hour and is yet to lose a match so far this season!

The main shocker so far in Indian Wells have been the upsets of Andy Murray and Robin Söderling in the second round.  Although, in fairness, we should wait the next big event in Key Biscayne next week to see if both players are entering a bad phase or not.

Many would find Andy Roddick's loss over Frenchman Richard Gasquet in the last four a major upset.  I personally don't share this opinion, because I feel Richard Gasquet can play as good as a Federer on a good day.

Also, the Austin resident has the pressure of defending 1750 points between now and the end of the Miami Masters.  

Gasquet has one of the best one handed backhand on the tour. He can hit any corner of the court with that shot when he is serving well, which was the case on Thursday.

Elsewhere, Roddick did not serve well yesterday, which allowed the former Wimbledon semifinalist to use the backhand return with full success.

Even if the second set was very close, Roddick should never have let his frustration take the better of him in the middle of the match.

It's part of the game to be frustrated at some point, but the American should figure out a way to move forward all the time and forget about the score as his temper is preventing him from playing more relax  at all stage of the match.

Elsewhere, Juan-Martin Del Potro is also making a big run in Indian Wells.  The 2009 US Open winner is slowly but surely returning back to his best.

The Argentine beat defending champion Ivan Ljubicic, Alexandr Delgopolov of Ukraine and Philipp Kohlschreiber, who previously upset Robin Söderling.

Given what we've seen so far in California, I like all top three players chances to reach the semifinals along with Juan Martin Del Potro.

Djokovic then would beat Federer for the third consecutive time since the start of the season, unless the Swiss can serve and volley with the same momentum for the whole match.

There are many more questions to answer about the possible match-up between Rafael Nadal and Jaun-Martin Del Potro.

The Argentine will have nothing to lose against an opponent he already beat twice on hard court while Nadal will play his first big test of the tournament.

Can the 2009 US Open winner play with the same consistency for three sets against a player, who is the defending champion at Roland Garros, Wimbledon and Flushing Meadows?

I'm not sure yet.

However he would become a major threat at the French Open.

A Nadal vs. Djokovic final will then take place on Sunday, with the Serb lifting his third consecutive trophy due to the fact he has had more matches under his belt and more confidence than the World number one since January.

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