Indian Wells Open 2021: Tennis Preview – Men’s Draw

Indian Wells Open 2021: Tennis Preview – Men’s Draw

TennisSection previews the 2021 Indian Wells Open which starts on Thursday October 7th, 2021 and ends on Sunday October 17th, 2021.

A new winner will be crowned at the 2021 Indian Wells Open as the ATP Tour’s “Big Three” of Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal will be absent, along with defending champion Dominic Thiem. This presents a great opportunity for the next wave of tennis superstars such as Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev and Andrey Rublev (among others) to show their worth and compete for the tournament known as the “fifth Grand Slam). Tennis fans will be hugely excited for the return of this event which wasn’t played in 2020 due to the pandemic and will be out in droves to watch some of the game’s latest stars do battle. Who will emerge victorious and lift the trophy here at the BNP Paribas Open? Below we discuss some of the main contenders and some dark horse picks.

The Favorites

Daniil Medvedev – It is hard to look past the Russian superstar as the favorite for the 2021 Indian Wells Open. Medvedev has been having one of the best years of his life, and recently won his first Grand Slam title at the US Open. The big Russian has already claimed four titles so far in 2021 and will attempt to join Casper Ruud as the only players to have five this season. After his exploits in New York he had a short rest, before returning to competition at the Laver Cup where he demolished Denis Shapovalov in his only match, losing a miserly four games. A well-rested, fully focused and confident Medvedev is bad news for the rest of the field, and he enters this event as the betting favorite and top seed.

Stefanos Tsitsipas – The Greek has been enjoying a fine 2021 campaign where he claimed his maiden ATP-1000 title in Monte-Carlo and his first Grand Slam Final at Roland Garros. He has also been very consistent in these big Masters-1000 events, reaching the Quarter-Finals or better in five out of six for the year. He will have been disappointed with his Third Round exit at the US Open where he lost a five set thriller to young phenom Carloz Alcaraz and will be eager to get back to winning ways here at the 2021 Indian Wells Open. He has not had much success here however, with only a 1-2 record through his career including a First Round loss to Felix Auger-Aliassime at the 2019 event.

Alexander Zverev – The world number four has had yet another consistent season this year, with his run to the gold medal at the Olympics being the highlight of his season. He also won the Madrid Open Masters event and will be aiming to win his second Masters-1000 title of the season. He carried that Olympic momentum into the US Open, where he lost in the Semi-Finals to eventual Runner-Up Novak Djokovic. The German is capable of beating anyone on a good day and his big game is perfectly suited to these conditions. Like his fellow favorites Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tstisipas he has traditionally struggled at this event, only reaching the Round of 16 once in his career. Zverev will be licking his licks at the thought of a Masters event without the “Big Three” and will be eager to make a run at the title here at the 2021 Indian Wells Open. Zverev has been handed a very tough draw here and could meet the in-form Jenson Brooksby in the Second Round and US Open Quarter-Finalist Carlos Alcaraz or Andy Murray in the Third Round.

Andrey Rublev – Rublev will be the fourth seed at the 2021 Indian Wells Open and is ranked #5 on the ATP Tour. The Russian superstar has been having another stellar season, establishing himself as a fixture near the top of the rankings. He has reached eight Semi-Finals for the year and two Masters-1000 Finals in Monte-Carlo and Cincinnati. He will be hoping to improve his conversion rate however, as he has not won a title since Rotterdam in February despite his consistent deep runs at tournaments. While he is not quite on the highest tier of favorites he should not be discounted here, as his huge baseline game is dangerous on any surface. He has a challenging side of the draw and could meet his conqueror at the San Diego Open last week Cameron Norrie in the Fourth Round, and he will be very eager to get revenge for that loss.

Dark Horses

Casper Ruud – The newest entrant in the world top 10 has been having a stellar season in 2021, winning an ATP Tour leading five titles this year. He won the San Diego Open in convincing fashion, blitzing Cameron Norrie 6-0, 6-2 in the Final and his confidence will be at an all-time high. While he considers clay as his favorite surface he has come on leaps and bounds in 2021 and should not be underestimated at the 2021 Indian Wells Open. The Norwegian is one of the best movers on the Tour and his aggressive groundstrokes are very dangerous weapons on these quicker hard courts. While he is not considered a main contender for this event he surely is capable of making a deep run here in California.

Felix Auger-Aliassime – The Canadian superstar has finally had a breakout season of sorts, reaching his maiden Grand Slam Semi-Final at the US Open. He is finally beginning to fulfill his superstar potential that he has showed signs of for many years, and is a very dangerous opponent on this surface. Currently ranked #11 in the race to Turin he will be highly motivated to put in a strong performance here at the 2021 Indian Wells Open. While inconsistent, his huge serve and powerful groundstrokes can make him near unbeatable on a good day, and under the right conditions it would not be surprising to see him go deep into this event.

Hubert Hurkacz – The winner of the Miami Open, Hurkacz has made the world sit up and take notice with several strong performances this year. While that win in Miami and a run to the Wimbledon Semis were very impressive, he was largely disappointing since, until he won the Metz Trophy two weeks ago to find form at the perfect time. He won the title there without dropping a set, and when he is confident he has the game to do some serious damage on this surface. As inconsistent as they come, he has the game to beat anyone at any given time and he is someone that all players will be eager to avoid here at the 2021 Indian Wells Open. As the only top 8 seed to reach the Quarter-Finals at this event, he will be very confident of doing well here and it will be interesting to see how he fares.

Jannik Sinner – Our final dark horse contender for the 2021 Indian Wells Open, the Italian phenom is one of the most promising young players in recent memory, and has backed that up by winning an impressive four ATP titles in his very short career. He is equipped with all the tools to do well here, with a rock-solid power baseline game and an improving serve. His confidence will also be sky-high after winning the Sofia Open without dropping a set, and we have him going deep into the draw here, potentially causing an upset or two on the way.

Prediction

Despite the absence of the Big Three, the 2021 Indian Wells Open is filled with star power, with 16 out of the world’s top 20 players in the draw. An argument could be made that even with everyone in attendance that Daniil Medvedev would still be the favorite to win the event, and he is our pick to lift the trophy here. The usual suspects are also tipped to do well, with Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev headed towards a blockbuster Semi-Final, with the winner likely earning the right to face the world number two in the Final. Of course upsets can happen, and we would not be surprised to see some of our dark horse picks causing some upsets along the way. However, it is very difficult to see a scenario where the top four seeds don’t reach the Semis here, with Andrey Rublev being the most vulnerable of the foursome. All things considered, I am predicting a Daniil Medvedev vs. Alexander Zverev Final, with the Russian coming out on top, becoming the 2021 Indian Wells Open champion.

Free Tennis Pick and Prediction: Daniil Medvedev to become the 2021 Indian Wells Open Champion / Runner Up – Alexander Zverev.

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